Just down the street from Hayes Trucks, three of their x-employees decided to open up their own shop. In 1947 Claude Thick, Vic Barclay and Mac Billingsley opened up shop at West Coast Shipyards in the False Creek area of Vancouver.
The first truck they built was called anE-MAD in May of 1947. It was sold all to a Pulp and Paper company in Newfoundland all the way across the country. Boatwater’s Pulp and Paper was so pleased with the first truck they quickly ordered another. The Pacific Truck team was well on its way to establishing a reputation for quality hard working heavy hauling trucks. The specialized in logging trucks and trailers for the larger forest companies and independent log haulers.
Six years after their successful start they had grown from 11 employees to 53. At that time, it took 2 months to build just one truck. The Pacific reputation was spreading all over the world. In 1954 New Zealand Forest Services purchased 6 trucks. It was the first of many international contracts that Pacific Trucks entered into.
During the 60’s the E model was replaced by the P-model that is still in use today. The first was a P-9 that was sold to Schneider logging in Kelowna, BC. You could tell a truck was a Pacific by the Pacific logo that was cast into the upper radiator tank.
In 1963 the P-16 was born, although the first of its kind was not branded a P-16. This truck was state of the art boasting two Williams exhaust brakes, Lear electric retarder on the driveshaft and a water tank for spraying water on the brake drums to keep them cool. It also had a V8-930 Cummins diesel, 5×4 spicer and a B/L 83412 with 4640 wide track gears.
Crown Zellerbach and MacMillan Bloedel were some of Pacific’s biggest customers. In 1967 when demand was at its peak, Pacific was on the move with its ever growing need and demand. They moved into a 46,000 sq. foot building on 4.2 acres in North Vancouver.
In 1970 after 23 successful years the three founders sold Pacific Truck and Trailer to International Harvester. During the 70’s Pacific produced approximately 30 vehicles per month. Because Pacific was a smaller company, they were able to create custom vehicles for many heavy haul needs. An example of this were 4 custom trucks they sold to the South African Railway. These beasts could hall between 150 and 370 ton loads. The P-12, as it was known had 600 HP. The P-12 later became a regular production truck and the line included the Ultra with 800 HP.
By 1975 four models were being built, three of which were off road models (P-10, P12, and P16) The highway model was called a P-510 / P-512. The P-10 was rated at 81,000 lbs and the P-16 and P-12 rated at 128,000 lbs. That’s 10 times greater than your average ¾ ton truck on the road today.
During the 70’s Pacific Truck and Trailer sent vehicles all over the world. This included the Philippines, North Borneo, New Zealand, Tasmania and Swaziland. From hauling hydro electric generating equipment in India and Africa to moving large loads of sugar cane in Hawaii if you needed to haul a heavy load the Pacific was the best truck for the job.
In 1981 Inchcape Berhad, a company from Singapore purchase Pacific from International Harvester. In 1987 the 2000th truck was completed as Pacific Truck and Trailer celebrated its 40th Anniversary. Unfortunately, the demand for the Heavy Haulers had dropped off and the last P16 was sold to a company on Vancouver Island in 1989.
The P16 is still an iconic truck today. Heavy truck historians still marvel at its power and reliability. Most P-16 had 15-foot bunks and could haul 90 to 150 tons of wood. Over 48 years in operation Pacific built 2308 trucks. One even helped to move a Space Shuttle.
Jenna Equipment specializes in Pacific P16 trucks. Even though the trucks are almost 50 years old they are being used today in Oil and Gas, Mining and even some Logging divisions.