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 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 email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies