It happened this month

March 1, 2009
In our first March issueThe beauty of fiberglass. American Body Works in Los Angeles differentiates itself by refining the art of using fiberglass in

In our first March issue…The beauty of fiberglass. American Body Works in Los Angeles differentiates itself by refining the art of using fiberglass in its bodies.

The White Motor Company, for 60 years a leading heavy-duty truck maker, enters the multi-stop delivery truck field with the White PDQ series.

Replacement trailers. The market hits a spike in the retirement and replacement of post-World War II trailers.

Loading development. The Hi-Lo Truck Corporation of San Francisco releases a system that raises or lowers the entire bed of the truck or trailer, rather than elevating individual portions of the load.

Shifting loads. Fruehauf designs a trailer that prevents load shifting, eliminating the need for curtailing payload and permitting cartage of more cattle.

March 1969 Riding high. Fruehauf's sales in the fourth quarter of 1968 are the highest for any quarter in the history of the company — $115 million.

Switching gears. Dodge issues a letter to motor home manufacturers, body companies, and truck special equipment installation companies stating that body builders are to be responsible for certain inspections and safety checks.

Payload boost. Montone Manufacturing Company of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, releases two heavy-duty aluminum dump bodies, mounted on Mack and White Autocar chassis.

Van conversion. Canadian manufacturers are taking the lead in converting panel trucks into ambulances, taking advantage of the ride qualities.

March 1979 NTEA begins. In a glitzy ceremony in Las Vegas, the Truck Equipment & Body Distributors Association becomes the National Truck Equipment Association. Says president Walt Thomas, “We now represent the entire equipment community on a national basis.” Executive director Jim Carney is the only staff member remaining after the association moves its offices from Cincinnati to Detroit.

New officers. At the 15th annual convention, Carl Ayoub is elected NTEA president, with Harold Grist first vice-president, Charles Clark second VP, Walter Carlson third VP, and James Critzer treasurer.

Truck trailer manufacturers enjoy their second-most productive year ever in 1978 — and a 23% increase over the previous year — shipping 195,248 complete trailers.

The survey shows … Of 10 major lines of truck bodies and equipment studied in a Trailer/Body Builders survey, nine show an improvement in units sold in 1978 when compared to the final quarter of 1977. Parts sales are up 42%.

Crash testing is being conducted at two research labs in an attempt to define criteria for the proposed standard on rear underride guards and methods of providing certification for compliance.

Excise tax. The Internal Revenue Service issues two new revenue rulings, marking the end of an era of excise tax confusion that lasted more than 25 years.

Leland Equipment in Tulsa splits truck equipment and construction machinery into two profit centers, helping their personnel to be specialists in the products they provide.

Monroe Machine and Welding in Monroe, Wisconsin, expands its facility by 50% and boosts its sales volume by 500%.

New playing field. Former NFL player Tom Nowatzke successfully navigates business life as owner of Tom Nowatzke Transport Equipment Inc in Dearborn, Michigan.

March 1989 Ruling out cyclicality. A forecast by Economic Consulting and Planning Inc (ECAP) says that complete trailer shipments won't drop below 168,000 or rise above 190,000 in the next five years.

A mechanic's dream. At White Bear Equipment Company in Albany, New York, there are no time clocks, no whistles, and no bosses — the mechanics manage themselves.

Change on the way. As a result of a spike in lawsuits, most tow trucks may come under new federal regulations promulgated by the Interstate Commerce Commission covering commercial vehicles over 10,000 pounds GVW.

Branching out. After more than 40 years of operating a single location near downtown Detroit, Pezzani & Reid is taking over a closed facility north of Ann Arbor that had been a truckstop and repair shop.

March 1999 It's a record. Trailer shipments hit 28,807 in January — the best output ever for that month. Shipments were 18% ahead of January 1998, which paced the best year ever.

“Over-The-Hill Gang.” Four industry veterans rescue Nabors Trailers from the auction block and get it up and running after seven years in which the facility sat idle.

Taking off. Jerr-Dan in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, introduces two new wreckers and sets a goal of 25% of the wrecker market and 50% of the car-carrier market.

Making adjustments. Upfitters respond to a new rule that makes ABS mandatory on all commercial vehicles over 10,000 pounds GVW that are equipped with hydraulic brakes.

Safety first. Trailers utilizing axleless suspensions have significantly improved roll stability, better handling, and enhanced lateral traction, according to a new study.

About the Author

Rick Weber | Associate Editor

Rick Weber has been an associate editor for Trailer/Body Builders since February 2000. A national award-winning sportswriter, he covered the Miami Dolphins for the Fort Myers News-Press following service with publications in California and Australia. He is a graduate of Penn State University.