Popular Post kscarbel Posted July 17, 2013 Popular Post Share Posted July 17, 2013 Yes America, we have built Chinese Sixes. A term coined in the UK during the 1960s, a Chinese Six is a twin-steer 6x2 tractor configuration. Cole's Express of Bangor, Maine thought to create a tank/van, combining a tanker with a conventional 45-foot box trailer that was still within maximum length restrictions. The result resembled the dromedaries operated by Pacific Intermountain Express (PIE).This 1964 GMC “Crackerbox” began life as a model DFX7009 spec’d with a 230 horsepower Detroit Diesel 6V-71 (naturally) and a 10-speed Fuller Roadranger transmission. Introduced in 1959 and produced thru 1968, the DF series "Crackerbox" replaced the GMC "Cannonball" line. Cole's new GMC was shipped to Hendrickson in Chicago (then known as the Hendrickson Motor Truck Company) which had patented the tandem-axle truck suspension in 1929. Hendrickson had developed a 22,000 pound twin-steer tandem steer axle design and begun sales in 1958 to International Harvester for their 8x4 VCO model COEs, and also to Diamond T.After the first truck had been successfully modified, Cole's Express ordered three more. The four trucks were shipped to Techweld of Burlington, Massachusetts for the installation of an 11-foot long, 3,300-gallon aluminum fuel tank. Initially a square tank was planned, but a rounded tank was finally chosen for greater strength. The idea for the 3,300 gallon fuel tank was aimed at solving Cole’s northbound deadheading problem in Maine. With the tanks, Coles could deliver fuel oil and gasoline to customers on their way to northern Maine where the trucks would pick up potatoes for delivery in the south.Although the Cole family also owned the Diamond T and Freightliner dealerships in Maine, they chose the GMC “Crackerbox” because its V-6 engine block was short, allowing for the longest possible fuel tank. Typically, the trucks ran a 300 mile route from Portland through Bangor to Caribou.Unfortunately, Maine revised the length regulation, stating that a dromedary-type tank had to be factored into the truck's overall length. This made the truck-trailer combination over length and illegal.One of these innovative GMC 6x2s remains in existence and is on display at the Cole Museum of Land Transportation in Bangor (www.colemuseum.com). The museum also has a 1955 Mack D-42, formerly operated by St. Johnsbury Trucking in Vermont. 5 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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