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Those Peninsula COEs


kscarbel
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Peninsula Diesel was the truck division of Switson Industries, and named after the Niagara peninsula where the company’s Welland truck plant was located in Ontario, Canada.

Executives at Switson Industries, a long time vacuum cleaner manufacturer, had decided to diversify and felt Canada’s market for heavy trucks looked promising.

Peninsulas were assembled trucks with Cummins and Detroit engines, and Fuller transmissions. However some imported straight-8 Rolls Royce C8 diesel engines were also fitted.

Peninsula’s COEs utilized a pneumatic shifting system rather than a mechanical linkage, similar to a Mack N-model with a “Unishift” transmission, with pneumatic cylinders actuating the transmission shifters.

After several self-designed COE cab efforts, Peninsula later introduced a new model utilizing the Budd cab (purchased by Ford, Mack and FWD).

After trying unsuccessfully to establish a foothold in the truck market, Switson Industries closed its truckmaking unit after just two years. The company had been working on a large order for Cuba, but the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 brought a swift end to that deal.

Like so many Canadian truckmakers wanting to profit from Canada’s booming logging and mining sectors, the last Peninsula truck was a 50-60 ton off-highway dump truck.

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Switson Industries during their Peninsula era broadened their options by becoming the distributor for both Diamond T and France’s Berliet during the 1960-1961 period.

While profitable truck manufacturing is certainly no easy task, it’s odd that Peninsula also failed as truck distributors for both Diamond T and Berliet, given that Diamond T built a solid truck and Berliet’s severe service truck models should have at least found acceptance with French Canadian logging and mining customers. All of Peninsula’s Berliet truck inventory was shipped back to France by the end of 1961.

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Interesting cab design on the early cabovers.

You can see the "teardrop" window they squeezed in to accomodate the windshield rake.

"If it's all the sime to you... I'll droyve that tankah"   Max Rockatansky (The Road Warrior)

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  • 7 years later...
On 7/7/2013 at 10:24 PM, RFCDrum said:

Wow interesting. Didn't know Berliet was in Canada. I know Leyland was in Canada too at one time and ran Rolls Royce too I think.

Cheers, Rob

Yes, Leyland did have Canadian dealers - I am aware of only two models that they sold, the Beaver, the most popular model and the larger Hippo. All were diesel powered and had 24 volt electrical systems. I don't have that exact  information but the powerplant on the Beaver was an 11.1 cubic inch model and the early beavers were naturally aspirated and developed, I would suspect, about 160 or so horsepower. Yes, i did drive one on a local gravel haul in 1956.

Canadian Car in Fort William/Port Arthur (current day Thunder Bay, Ont.) converted  the Beavers into a more modern  truck called the Can-Car. It offered an IHC type cab and Leyland power plant.

Soo-Security Motorways of Winnipeg operated a small fleet of IHC trucks in the early 60's that were powered by Rolls-Royce engines. It was an unsuccessful experiment and all units were returned to the dealership.

Wayne B.

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On 12/12/2020 at 4:11 PM, Brampton Wayne said:

Yes, Leyland did have Canadian dealers - I am aware of only two models that they sold, the Beaver, the most popular model and the larger Hippo. All were diesel powered and had 24 volt electrical systems. I don't have that exact  information but the powerplant on the Beaver was an 11.1 cubic inch model and the early beavers were naturally aspirated and developed, I would suspect, about 160 or so horsepower. Yes, i did drive one on a local gravel haul in 1956.

Canadian Car in Fort William/Port Arthur (current day Thunder Bay, Ont.) converted  the Beavers into a more modern  truck called the Can-Car. It offered an IHC type cab and Leyland power plant.

Soo-Security Motorways of Winnipeg operated a small fleet of IHC trucks in the early 60's that were powered by Rolls-Royce engines. It was an unsuccessful experiment and all units were returned to the dealership.

Wayne B.

Old Bill had a great story on his website about his adventures driving a Leyland Hippo. That was the first I'd ever heard of them.

Producer of poorly photo-chopped pictures since 1999.

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