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Where are the old brands of Yard Trucks?

Champion – originally manufactured by Champion Carriers in Irving, TX, in 1977 the product line was sold to American Coleman Co. in Littleton, CO. The Champion production continued until 1987 when the product line was purchased by Ottawa Truck, and production came to an end.

Shuttle Spotter made originally by T & J Industries in St. Louis, Mo.T&J was the successful bidder on a US Postal contract in the early 80s. Soon after the contract was completed, they went out of production. The largest numbers of these units were powered with the 8.2 liter Detroit diesel. An interesting design feature of this truck was a glass sliding rear door. Otherwise, there was not much else that was noticeable about this unit. Parts are still available for these tractors, but they are not easy to find or cheap.

Rhino – This was an interesting looking tractor which had a fiberglass cab with robotic looking mirrors. Originally the Rhino was produced by a subsidiary of Southern Railway, AG Motors in Fresno, CA . The truck was introduced in 1982, and production continued until about 1987. The majority of these units found a home in the Southern Railway operation, and also some marine terminals. We have not been able to find anyone who can offer any more detail on the units, and know of no parts sources for this vehicle.

Linehauler – A low-profile yard tractor which was originally produced in San Jose, CA. Production happened between early 70s into the early 80s at which point Capacity of Texas purchased the product line. Capacity produced this unit as their “Yardmaster” yard tractor. Although it was a unique design, they had limited success with this model, and halted production in the early 90s. Interesting design features of this unit are the low-profile cab design, allowing the driver to enter and exit the cab closer to ground level. This was done by forming the driver’s compartment to drop in front of the left front wheel, and the driver’s door was shaped to follow the contour of the front tire. There are still a good number of these units in service. One of the biggest users of this model is Roadway Express. Parts are becoming increasingly more difficult to get for these tractors.

Ibex/Flexi – The Ibex was also of a low-profile design similar to The Linehauler/Yardmaster. It was made with a fiberglass engine enclosure, and the majority of them were gas powered. Manufactured in Salt Lake City, UT production stopped in early 70s. There are only a few survivors remaining (thank goodness) of the low-pro design. Another model that came from this group was the “Flexi-Truk” which was a more standard design. One of its outstanding characteristics was that the cab deck was mounted rather high above the engine, and the narrow cab had a RH door which would allow the driver to exit the cab on the right and step onto a large flat deck surface. This cab was approximately 12″ higher from the ground than other yard truck of the era. There was many more of the Flexi-Truck sold than the original Ibex tractor. Currently the population is dwindling and a small number remain in service. Parts are very hard to find, and we currently do not know of a parts source for these tractors.

SISU / Magnum – SiSU is a corporation based in Finland. They are a major supplier of semi trucks, truck axles, and defense related equipment to the European market. In the early 80s SiSU opened a production facility in White Oak, Texas. Production continued in the White Oak plant until 2002 when SiSU purchased Ottawa Truck. Shortly thereafter materials and production related assets from this plant were moved the Ottawas facility in Kansas. SISU had some success in the US market with their “Magnum” yard tractors. A fair number of these units still remain in service. Although this model is not currently offered by Ottawa in the USA, they may still manufacture some for overseas markets. One design feature of the early SISU units was the “Tall Texan” cab which featured an extended height roof and rear entry door which allowed the driver to enter and exit the cab with a minimum of bending over to get through the door. Although this made for a strange looking tractor, the idea caught on and Ottawa and Capacity began offering the extended height cab (much better looking) for their respective units. It has now become a standard design feature on all yard trucks. Parts support is still available for these units, although they are more of a “challenge” than the Ottawa or Capacity tractors.

BRUTE- The yard tractor known as the “Brute” was the only yard tractor to come from Canada. Final production was in the early 70s. Note: In Canada the yard tractor is commonly referred to as a “shunt tractor” or “shunter”. Very few of these units remain, and only a small number of them ever made it to the US. We currently know of no parts sources for these units.

M878A2s – Crane Carrier is a leading manufacturer of garbage truck cab/chassis, as well as other specialty mobile equipment. In the early-mid 90s Crane designed and manufactured their first yard tractor. It was of a conventional design, and really didn’t show any real unique design features. At this point, they have had limited success with this vehicle. Although production numbers are unknown, they have not become a very commonly used unit, and currently do not hold much of a presence in the market though in 2002 they won a contract for 100 M878A2s which has shown real promise in service with the US Army’s transportation units I wonder if they will be coming back for more