When the subject “what’s the toughest heavy truck ever made” comes up, the name Hayes, of Vancouver BC, is sure to make mention time and again. These over-built nearly indestructible monsters were well regarded by those who owned and operated them, and while you could find them at work nearly anywhere in Western Canada (and even the rest of the county to a degree), most could be found toiling away in logging regions of the BC west coast and interior.
Today there is nothing like them, not even close. And even back when they were being built, there were few trucks from any maker, that could touch them. Hayes are legendary!
The firm, originally named Anderson-Hayes, later Hayes Manufacturing and finally Hayes Trucks was founded in the 1920s. Over the years they also built buses, logging trailers and no doubt other stuff too.
Traditionally, at least in the last two or three decades of the firm’s history, four series of trucks were offered, each with countless sub-models and variations with the range. For over the road highway work there was the Hayes COE (Cab-Over Engine) and a conventional called the Clipper. Some of the latter also found work as “lighter duty” logging trucks. At the high end of the scale there was an exclusively off-road beast, the huge HDX, used in extreme heavy duty applications.
The most common model, positioned just below the HDX and typically used for logging and construction use, on road or off, was the HD, of which the truck seen here is one. They were built with heavy duty frame rails and all steel cabs and hoods and as a result were tanks.
Regardless of the model, all Hayes were for the most part custom built to their client’s specifications.
Hayes was successful throughout its history and while it was never a huge producer, its products were always in demand. The company lost its independence in the late 1960s when Mack Trucks of the US purchased the firm. They held on to Hayes until 1974, selling it to Pacaar, makers of Kenworth and Peterbuilt trucks, who just over a year later shut down production completely.
The official reason for that action was the then emerging world-wide recession. I’m a bit more cynical and feel that Kenworth, who offered its own line of extreme duty models, wanted Hayes gone. The best way to eliminate a competitor and to gain its customer base is to buy it and close the doors.
This Hayes is, or rather was, used by a earth moving firm and is parked in their lot. It looks to be a water truck, which typically would be used to spray down construction sites to abate dust. Last time we saw the beast it was located elsewhere in the yard, so given this new position, it must move under its own power. Or maybe they dragged it here using one of their loaders.
Over the years Hayes trucks changed very little, making dating one difficult. This one has features (cab and hood style, headlight placement) that seem to suggest it’s a mid to late 1960s model. We called the company who owns it but no one there was completely sure what year it was from. We may be wrong in regards our guess, so if our readers know more, we’d love to hear from you.
Hayes used two styles of headlight placement. The less common fender mounted versions is seen here. Otherwise most were located in pods mounted variously off the side of the hood or fenders.
The ghost outline of the old Hayes plaque can be seen on the hood of the truck.
Another maker of heavy duty trucks from the west coast was Pacific Truck and Trailer founded by some ex-Hayes employees back in the 1940s. This line was so close in appearance to Hayes that one can easily mistake one for the other. Pacific closed down in the early 1990s. To see one of their trucks follow this link…
A rugged Pacific truck.
Check out a 1960s era Hayes Clipper in this report…
Vintage vehicles found on a wonderful long weekend.
Check out this heavy duty Kenworth station mover…
Bassano Railway Station.
If you wish more information on what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!
Date: December, 2014.
Location: Crowsnest Pass, AB.