Old faithful

| October 01, 2006

Goodyear rescued this 1917 Packard Model E from a swamp in 1983 and restored it to original condition.

It may be going on 90 years old, but this 1917 Packard Model E isn’t ready to give up the road yet.

One of the first commercial big rigs, the Packard has put on a new face as the silent spokesman for Wingfoot Express commercial truck tire centers, a subsidiary of Goodyear, based in Fort Worth, Ark.

Goodyear first introduced the Packard in 1917 when the first Wingfoot Express truck was created to haul cross-country. Once known as the “Goodyear land blimp,” the 5-ton, 10-foot-high truck had the first sleeper cab in the trucking industry, according to company spokesman Dave Wilkins.

But the real innovation was that it ran on pneumatic tires. Most trucks of the time ran on solid rubber tires and avoided carrying anything fragile because of the jolt rubber tires gave the chassis of the truck, but the air-filled tires on the Packard provided a smoother, revolutionary ride for truck drivers.

Goodyear plant manager Paul Litchfield was convinced that pneumatic tires would serve trucks better than all-rubber tires, but he had a difficult time convincing truck operators and manufacturers.

To prove his logic, Goodyear assembled a three-vehicle caravan to travel from the Akron, Ohio, tire factory to the company’s tire fabric mill in Connecticut, a 740-mile trip that took 28 days and cost loads of tires and equipment.

But within a year, the crew members reduced the trip to 80 hours, and the Wingfoot truck continued to make trips between the Akron factory and New England cities.

The 1917 Packard set a transcontinental record in 1918, making a trip from Boston to San Francisco in 13 days and five hours, over forests and rough terrain. The trucks became so reliable that in 1918 seven Wingfoot Express trucks carrying a gaggle of Boy Scouts made a 3,000-mile trip down the East Coast without a single blown tire.

Goodyear first restored the Packard in 1983 after rescuing it from a Minnesota swamp. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the Packard was used as a public relations vehicle for tire center openings and tire shows. In the late 1990s, the old truck parked at a tire testing facility in San Angelo, Texas, and lay dormant for a long time, except for a short display in the National Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio.

Then this year Goodyear woke the beast for a new round of promotions. The Packard will travel to each new Wingfoot tire center opening.

“The restored Packard is identical to the old one,” Wilkins says.

For more information and history, check out Goodyear’s website.


Little Town, Big Show
There’s not much in the small town of Walcott, Iowa, but it’s one claim to fame – the world’s largest truckstop – draws thousands of truckers and travelers each year. The peak time for visitors is the Walcott Truckers Jamboree, when the town’s population increases from less than 2,000 to more than 30,000.

The 27th annual Jamboree, held July 13-14 at the Iowa 80 truckstop, was once again the biggest trucking event of its kind.

More than 32,000 drivers and their families came to the two-day celebration, which featured 200 exhibits, carnival games, live bands and an antique truck display with more than 200 vehicles.

Eighty trucks, many of them new to the event, competed in the annual Super Truck Beauty Contest. Ron Baird of Thorntown, Ind., won first place in the Show Class category with his 2000 Peterbilt 379, Hoffman’s HOT Rod.

The winner of Best Overall Theme was Rusty Wyrick of Mansfield, Ohio, with his 1998 Western Star, French Quarters. The Specialty Class winner was Tom Hansen for his 2006 Peterbilt wrecker Never Satisfied. The Truckers’ Choice winner was Brandon Wise for his 1986 Peterbilt 379 Green Hornet.

Drivers also battled it out in the Iowa Pork Chop Cookout, the Trucker’s Best Friend Pet Contest and the Trucker Olympics.

Other winners in the Super Truck Beauty Contest included:
2004-2007 Bobtail Conventional
1st: Michael Barry, Pilot Grove, Mo., 2005 Peterbilt 379, Nothing Left to Say; 2nd: Randy and Michelle Kramer, Ankeny, Iowa, 2004 Peterbilt 379, Excalibur; 3rd: Dave Hinz, West Bend, Wis., 2004 Peterbilt 379, Blue

1997-2003 Bobtail Conventional
1st: Rusty Wyrick, Mansfield, Ohio, 1998 Western Star, French Quarters; 2nd: Harvey and Karen Zander, St. Louis Park, Minn., 2003 International 9900ix, Icy Blu 2; 3rd: Glen Page, Camden, Mich., 2001 Peterbilt 379, Precious

1990-1996 Bobtail Conventional
1st: Ron Brubaker, Sigourney, Iowa, 1993 Peterbilt 379, One of a Kind; 2nd: Carl Crider, Aurora, Ind., 1996 Freightliner FLD, Little Critter

1989-1982 Bobtail Conventional
1st: George McGregor, Mesquite, Texas, 1987 Marmon PH57, Kozy Kabin #2; 2nd: Arlyn Workman, Morrison, Ill., 1986 Peterbilt 359, Martha; 3rd: James Randall, Claremont, Minn., 1985 Marmon 57P, Handlebar

1981 & Older Bobtail Conventional
1st: Jerry Howard, Fairborn, Ohio, 1954 Autocar DC-75, Midnight; 2nd: Steve Perry, Fairborn, Ohio, 1949 Peterbilt 350: El Turbo; 3rd: Joshua Metz, Hicksville, Ohio, 1978 Kenworth W900L, Cruiser

2007-2002 Combination
1st: Pat Eilen, Hampton, Minn., 2006 Peterbilt 379, Iron Outlaw; 2nd: Billy Carter, Victor, Iowa, 2006 Kenworth W900L, Orange Blossom Special; 3rd: Shawn Swanson, Prophetstown, Ill., 2002 Kenworth W900B, Pure Attitude

2001-1993 Combination
1st: Dustin Foster, Butler, Mo., 2000 Peterbilt 379; 2nd: Mike Aschenbrenner, Fremont, Iowa, 1996 Peterbilt; 3rd: Randy Huddleston, Willow Hill, Ill., 1995 Freightliner Classic XL, Just Awesome

1992 & Older Combination
1st: Mike Stoneman, Payette, Idaho, 1951 GMC 970; 2nd: Brandon Wise, Carlinville, Ill., 1986 Peterbilt 359, Green Hornet; 3rd: Larry Winkler, Rockport, Ind., 1985 Peterbilt 359, Barnyard Beast

Custom Paint: Graphics (Bobtail)
1st: Randy and Michelle Kramer, Ankeny, Iowa, 2004 Peterbilt 379, Excalibur; 2nd: Dave Hinz, West Bend, Wis., 2004 Peterbilt 379, Blue; 3rd: Ellory Lange, Holyoke, Colo., 2005 Peterbilt 379

Custom Paint: Graphics (TT Combo)
1st: Ron Baird, Thorntown, Ind., 2000 Peterbilt 379, Hoffman’s HOT Rod; 2nd: Pat Eilen, Hampton, Minn., 2006 Peterbilt 379, Iron Outlaw; 3rd: Brandon Wise, Carlinville, Ill., 1986 Peterbilt 359, Green Hornet

Custom Paint: Murals (Bobtail)
1st: Rusty Wyrick, Mansfield, Ohio, 1998 Western Star, French Quarters; 2nd: Harvey and Karen Zander, St. Louis Park, Minn., 2003 International 9900ix, Icy Blu 2; 3rd: Randy and Michelle Kramer, Ankeny, Iowa, 2004 Peterbilt 379, Excalibur

Custom Paint: Murals (TT Combo)
1st: Ron Baird, Thorntown, Ind., 2000 Peterbilt 379, Hoffman’s HOT Rod; 2nd: Larry Winkler, Rockport, Ind., 1985 Peterbilt 359, Barnyard Beast; 3rd: Larry Dyck, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1987 Peterbilt 379

Polish & Detail
1st: Harvey and Karen Zander, St. Louis Park, Minn., 2003 International 9900ix, Icy Blu 2; 2nd: Rusty Wyrick, Mansfield, Ohio, 1998 Western Star, French Quarters; 3rd: Mike Stoneman, Payette, Ind., 1951 GMC 970

Interior: OEM Sleeper
1st: Tad Schultz, Peosta, Iowa, 2007 Kenworth W900L; 2nd: Jeremy Hassevoort, Hamilton, Minn., 1986 Peterbilt 359; 3rd: Glen Horack, Elkland, Mo., 2005 Freightliner Classic

Interior: OEM Conversion Sleeper
1st: Harvey and Karen Zander, St. Louis Park, Minn., 2003 International 9900ix, Icy Blu 2; 2nd: Brandon Wise, Carlinville, Ill., 1986 Peterbilt 379, Green Hornet; 3rd: Vinnie Diorio, Pleasant Hill, Wis., 2005 Peterbilt 379, Picture Me Rollin’

Interior: Custom Sleeper
1st: Rusty Wyrick, Mansfield, Ohio, 1998 Western Star, French Quarters; 2nd: Randy and Michelle Kramer, Ankeny, Iowa, 2004 Peterbilt 379, Excalibur; 3rd: Ellory Lange, Holyoke, Colo., 2005 Peterbilt 379

Lights at Night: Bobtail
1st: Matt Baenziger, Kingston, Ill., 2005 Peterbilt 379; 2nd: Harvey and Karen Zander, St. Louis Park, Minn., 2003 International 9900ix, Icy Blu 2; 3rd: Rusty Wyrick, Mansfield, Ohio, 1998 Western Star, French Quarters

Lights at Night: Combination
1st: Ron Baird, Thorntown, Ind., 2000 Peterbilt 379, Hoffman’s HOT Rod; 2nd: Brandon Wise, Carlinville, Ill., 1986 Peterbilt 359, Green Hornet; 3rd: Steve Hendershot, LaPorte City, Iowa, 2000 Kenworth W900, Buckshot Express

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