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In praise of pristine fleets

I’ve always felt that being connected to the trucking industry makes my daily commute a lot more tolerable. I’ve got plenty of eye candy to help pass the miles. My wife always catches me craning my neck at the passing rigs and she shakes her head while I wonder what it must be like to have no appreciation whatsoever for the nice iron we see on a daily basis. Unfortunately, she’s the norm and I’m the exception in the grand scheme of things.
Anyhow, I figured it was time to write a blog acknowledging some of the more pristine fleets that run our highways. I’ll start the discussion with three fleets that never fail to turn my head. But first, the criteria I used in my (highly unscientific) selection process:
* Equipment type: Must run well-maintained, late model equipment.
* Logo/Paint/Decals: Must have recognizable paint scheme and nice use of colours.
* Operator Pride: This is the most important one to me. The equipment must scream pride of ownership. Credit goes not only to the fleet or owner/operator, but the driver who keeps it looking that way when it leaves the yard.
Before anyone takes this too seriously, this is intended only as a fun discussion, not a serious competition. I don’t want to offend anyone I left out. And of course, I welcome other suggestions as well. Let’s keep a running list. One last point, I’m judging these trucks on how they look on the highway and at the truck stops – not the truck shows where they’ve been polished up for hours. Without further ado, here are the fleets I am continually impressed by, in no particular order:
Sleeman Breweries: I always get a little thirsty when I see a Sleeman truck. The trucks and trailers are colourful, easily-recognizable and well-maintained. This fleet looks like it turns its trucks over every year – the equipment’s always clean and shiny. I also like how the trucks are a variety of different colours while maintaining the same distinct branding. The Sleeman fleet is among the sharpest looking fleets on the highway.
Samuel: This company is in the metal business, but it is equally attentive to the iron it runs down the road. You can tell it’s a Samuel truck at first glance. And as much attention has gone into the tarps as the tractors themselves.
L. Ritchie Cartage: The black Western Stars with the red lettering are distinctive, yet subtle. No fancy graphic logo, just the name of the company in bold lettering. The trailers are equally distinctive. These trucks and trailers scream operator pride.
An honourable mention to Kurtz Trucking. Want to challenge me on my selections or add to them? Let’s hear it!

James Menzies

James Menzies

James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.
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14 Comments » for In praise of pristine fleets
  1. Glenn Wood says:

    Thomson Terminals….
    Buckley Cartage……
    Flex-Mor Industries
    Sleemans is a private not for hire fleet and hsould be excluded…
    Trrucks trucks trucks you are all gear heads…you should look at the entire combination as most fleets have more trailers than trucks the trailers appearance is as important as the thing with an engine is (and worth more from an equity position when pruchased over its life..or maybe I am biased)

  2. Glenn Wood says:

    Sleemans is a not for hire private fleet and shoudl be excluded from your list…as to other fleets…I view the truck and trailer and if you do that then the following fleets have to be added to your list
    Flex-Mor Industries
    Thomson Terminals
    Buckley Cartage

  3. EBM says:

    Good idea. Here are six:
    From the west: Vedder Transport, Mullen, Guy’s.
    East: Earl Paddock, FT(Que) and perhaps more from a nostalgia perspective, Maritime Ontario.

  4. Stephen Large says:

    I am not familiar with most eastern fleets as I have not been running out there for a few years. If you want impressive, try looking at Randa Transport, Lethbridge, Ab with a fleet of mostly long-nose Pete’s pulling super-b grain trailers. Or even more awesome is Trans Tech, Edmonton, Ab or Entrec (previously Schell Equipment),Calgary, Ab with their multi-axle heavy haul combinations just as clean and shiny as any highway hauler could hope to be!

  5. Dave Maloney says:

    Ranlyn out of Belleville is a smaller fleet. They like chrome, lights and keeping them shiny!

  6. Bryan Caven says:

    Not too many fleets with nicer graphics than Cavalier Transportation, Bolton, Ontario.

  7. Travis says:

    I think Westfreight runs some good looking gear. I like Mullen gear too. Those T800’s look good.

  8. popkorn says:

    Locomote run mostly 379 PETEs (lots of chrome)and very well maintained as well as their trailers.

  9. J.R.Mercer says:

    Little Rock Farms
    WD Potato

  10. Jack Logan says:

    Gary Mercer Trucking
    ATS (Thorndyke Trans.)
    TD Smith
    Kens Towing (Brantford)

  11. Terry Veinotte says:

    “* Equipment type: Must run well-maintained, late model equipment.” Wouldn’t running well-maintained, 10 year old equipment better reflect owner/driver pride?
    Neat article. I too end up on the rumble strip while studying the passing iron to see who is buying which brand,what aero-aids are most popular,or just admire a nice clean unit.
    Skelton Truck Lines is up there.

  12. That’s a fair point, Terry, in many cases older equipment is just as good – or even better – a reflection of owner/driver pride. After all, it’s more difficult to keep an older tractor running and looking good than a newer model. I’m sure Stephen Large will agree!
    Stephen, I spent a day with Randa when I was based in Alberta. You’re right, nice equipment and they take a lot of pride in it. At the end of the day, they lined up the trucks for me in front of a grain elevator and I got some nice pictures. They’re around here somewhere, but that was before I made the switch to digital – so the prints are likely stashed in a cabinet somewhere.
    Agree full-heartedly with Skelton, Scotlynn and others. I’m going to be profiling some of these fleets in upcoming issues of Truck News, beginning with Sleeman in July. I spent a day at their facility recently and they take a lot of pride in their equipment.
    And how’s this for a driving job?: 55 hours/week, home on evenings/weekends, dedicated tractor/trailer, nice equipment, hourly pay and, of course, free beer on weekends! Openings are rare, however, as turnover is pretty much non-existent.

  13. Rikk says:

    Some Fleets I like
    TDI, Trappers, Lowride, Transport N Service, Locomote & LSI, Laidlaw, TMC, I could keep going but I think I named enough.

  14. george kelly says:

    P.A Langevin has all nice rides running west,so does Ranlyn and trio from barrie

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