Jun 122013
Pacific truck vs Chevy Cruze

Some would argue that Pacific should hold the title as the toughest all around truck ever produced. All business and with few frills they could be found hauling logs, transporting oilfield equipment, working on construction sites or in mines. The one seen here was an example of the latter, a coal hauling monster that spent its entire life hauling the black stuff at a nearby operation just across the border in BC.

This beast was made in North Vancouver BC by Pacific Truck and Trailer. A small custom builder this manufacturer offered trucks of various sizes and capacities (ALL heavy duty), tailored to the needs of the customer. While most often considered a logging truck, they were equally at home anywhere a tough no nonsense hauler was needed.

The company was established in the 1940s and for the next couple decades its output was modest. The 1970s could be considered the glory years and this is where the company enjoyed it’s highest level of sales. Pacific was purchased by the giant International Harvester at that time and this allowed that company to enter a new market for them. For the most part the Pacific line was carried over as before with few changes. The only really difference we see is that some trucks (the lighter duty ones, if Pacific ever made such a thing) were manufactured with International cabs.

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The 1980s started off well enough but quickly began to slip. The recession of the early 80s impacted demand and each passing year saw fewer and few tucks made. International sold the company in the early part of that decade.

Sales continued to fall and by the late 1980s were a trickle. It was a tough market to be in and a custom maker just couldn’t complete against the big boys. The last trucks made were interestingly fire chassis completed in 1991 when the factory was closed. Actually one more special order truck was made in 1995, long after regular production ceased. The company still had a large parts business to keep them busy.

The truck seen here is a burly Pacific model P12 W3, one of the company’s larger models, built in 1982. It was employed at a coal mine just over the BC border near Sparwood. Spending its entire career there, it worked in retaliative obscurity, rarely venturing outside it environs and only seen by those working at or visiting the mine.

One of a large fleet of Pacific’s working there, together they certainly must have been the largest collection of trucks from this maker seen outside of the west coast. According to Hank Rabe, a Pacific authority, there was a fleet of 40 at the mine, of various models, this example being one of the last bought.

This author has seen pictures showing some of the fleet at work as late as 2010, which is remarkable for a vehicle subject to such harsh conditions. It appears the group was dispersed not longer after that at auction.

This coal hauler did not have far to travel after being sold, and where we found it is less than 100km away from where it worked. What the future holds for this one, or any of those sold, is unclear. Let’s hope they’ll be put to work and not scrapped.

This truck has all the typical Pacific features, an all steel cab and hood, heavy duty everything, an overbuilt frame and chassis and a huge engine. Everything about it is simple, functional and heavy duty. Their motto was: “Pacific, Built Like No Other Truck”. How true.

Pacific trucks were most commonly seen deep in the woods of the west coast and interior of BC, and it was rare to see them elsewhere, but some did make it further east like this one. Most trucks made by this company would be considered “off-road” qualified for use mostly in rough or primitive conditions often away from pavement or highways. These would be the models P9, P10, P12 and P16. None the less, the company did offer a truck specifically for over-the-road or city use (model P5xx). They too were a tough beast, but some considerations were made to lighten the weight.

Rules of exploration: show respect, don’t trespass and take only pictures.

A company called Hayes also made heavy duty trucks on the west coast and like Pacific catered mostly to logging and industrial users. In fact, sometimes it’s hard to tell these trucks apart (at least I have that problem). They were both overbuilt using similar components and I am sure many arguments could be made as to which maker offered the toughest of the tough. Hayes closed in the mid 1970s.

This truck was found entirely by accident and only a wrong turn down a side brought us to it. I’m glad I made the mistake! It’ll be interesting to see what happens to this beast and we’ll try and keep an eye on it.

The yard behind the Pacific had a nice collection of machinery and old trucks, including a good number of vintage Dodge Power Wagons, and in back a row of Euclid dump trucks can be seen. I’d like to return when that business when its open, to shoot these.

To see some other interesting old trucks we found in the Crowsnest Pass, including one of those Hayes mention in this report, click the link below…
Old trucks of the Crowsnest.

To see some other big trucks we’ve found, follow these links…
A treasure trove of old trucks.
Big and orange Dodge Bighorn.

If you wish more information on this truck, by all means contact us!

Date: June, 2013.
Location: Crowsnest Pass, AB.

Pacific truck

A Pacific truck, what a rugged beast.

Pacific P12 W3

This is a model P12 W3 from the early 1980s.

Pacific P12 grill

The front end is all business.

Pacific coal truck

This truck spent it’s entire career hauling coal at a nearby mine.

Yard with old trucks

Behind the Pacific was a yard full of old trucks. Lots of Dodge Power Wagons here.

Pacific truck vs Chevy Cruze

I am pretty sure our car could fit inside the coal box with room to spare.

Pacific P12 truck

Somewhere over the rainbow…

Brucie time lapse rig

Our thrift store time lapse rig making the movie below.


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14 Comments on "A rugged Pacific truck"

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Hank R
Hank R

That is a P-12 W3, and was one of Fred Sowchuck trucks. Fred had this thing that truck drivers had to get out of the drivers seat a couple times each hr to dump there loads. so that is why the manual leaver for the tail gate. Most other companies had gone to air tail gate in the early 70’s or late 60’s. Fred never did change and this truck is from early 80’s.

Terry H C
Terry H C

If you see that truck in your rearview mirror, you better start praying!

D6 Merv
D6 Merv

A lot of Pacifics actually made it to the bottom end of the ‘Pacific Ocean’ [NZ] as loggers. P9 I think were very popular in the 70s and the P500 was quite popular in the 90s. And I still reckon would have to be one of the best looking trucks to ever make it to our distant shores.


That’s awesome! It looks like a monster! That dump truck can surely carry lots!

steve "Hardout" pengelly
steve "Hardout" pengelly

Hi guys, so true. Absolutely awesome rigs. Hi from New Zealand. I’m always searching web pages for more pictures on Pacific trucks. Love these trucks so much. I have 5 P600/610 models (fibre glass hoods). 3 are still running and 2 unfortunately for parts. Have you got anymore pictures you’d like to pass on. Cheers “Hardout”

steve "Hardout" pengelly
steve "Hardout" pengelly

Hey dude, how are you? We call them P600 and P610 over here. If you can get into xtrucking on the website, there’s a picture of mine on it. White tractor unit with silver and red Arctic trailer with company name on the door [Hard Out Haulage], usually found on the last page. Also, if you type in pacific truck registry, scroll down the year of the truck to 1976 and 1977, you will find pictures of mine when they were with previous owners. serial numbers T7756-1068, T7756-1064, and T7656-913. when my daughter gets home, I will ask if she can send a picture. I can’t drive computers very well, no gear lever haha. Cheers for now. “Hardout”

Kevin McMahon
Kevin McMahon

(via Facebook)
Makes me wish I had a bigger garage! (well, most of the posts on here make me wish that!)