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DC Craneman
Posted: Friday, April 09, 2010 8:15:07 AM
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Joined: 3/23/2010
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Location: Washington, DC
Hendrickon Mfg. had roots dating to 1913. Mangus Hendrickson was a prolific automotive engineer and developed several inventions most notable being the tandem truck suspension. Hendrickson continuess today as a leading independent suspension manufacturer with plants throughout North American and Europe.

A shadow of the suspension operation was the Mobile Equipment Division which built never move than 300 some vehicles per year. Everthing was cell built as opposed to assembly line built, so customs were the norm as opposed to the exception. They also did special engineering and modification work for others. This is why we see units such as the Lampson and Higgins prime movers built by them. They were assembled vehicles with only the frames and suspensions being Hendrickson unique. Vehicles includes bus chassis, fire apparatus chassis, class 8 trucks, as well as crane carrier and drill rig chassis.

The class 8 conventional trucks used cabs that were built in volume for International. These were successively the R, V, F and M series cab, the Fleetstar cab and in a later effort the S series cab. These were often re-inforced and had differenet cab mountings on the rear. While most trucks were conventionally cabbed, a few used a Diamond T / International low cab over design and a very few high cab overs were built.

The crane carriers were supplied to American Hoist, Bucyrus Erie, Grove, Manitowoc, Northwest and maybe more. The largest was initially developed at the request of McHugh Bros. and American Hoist as the result of a project initiated by James C. McHugh (Sr.)

During their peak years, the Hendrickson class 8 truck chassis was a favorite among the Chicago area refuse, construction and aggregate hauling operators. They were as common in these industries there as the Macks and Autocars were in the northeastern United States.

Hendrickson apparently did some special engineering for the then Ford heavy truck line as well as for International. They Lyons plant even did some custom modifications of International Paystars such as converting new units to twin steers for oil field work.

Shortly after the Hendrickson family's sale of the company, the class 8 truck production ceased. The then exisiting fire apparatus chassis designs were sold to Kovatch Mobile Equipment (KME) in Pennsylvania. The bus business declined due to a consolidation of manufacturers. By 1986 they were working on finishing a prototype of a new truck which became the VT100. The mobile equipment division became HME, standing for Hendrickson Mobile Equipment which I've been told was owned by Valley Truck Parts, hence the VT prefix. This gave Valley OEM purchasing power and pricing while allowing the remaining management to continue operations. The plant was then moved to Wyoming, MI. The company continues making drill drig chassis as fire chassis under the HME name in competition with Spartan Motors. Likewise they built complete fire apparatus under the Ahrens Fox name today.

I am not aware of the custom work being done today as was done in the 30 years following World War II under the Hendrickson family's ownership and leadership. It is the vehicle of that period that are of most interest to most forum readers.
RMS Models
Posted: Friday, April 09, 2010 9:18:00 AM

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Joined: 8/27/2002
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DC Craneman,

You are a wealth of knowledge regarding the crane industry, thank so much for your recent posts.

Have you ever considered writing a book?

Randy M. Smolenack
RMSmodels@aol.com
randy.m.smolenack@us.army.mil
Claus
Posted: Friday, April 09, 2010 9:53:03 AM

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Location: Hebron, In
Back in the day my Dad had two '69 models pulling dump trailers, both with Detroits. One with a 318 on a 16 speed the other with a 238 on a 13. This is not his truck but his looked the same, the 318 had dual exhaust.



Red Top Trucking owned a ton of Hendricksons.
Claus
Posted: Friday, April 09, 2010 10:02:33 AM

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Location: Hebron, In
Also, the truck in the photo above has a butterfly hood, My Dad's had fiberglass flip hoods but they looked the same. This truck has a fiberglass hood.

GCS
Posted: Friday, April 09, 2010 10:08:37 AM

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Location: Ontario, Canada
That was a great read. Thank You

- John
kcmtoys
Posted: Friday, April 09, 2010 11:21:04 AM

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Location: Rockford,IL.
Thank you for the information. I specked out a new Henry in 1980 and toured their factory in Lyons, IL .I wound up going with Mack instead. I would like to see a Hendrickson Model made. Ken

RETIRED

a Cutter
Posted: Friday, April 09, 2010 11:41:13 AM

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Joined: 3/21/2006
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GCS wrote:
That was a great read. Thank You


Agreed
.

Chris
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