A couple of COEs stood out among the more than 300 trucks at the Hudson Mohawk Chapter of the American Truck Historical Society show in Ballston Spa, New York this past weekend.
One was a rarity in its own right — a 1960 International Harvester Sightliner — that was made extra special by the fact it had been in a movie. The other was a 1979 Western Star COE that spent a productive work life on farms in the Midwest before being painstakingly restored by a pair of twin brothers.
Also during the chapter’s 27th annual show at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds, an Upstate New York truck driver with more than 50 years behind the wheel was honored for his skill, safety and longevity.
Sightliner has a Hollywood pedigree
In the 2011 sci-fi film “Real Steel,” Hugh Jackman (Wolverine in the X-Men movie franchise) starred as Charlie Kenton, a promoter of robot boxing matches. He travels the U.S. of 2020 with his 11-year-old son and fighting robots in this tricked out 1960 ACO-195 Sightliner. Reportedly it cost $250,000 or more to create this traveling robot training/repair center just for the movie.
The Hudson Mohawk show was the truck’s East Coast debut for its new owner, collector Tim Havens of Hudson Falls, New York. In fact, the truck only arrived in New York state Thursday before the show.
Bill Hanehan drove the Sightliner to its new home all the way from West Texas. He said it was a joy to drive, and turned plenty of heads on the highway. One of the reasons Hanehan enjoyed the ride so much is that much of the truck is new. He said the cab sits atop a late model chassis and driveline.
The Sightliner got its name from the two extra windows at about knee-level cut into where the firewall of a convention cab would be.
Western Star COE gets a new lease on life
Pete and Carl Caporal are identical twins, so it’s not surprising that the restoration of a 1979 Western Star COE got twice the attention and enthusiasm of most trucks. And, it got far more than twice the attention of other trucks at the Hudson Mohawk ATHS show.
The Brothers Caporal have spent the last three years restoring what they say is a rare Western Star COE. They said it started its working life with United Van Lines right after it was built, but spent only one year on that job. After that, according to the Caporals, it worked on two different Minnesota farms for a total of 32 years, eventually being bought in an online auction and taken to Connecticut.
Carl Caporal said that when they first saw the truck in the driveway of the previous owner, they knew they would buy it as soon as they opened the door. The interior was all original and in surprisingly good shape. The seats have been replaced but all else is as it was when new.
The Star has a 3406 A model Cat engine (375 HP), a 13-speed RoadRanger transmission, 433 rears and a 173-inch wheelbase.
Last weekend’s show was the truck’s last appearance for the year. The brothers said it was headed to storage in Corinth, New York after the show.
Upstate New York driver receives 50 year award from ATHS
Joe Ricciardi spent his entire working life behind the wheel of a truck, both as a company driver and as an owner-operator.
He began hauling groceries for Jones Trucking in Linden, New Jersey in 1966 and over the years logged what he estimates is well over 3 million miles with no chargeable accidents. There were, however, two memorable mishaps: once, a priest drove into Ricciardi’s truck and on another occasion a cab driver drove his taxi under his trailer, peeling the roof of the cab.
From 1972 to 1985 Ricciardi was an owner/operator driving for Hides & Skins Transport, transporting animal hides from importers in New York City to tanneries Upstate. He recalls this job meant he frequently was in the World Trade Center to pick up and drop off paperwork.
When the Twin Towers were destroyed in the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Ricciardi said he went to New York City. Over the years he got to know many New York City firefighters, and when they all responded to lower Manhattan, many fire stations were operated by skeleton staffs and volunteers. Riccardi was one of those volunteers.
Since 1996, Ricciardi has worked for N.Y.K. Mega Carrier Worldwide.