Moreland Motor Truck Co. - 1911-1941 - Burbank, California


Moreland trucks were pacesetters technically (6-wheelers, lightweight construction and diesel power), and during its lifetime the company was one of the more impor­tant West Coast truck firms, helping to create the image of the 'Western truck' together with Kenworth, Kleiber and Fageol. Watt Moreland often served as spokesman for the truck industry, arguing for better legislation and more liberal weight allowances which recognized the 6-wheeler.

The first Morelands were made in 1 ˝ , 3, 3 ˝  and 5 ton sizes, the larger models with chain drive, and driver-over­-engine. Stock engines such as Hercules and Continental were used, together with Brown-Lipe transmissions. By 1924 the largest model was a 6-tonner, and in this year Moreland launched out into the 6-wheeler field with a bus chassis for double-decker bodywork. This massive vehicle had a 6-cylinder Continental engine, drive to both axles of the rear bogie and both Westinghouse air brakes and Lockheed hydraulics. A 60-passenger body was fitted, but Moreland did not proceed with the vehicle, probably be­cause it was too expensive for bus operators. They did not, however, drop the 6-wheeler concept, and in 1925 launched the big TX6 truck. This had a novel Moreland­-designed bogie whose axles were located by equalizing rockers, in turn pivoting from the centers of semi-elliptic springs attached to the chassis. Moreland claimed it was the first 6-wheeler truck though Fageol had one at about the same time. The TX6 was powered by a Continental 14H engine, was rated at 10 tons and sold for $7,000 odd. A 6-ton version was introduced the same year. The 6-wheeler led to greatly increased orders for Moreland, not only from the US but from export markets too. These included Central and South America, the Philippines and Australia where the excellent traction afforded by twin driving axles was appreciated as well as the increased payload. In fact the Moreland 6-wheelers gave long-haul road transport its start, at first in California and then in other areas.

At its peak the Moreland plant occupied a 25-acre site, and was remarkably self-contained. Although they never made their own engines, many other components were home-made, in particular the rugged axles. In time trail­ers,- and commercial bodywork including refrigeration units became part of Moreland's output. Smaller trucks were also made including the 3,800lb Ace and 7-ton Cali­fornian, both 4-wheelers. The latter had an un-laden weight of 4 tons, helped by the use of light alloys in its construction. Engines were Continental in the Ace, and Hercules in the Californian.

Moreland's best year for production was 1929, with nearly 1,000 trucks, buses and trailers delivered, but after that the figures slipped, with fewer than 30-40 per year being sold in the mid-30s. Moreland's last years were full of interest, though, with Hercules or Cummins diesel engines being offered, and attractive streamlined cabs being employed on the later models. In 1931 Moreland and Fageol entered talks for a merger, but nothing came of them. Trailers and specialist bodywork became more important parts of the business, and the later Moreland trucks were all custom-built units. Typical of the 1937/38 range was the TA-420CD, powered by a 125hp Cummins diesel engine. This was rated at 42,000 lbs GVW as a straight truck, or 68,000 lbs as a tractor with trailers. This and other models for loads from 4 to 10 tons were listed until 1941, but very few were made in the last two years. Moreland then became a parts/service operation which was acquired by Cook Brothers in 1949 for $35,000.



For more information please read:

G.N. Georgano & G. Marshall Naul - The Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

Denis Miller - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trucks and Buses

Tad Burness - American Truck Spotter's Guide, 1920-1970

Tad Burness - American Truck & Bus Spotter's Guide, 1920-1985

Robert M Roll - American trucking: A seventy-five year odyssey

David Jacobs - American Trucks: A photographic essay of American Trucks and Trucking

David Jacobs - American Trucks: More Colour Photographs of Truck & Trucking

John Gunnell - American Work Trucks: A Pictorial History of Commercial Trucks 1900-1994

George W. Green - Special-Use Vehicles: An Illustrated History of Unconventional Cars and Trucks

Daniel D. Hutchins - Wheels Across America: Carriage Art & Craftsmanship

Ronald G. Adams - 100 Years of Semi Trucks

Stan Holtzman - Big Rigs: The Complete History of the American Semi Truck

Stan Holtzman & Jeremy Harris Lipschultz - Classic American Semi Trucks

Stan Holtzman - Semi Truck Color History

Donald F. Wood - American Beer Trucks

Donald F. Wood - Beverage Trucks: Photo Archive

Donald F. Wood - Commercial Trucks

Donald F. Wood - Delivery Trucks

Donald F. Wood - Dump Trucks

Donald F. Wood - Gas & Oil Trucks

Donald F. Wood - Logging Trucks 1915 Through 1970: Photo Archive

Donald F. Wood - New Car Carriers 1910-1998 Photo Album

Donald F. Wood - RVs & Campers 1900-2000: An Illustrated History

Donald F. Wood - Wreckers and Tow Trucks

Gini Rice - Relics of the Road

Gini Rice - Relics of the Road - Impressive International Trucks 1907-1947

Gini Rice - Relics of the Road - Keen Kenworth Trucks - 1915-1955

Richard J. Copello - American Car Haulers

Niels Jansen - Pictorial History of American Trucks

John B. Montville - Refuse Trucks: Photo Archive

Bill Rhodes - Circus and Carnival Trucks 1941-2000: Photo Archive

Howard L. Applegate - Coca-Cola: Its Vehicles in Photographs 1930 Through 1969: Photo Archive

James T. Lenzke & Karen E. O'Brien - Standard Catalog of American Light-Duty Trucks: 1896-2000

James K. Wagner - Ford Trucks since 1905

Don Bunn - Dodge Trucks

Fred Crismon - International Trucks

Don Bunn - Encyclopedia of Chevrolet Trucks


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