VANCOUVER, B. C. –A second generation log hauler from Vancouver Island can recall the first time he ever set eyes on this special Hayes Truck.
Al Williamson was only five years old when he was taken to the old C. P. R. barge ramp in Nanaimo by his father and godfather, to watch a new Hayes logging truck being unloaded by MacMillan Bloedel. It was a special occasion for him -and it made quite an impression on this future heritage truck collector.
“I watched it for years as I was growing up,” says the owner of Carlyn Bulldozing and A. J. Log Hauling, based out of Qualicum Beach. “It was one of the nicest off-highway trucks ever built.”
The truck was built in the mid-60s by Hayes Manufacturing in Vancouver.
It has a V12 Detroit engine, which boasts approximately 450 hp, which was considered substantial for the time. The truck had a GVW of 214,000 lbs, weighed 46,700 lbs and pulled a 20,000-lb trailer with a combined length of approximately 55 feet.
Hayes was purchased by Mack Trucks in 1969, before it was sold to Kenworth Paccar in 1975, which shut the Hayes operation down for good.
However, the legend lives on, especially amongst avid collectors and heritage truck afficionados.
This particular model, dubbed “H07” was built to MacMillan Bloedel’s specifications and for international showcasing at Montreal’s Expo 67.
The logging truck was displayed prominently in the Western Canada Pavilion at the event. While normally designed for rugged forestry applications, this vehicle had chrome accessories that gave it even greater distinction, says its owner.
“As far as off-highway logging trucks go, it was a pretty spectacular looking truck,” says Williamson.
“Our off-highway trucks were never chromed, they were just plain old logging trucks. This truck was pretty well known by loggers on Vancouver Island.”
After its stint at Expo 67, the truck came back to Vancouver Island where it was put to work in Copper Canyon for 30 years.
Like others in the industry, Williamson had been keeping an eye on the truck for much of that time, and waiting for the forestry company that owned it to eventually put it up for sale.
The opportunity came in 2002 for Williamson, who was a major contractor for the truck’s former owner.
“It was ours from the word ‘go’,” he says. “And as soon as I knew it was coming up as surplus and that they were going to get rid of it, I bought the truck. I stripped it down to the frame, and rebuilt it exactly the way it was when it went to Expo.”
The Hayes truck aficionado won’t say what he paid for the truck, but he’s happy to reveal that it was worth $51,000 when it was new.
“It’s likely worth 10 times that now if you had to replace the truck, component for component. They don’t even make them anymore,” admits Williamson. “But if somebody was to specially run one through a factory, you’d be close to half a million bucks.”
Williamson declares that a great deal of “blood, sweat and tears” from friends and local business owners, as well as digging deep into his pockets, went into restoring the truck.
It now looks like new, or “like it came out of the factory,” as Williamson puts it.
The restoration project was fairly straightforward with no major difficulties -just a lot of hard work.
“You just pull it apart, straighten it out, bang it back together, and splash some paint on it,” he says. “It’s no different from fixing a hot rod in your garage -it’s just a little bigger scale.”
Once completely restored, the Hayes truck of Expo 67 fame has attracted quite a bit of attention.
“When it came out of the paint shop, we had an offer, but I wasn’t interested in selling it,” says Williamson, who was recently invited to show his truck at the new Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre opening.
The vehicle was viewed by 65,000 people, many of whom recognized it from its earlier days at Expo.
“I bet you 50% of the people that came over to talk to us said ‘You know, I remember seeing that truck in Montreal’,” said Williamson, who doubted that those who viewed the truck at Expo 67 would ever forget it. “They’d definitely remember this one. It was loaded up with logs and had steps going in from one side and out the other, so the general public could walk right through the truck.”
These days the truck sits in storage until the sun shines and then Williamson tries to take it to as many of the parades and truck shows on Vancouver Island as possible.
“At each event there is always someone with a new or old story to tell about H07,” he says. “I think it is important to keep it out there so as many people as possible can see it…and maybe for some, bring back a fond memory or two.”