That Big Truck Blog

An American Car Hauler's Blog

LOCKED IN A TRUNK – Car Hauler Tales

You just can’t make this stuff up.

One of the very interesting stories I encountered during my 33-plus years of auto transport involves a young man from eastern Tennessee. “Stevie” was a car hauler for many years…raised in the biz much like I was, taught by his father whom I knew to be one of the top-shelf car haulers in the country. My father, Claude (i.e Baltimore Kid, Kentucky CatFish, Gold Digger for you that only remember folks by their CB handles), was simply the best and Stevie’s dad worked along side my own father for many years. Both eventually would train many new recruits to the business, teaching them “old school” ways of making this difficult job successful. They were owner/operators in addition to the tough job of hauling automobiles so there was much to be attentive to if they were to survive the tests of many years down the road.

There was a time when Stevie became a driver/operator for one of the independent owners that had a truck leased to an enterprise of mine, Carl’s Car Carriers, many years ago. At the time, southern California was a route that we serviced from several of the northeast U.S. automobile auctions. Stevie was dispatched on a load from the Newburgh, New York area destined for El Monte, California. Back in that day, early 90’s Ford Thunderbirds & Mercury Cougars were a favorite model for this particular buyer. These cars also had the dreadful trait of trunk lids mysteriously popping open during transport when loaded in a “back on” position. (This eventful personal discovery was not a pleasant one for this author, I might add.) To be sure, I don’t think the engineers and designers at FoMoCo in Michigan had planned for these cars to go down the road at 65 miles per hour…backwards! Not all of these cars had this problem…seems like every now and then one would just open but when it happened, it was usually a costly problem as the wind forced it up and back, bending hinges and sometimes breaking that cute little rounded rear window, spraying shards of safety glass all down the following cars on the trailer.

This mixed load of used cars headed into the Los Angeles basin just happened to contain one of these particular model cars and Stevie chose to load it first…which meant it went on the top, front position out over the cab/hood of the shiny red Peterbilt car carrier he was driving. This placed the trunk facing forward, catching all the turbulence of some 2500 miles cross country. It was a cold night, as told to us the next day, when Stevie pulled out of Newburgh, NY and began his journey south. It wasn’t far down the road and he received a CB call from a passing truck driver advising him that “the trunk on that first car is open!” Stevie pulls into a rest area to check things out and sure enough, the trunk lid is popped and now sticking straight up, hinges bent and fortunately the rear glass had not been broken.

There is no way to access this one position on a car hauler from the front…obviously it is resting some 13 feet off the ground with nothing to stand on. The only way to access it is to climb the ladders and carefully “hug” the car as you inch along the side of the car, holding onto door handles, windshield wipers or anything you can grab onto for support. Stevie accomplishes this task and sees that the hinges have been bent and the trunk will not close back completely without some force. Hanging from his precarious position and attempting to slam the trunk lid down proved to be difficult but he did get it to latch…only to have it pop back open again. Stevie decides he needs a few tools to check out why the latch mechanism is not working and holding the trunk lock securely. After gathering a few tools, he climbs back into position but is unable to reach the locking mechanism from the side of the rack. His next move placed his head, arms and upper body over the edge of the open trunk as his legs slid in behind him. Inside the open trunk, now he had good “safe” access to the lock mechanism and he began his investigation and adjusting. Are you still with me here? Do you have this picture in your head? It is cold…dark…frost is covering the car surfaces…a man is sitting cross-legged inside an open trunk on top of a car carrier 13 feet in the air in a rest area parking lot at some early wee hour in the morning…holding a flashlight in his mouth while he tries to repair the lock so the trunk lid will stay latched as he makes his way to California.

Stevie felt he had found the problem and made a simple adjustment to the catch by bending it so the lock would hold. Before he got out of the trunk, he wanted to check it to make sure it would line up. Yeah…you are ahead of me here…I can tell. Stevie decides to lie sideways and pull the trunk lid down while observing with his flashlight from the INSIDE of the trunk. His words were…”I knew I was in trouble when I heard the trunk latch click on the first attempt.” Yeah, when I heard this story, I gasped too at that moment. It is one of those impossible to make up stories. I did not discuss with Stevie about his claustrophobic nature…I was laughing too hard at the time. Scary, for sure, but at the telling of the incident, I was aware the man had survived the ordeal. He could have been locked in that trunk for days until the truck was located and even then, I don’t even want to imagine what would have led an investigator’s K-9 companion to the trunk of a car loaded backwards on top of this car hauler.

The good ending to this story is that Stevie kept his head and was eventually able to bend the latch assembly with the small screwdriver to get the trunk to pop open once again. He said he spent some very scary, uncomfortable time inside that cold, dark trunk that night. I can only imagine.

A few years ago, car manufacturers began installing pull tabs on the inside of trunk cargo areas so this kind of problem could be avoided. I’m certain they were brought about by a rash of car-jackings and somebody said “there outta be law” or something as simple as that. I’m pretty sure the engineers at the Big 3 automakers didn’t create this pull tab inside the trunk area due to errant car haulers finding themselves prostrate and locked in a cold, dark place never intended for human occupation…unless you were on the bad side of Tony Soprano. But in the latter instance…you probably wouldn’t be able to reach the pull release tab anyway. 😉

January 4, 2010 Posted by | Auto Auctions, Auto Manufacturers, General Auto Transport, Manheim Auto Auctions | , , , | 2 Comments

ANDROID PHONE TEST POST

Image and text test from WordPress email

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January 2, 2010 Posted by | General Auto Transport | Leave a comment

AMAZING NEW MOTOROLA DROID SMARTPHONE & TODAY’S CAR HAULERS

I recently needed to replace one of the early BlackBerry Storm PDAs I use for my auto transport service and asked my oh-so-helpful Verizon Wireless customer service rep about the latest star offering from Motorola dubbed the Droid. It was explained to me that there are currently 2 different model “Droid” phones made by 2 different manufacturers available for the Verizon network…the aforementioned Motorola and the HTC Eris. The Eris has no expandable keyboard like the Motorola Droid and the present price diff is around $100.00 with the Motorola keyboard model calling for the extra Benjamins. I opted for the keyboard model having owned several Motorola phones in the past, always giving me lasting service. First impression is a well made, “heavy feel” to this phone with an amazing touch screen as compared to the BlackBerry Storm. I have found a handful of issues in my limited use so far but I am certain these will be addressed as upgrades become available via downloads. No quick way to multiple email deletions being one of them…a better IMAP mail relationship (Yahoo free mail accounts currently present multiple issues and it is yet to be determined if this is a Google tactic to increase their own GMail account use?) is another. Too many passionate users of the Droid system phones are whining about these quirks…someone will have to address them in an upgrade. Matter of fact, in the first discussion with Verizon prior to opting for the Droid phone, I was told my “free” Yahoo mail account would not work with this phone. However, it can be made to work easy enough but after a day or so, I began to see the returning emails after I deleted them…many returning emails! Again and again…it got so annoying that I did just exactly what the Google geeks were betting I would do…deleted my Yahoo mail from the device. I’ll just wait till the issues are ironed out between the competition and try again later.

So what’s the deal here for us in the automobile transport biz? Why the buzz surrounding these new smartphones? According to the Motorola folks, the Android™ phones (Droid by Motorola, Eris by HTC and the Cliq with MotoBlur from Motorola) utilize an “Android™ flexible software platform designed to deliver a personalized and customizable user experience on mobile devices. It is strongly suited to bring advanced web services, e-mail, social networking, and entertainment to consumers. Android will serve as the operating system on many of Motorola’s future handsets.” The keyword here is definitely in the customizable nature of these smartphones and this little dissertation was inspired by one of many of the current applications (apps) available to make this a potential powerhouse for a car hauler and his business.

Car haulers, check this:

GOOGLE Goggles…is a free down-loadable visual search application for Android phones. Instead of using words, take a picture of an object with your camera phone: it attempts to recognize the object, and return relevant search results. Goggles also provides information about businesses near you by displaying their names directly in the camera preview. Now, the above video will give you a brief look at the possibilities available to users of these phones using the Goggles app…on the same application plane, there are several barcode scanner apps (mostly free downloads, some have a minimal charge) that may be very useful within our business. I have tried the bar code scanner app on products of all types around my office and the scanner nailed everything…quickly bringing up pages and pages of correctly identified product info. Now…the question yet to be determined by this author is whether the scanning feature (using the camera feature built inside the phone) will actually “see” the bar code of dash-mounted VINs (in the case of General Motors branded vehicles) under the glare of the windshield. It seems likely that it would but I will determine this shortly and report back. If indeed these smartphones can do a bar code scan through the glass, it is only a few seconds app download away from copying these 17-digit VINs and placing them quickly into your favorite document editing software for bill of lading prep or forwarding to dispatch/billing departments back home. Manheim Auto Auction units also utilize a bar code label prominently placed on the outer surface of the windshield. This scanning feature is only one of the hundreds of useful utility/productivity applications with tremendous potential for the auto transport industry and they are available now. With BlueTooth capability, available printer apps as well as a host of productivity software, this feature makes this line of smartphones a potential must-have for owner/operators & drivers in the car haul field. It is quite a powerful communication/productivity package right in the palm of your hand

January 2, 2010 Posted by | General Auto Transport | 4 Comments

TEST POST VIA EMAIL

Via mobile…test

December 25, 2009 Posted by | General Auto Transport | 3 Comments

COTTRELL TRAILERS MODEL C-10LT A AUTO TRANSPORT REVIEW PART 3

COTTRELL TRAILERS MODEL C-10LT A AUTO TRANSPORT REVIEW PART 3

COTTRELL TRAILERS MODEL C-10LT REVIEW CONTINUATION

***The following is an ongoing, independent, unbiased review and commentary by CB Stephens of Carl’s Car Carriers Inc and is based on regular, everyday usage of the equipment in the course of automobile transportation activities for which this trailer was intended. CB Stephens is a 33-plus year veteran in the car haul field as an independent owner/operator and small fleet developer. Carl’s Car Carriers Inc. is a Tennessee-based automobile transportation service chartered in 1991. Cottrell Trailers can be visited by clicking this link: CottrellTrailers.com

With the earth’s axial tilt approaching it’s farthest away from the sun, Old Man Winter has begun his annual visitation a little early for some of us. And with the southern states getting highly unusual “first” snows, a skid-jerkin’, chain-poppin’ carhauler doesn’t have a lot of time to ready his horse and himself for the harsh weather conditions ahead…matters not what part of the country you operate in.

I would like to address a Cottrell Service Bulletin on this third installment of my personal review of the C-10LT high-side auto transport trailer as it applies to this model. It is officially designated SB # 006 by Cottrell Trailers and applies to this reviewed model C-10LTA and C-10LTB trailers. The beginning models of these trailers apparently required more bottom gusseting near the front of the trailer to add support to the front upright posts of position # 3. When this was discovered, Cottrell Trailers made available to owners a kit that included 2 new bottom gussets pre-cut and a pair of tubes to telescope into the top of the front uprights to add more support. My trailer was no exception in this warranty issue covered by this SB # 006 service bulletin. Please see this important notice for specific Cottrell requirements for kit installation and weld procedures. It is imperative that weld procedure be followed and adhered to according to Cottrell Trailer specs. Improper gusset weld can be troublesome per this link: SB006 Weld Bulletin.

Small cracks developed on the top of the front posts at the bottom edge of the horizontal beam on my trailer…an ’07 model. At first notice, I was not at a location that I would want extensive repair to be performed and opted for a weld repair to close up the crack until the repair could be properly handled.

Cottrell Trailer

In completing this repair/warranty issue, hydraulic lines will have to be disconnected at the top of the posts…both ends should be disconnected and the lines strapped to the top beam out of the way. I retracted the cylinders to remove as much hydraulic fluid as possible and set the posts on the pins prior to disconnecting the lines. On my trailer, there was an electrical connection for the top horizontal rail “chicken lights” so that was placed out of the way with the hydraulic lines. Pull the retaining pin out of the top saddle and allow the cylinder to rotate and hang from the opposing end/pin. (see image below) Good time to verify fit of the o-ring in the fitting on the cylinder end. If I’m not mistaken it is a #6 o-ring in case you need to look for one. *Hint…Home Depot or the “Do-It-Yourself” display at your parts store.

After the lines have been removed, you may want to place a jack in the position depicted below to achieve a closing of the gap in the crack area…that is if you have waited long enough to develop a crack. If not, you may still want to place some support in the area shown in the image to keep things as they should be. Not sure if it’s required by Cottrell but the placement of the jack in the area shown immediately closed the small gap at the top of the posts. Jacking in the 5th wheel area even with a cum-a-long stretched to the top of the post could not close the gap. Only a small amount of pressure on the railroad jack placed under the bottom beam closed the gap immediately on both sides.

Insertion of the telescoping tubes is pretty straightforward and all I could offer here in the procedure would be to make sure you block the possibility of the tube falling down into the bottom of the uprights. Don’t ask me how I know this. There was a pin placed in a side hole of the upright for this purpose but when the c-clamp let go and the tube fell, it kicked the blocking pin right out and settled down near the bottom of the tube…caught by the inner hydraulic plumbing I think. Not a big deal but we were able to tack weld some flat stock through a side pin hole and retract it back up into position. Cottrell specifies 1/4″ of the telescoping tubes be left out the top and welds placed there. In addition, there are plug welds that must be made on the side and the rear of the front upright posts after drilling. Grind smooth.

These are not intended to be complete kit installation instructions…there are many more warnings that must be acknowledged, i.e. isolating ECM modules and other electronics prior to welding by removing battery cabling, etc. This is my personal experience with this model trailer and it is my intention to include every repair and maintenance issue that is encountered as I work this trailer through it’s useful life. This repair was performed at approximately 235,000 miles of use. I have become accustomed to making good use of this new design which allows the “pulling on” of vehicles on this # 3 position as opposed to the CS-10 and 12 models. I also utilize this position many times for a larger unit and yes, large SUV’s can be pulled on and the doors will swing wide open to exit the vehicle.

Be Cool On Yer Stool, Driver…and Truck Safe.

December 24, 2009 Posted by | Auto Transport Trailers | , , , , | Leave a comment

COTTRELL TRAILERS MODEL C-10LT A AUTO TRANSPORT REVIEW PART 2


COTTRELL TRAILERS MODEL C-10LT A AUTO TRANSPORT REVIEW PART 2

COTTRELL TRAILERS MODEL C-10LT REVIEW CONTINUATION

***The following is an ongoing, independent, unbiased review and commentary by CB Stephens of Carl’s Car Carriers Inc and is based on regular, everyday usage of the equipment in the course of automobile transportation activities for which this trailer was intended. CB Stephens is a 33-plus year veteran in the car haul field as an independent owner/operator and small fleet developer. Carl’s Car Carriers Inc. is a Tennessee-based automobile transportation service chartered in 1991. Cottrell Trailers can be visited by clicking this link: CottrellTrailers.com

“Strap-only” trailers are being marketed arduously now by Cottrell Trailers as they convey manufacturer’s decisions requiring “soft-tie only” attachments. Keep in mind, I am reviewing a chain trailer here. Soft-tie options for chain trailers are readily available and being used daily across the country with minimal, if any, problems. A recent discussion with a veteran car hauler that regularly uses this method of “over-the-tire” ratchet straps on chain-supplied Cottrell CS-12 2005 model year equipment has reported seeing some cracking in the aluminum tables extending from some of the holes used for 3-point securing of the straps. It should be noted that he regularly transports large SUV’s that weigh 5300 pounds and more. I have yet to see any evidence of this in any of my experiences with Cottrell models but I am not doing as much “heavy” unit moves as the above mentioned operator nor am I using extensive strap moves. There are also those rumors of jurisdictions moving toward questioning the practice of using straps via aluminum decking attachment points. I cannot verify this and that is why I call them rumors. If you have personal knowledge to educate the rest of us, jump in. Your comments are welcome.

However, I believe we will see and hear more negative information about this tie-down option as Cottrell seeks to convince operators to buy new equipment or “convert” current trailers over to strap-only. While ratcheting “over-the-tire” straps are acceptable fare by most, if not all, manufacturers to date, it appears there is movement toward strap-only equipment at the urging of trailer manufacturers. It is my opinion that the push by Cottrell has much to do with the current state of the economy and the hard hit auto transport business. Cottrell Trailers remains standing while others have fallen because of innovation and industry-leading design and I do not intend to take away from that when I opine about marketing practices used. Some would just say it is just good business to do what is necessary to keep the employees working and I suppose it is. I can envision the brass in Gainesville having these weekly pow-wows in which each associate has the task of presenting ideas to jump start the once booming business in these hard economic times and while I agree that is the way I would run my business if I were “Mr. Cottrell Trailers”, I have some reservations about some advertised and solicited programs currently being offered for this market. One example, before I continue on to the review itself (and this has to do with this review later on), is a recent phone call/sales solicitation from a Cottrell rep to a family member who operates several full-size stinger car haulers. The Cottrell rep included a proposal to “convert” a chain trailer to a strap-only trailer. (Yes…Cottrell does refurbs, modifications, repairs, etc also). However, the righteous response to the Cottrell rep was this…“Just what year trailer is it that you want to convert for me? It would have to be a 2007 model or newer because anything older than that would be rusted and rotten to the point it would be wasteful ignorance to put such cost into a trailer!” I had to laugh, as much as it hurts, because I know the pain.

The last new Cottrell trailer I bought was a 2000 model…a CS-12. I ran mostly southern California via the southern routes which put me in little snow. (The harsh chemicals used by highway departments in wintertime really do a number on vehicles today but I seldom saw any of that. In an effort to understand the harshness of the chemicals being used today for highway de-icing, a study of the most popular applications all proclaim the low corrosive nature on metals (autos, bridges, etc) from the likes of calcium magnesium acetate (CMA), calcium chloride, CG-90 Surface Saver, CMS-B (also known as MoTech) and others. If these are not the chemical culprits responsible for the premature rusting of rolling stock, then substandard steel is being used). However, in 3 years, the trailer frame rails were eat through from the inside out with rust. You could poke a hole with your pinkie in the main frame rails on this $59,999.00 trailer (that price was in 2000…2007 prices were in the $80,000.00 range!) after just 3 years. Now, if you go to Cottrell’s website, they will state a 2 year “structural warranty”…leaving them off the hook for the substandard steel choices their procurement department has made. Yeah, yeah…I know these trailers have to be made lighter so we can haul more but I believe Cottrell has made some serious mistakes in their choice of suppliers OR material preparation prior to building these trailers. What good is a lighter weight trailer if there are no frame rails after 3 years? OK…I hear you, Mr. Cottrell Service & Repair…replace the frame rails??? How much is that going to cost me??? $10K. $20K More?? Either way, it seems ridiculous…no…IT IS RIDICULOUS for any business to pay this much for a piece of equipment and it basically rots inside out before a 5 year depreciation can be taken on it. What’s the fix? Hey, Cottrell! Listen up! No, I am not an engineer like your educated designers but I have been around this block for a long time. I have inhaled the “zinc coating” smoke & vapors from the insides of the Delavan “Work Horse” trailer frame rails when we would cut the beams to do a stretch job. Once you smell that, you don’t forget it. And just like the olfactory senses embed this memory, the ocular organs leave a lasting impression as well. Old…and I mean old… Delavan steel frame beams could be halved and inspected and the insides of these rails would be as clean as the outer painted surfaces. It appeared to be a coating of some type that these rails were dipped in. It was quite a chore with a grinder to remove this coating prior to welding. This stuff we called “zinc coating” may or may not have been zinc however it was a proven obvious deterrent to the rust problems we see today. (To be fair, later model Delavan trailers also went the way of rust and premature fatigue but there was an obvious change of ownership or management in the Buffalo, NY organization causing this problem). Why can’t you thoroughly pre-coat the entire beam of this thin gauge steel to make it last a little longer? Surely you are not doing this for your own company security as we have to prematurely replace equipment you have poorly prepared? Look…Cottrell has THE design down pat. They have discovered the way to hold seemingly paper-thin steel beams, posts and aluminum ramps together to transport outrageous loads safely. C’mon Cottrell…make ’em last a little longer! We know it can be done and probably by a simple coating of the materials. Now that I have gotten that off my chest…

As I said, Cottrell Trailers design is as far ahead of the game as the build prep bunch is behind. I stand amazed at the trailer durability concerning the welds and bracing. After 225,000 miles, I just had to do my FIRST “crack” repair and it honestly consisted of a hairline crack horizontally across the front upper posts just below the main upper beam. Both posts at the top…about half way across…requiring a weld to repair. I’ll be watching closely to see if it requires more in the coming days or weeks and I am guessing it probably will eventually need some gusseting or additional welds to properly stop this. I recently did some extensive suspension checks and saw no problems, cracks or weak areas. The design is a definite winner. I am often asked by other car haulers about this post-forward design and “Do you like it?” I always reply with a big “Yes!”. The post forward allows easy door access top and bottom and I can pull that unit out on # 3 without fear of overloading the table of a CS-12 had I tried that. One drawback in this position that I have found is the “tilt” deck in the bottom front (# 7 on a 10 car load) does not go as high as my old CS-12 models which limits the height/size of car when attempting to do 8 units in the trailer (11 car configuration…3 on truck, 8 in trailer). The difference is minimal between the two model trailers but it is just enough to create a problem I didn’t have with the CS-12 trailers. I guess it would be easy enough to fix this but why should I have to??? $80,000.00 should get me what it was designed to do. Admittedly, you don’t see a lot of guys (or gals) today doing this “2 end-to-end in the belly” anymore but I’ll do it every chance I get. It’s revenue and it’s a lot of difference at the end of the year. I’ve been surprised at some comments from old hands in the biz telling me they had no idea you could do this on these trailers.

Carl's Car Carriers

December 24, 2009 Posted by | Auto Transport Trailers | , , , , | Leave a comment

COTTRELL TRAILERS MODEL C-10LT A AUTO TRANSPORT REVIEW PART 1


COTTRELL TRAILERS MODEL C-10LT A AUTO TRANSPORT REVIEW PART 1

COTTRELL TRAILERS MODEL C-10LT REVIEW

The following is an independent, unbiased review and commentary by CB Stephens of Carl’s Car Carriers Inc and is based on regular, everyday usage of the equipment in the course of automobile transportation activities for which this trailer was intended. CB Stephens is a 33-plus year veteran in the car haul field as an independent owner/operator and small fleet developer. Carl’s Car Carriers Inc. is a Tennessee-based automobile transportation service chartered in 1991. Cottrell Trailers can be visited by clicking this link: CottrellTrailers.com

After working with this “post forward” design high-side automobile transport trailer for some 225,000 miles, I thought I would share a personal experience review for others considering a new high-side Cottrell Trailers purchase.

I ordered a new C-10LT A (short decks with flippers) in early 2007 after speaking to a factory rep that informed me they had one opening available due to a customer declining a previously placed order. It was explained to me that the Cottrell factory order process includes fabricating, cutting and preparing all parts and specifications about 30 days in advance. That means after that 30 day window, a customer cannot make many changes to the spec’d trailer order. Maybe paint, tire brand, etc? That was early 2007 BEFORE the Wall Street bust and the current economy woes that hit most all industry pretty hard. Car hauling was no exception and possibly was hit as hard as any. At the time of my order, there was still quite a backlog on getting a new trailer unless someone opted out of an order and you were Johnny-On-The-Spot or one of the larger companies that handled a number of trailers on a regular basis. Being a single trailer purchase, I got lucky when Motor City Auto Transport changed their mind from a high-side post forward model to another model, leaving that pre-cut trailer within the 30-day window looking for a buyer. I was at the right place at the right time and my name was placed on that trailer schedule. A Viper Red paint choice and a few small changes moved me up from a 3 to 4 month wait to a 30 day delivery ETA at the Cottrell Trailers factory in Gainesville, Georgia.

I have had extensive experience with many manufacturers of auto transport equipment over my car haul career that began officially for me in the early 1970’s. Even before that, my Dad, Claude Curtis Stephens, was a well-known, well respected car hauling professional for many years and I grew up around his trucks and trailers…all “high” 5th-wheel models. For much of his career, Troyler Trailer out of the Scranton, Pennsylvania area, was some of his favorite equipment but keep in mind this was a different day and there were some pretty stringent regulations for car carrier equipment back in those days. I remember maximum length limits of 55 feet overall in most states…8 feet wide was the limit before the 102″ allowances came along with the STAA (Surface Transportation Assistance Act) of 1982. Stinger-steered trailers (described mostly as a tractor/trailer combination where the kingpin is 5′ or more behind the rear axle centroid) were around then but the companies my Dad was leased to operated mostly high-5th wheel trailers and utilized a single car headrack (the super-structure custom fitted around the cab/roof design of various truck/tractors to facilitate the loading and transport of an automobile). It was not unusual in those days for heavy modifications to be performed on trailers as regulations changed to accommodate the maximum load potential. Steel frame rails in those days were substantially heavier and stronger and lent themselves well to complete frame stretching with a multitude of design options and changes per the operator’s ideas.

On to the C-10LT A review…it is my desire to provide an unbiased perspective on this trailer model with NO hidden agendas. I have no connection with Cottrell Trailers other than being a current user of one of their models and having used many different models of Cottrell trailers over my 30-plus year car haul career. I also have owned and operated Delavan trailers, Boydston trailers, Stuart trailers, Troyler trailers (both highly modified and factory 10-car units) and a host of other cut, hammered, chopped and stretched pieces of auto transport trailers as I did my best to put food on the table for my family like Dad taught us.

This particular Cottrell model C10-LT has the unique distinction from the earlier CS-12 models that include the “post forward” design which simply means the first 2 upright posts have been brought closer to the front of the trailer and at slightly less angle than the CS-12LT.

These images reveal this feature at the locations of the red arrows…the first being a 2000 model CS-12 with traditional post positioning while the second image is the C10-LT A 2007 model “post forward” design.

I have owned and operated about half dozen various CS-12 trailers prior to this newer design. It is this author’s opinion that the Cottrell high-side trailers are at the highest level attainable in the auto transport industry today as it applies to design, versatility and current regulatory limitations for size, dimensions and weight. Most of my own business will include used car dealers buying a mix of cars, large and small, and sport utility vehicles along with minivans and light trucks. This requires the versatility of the high-side design, again…my experienced opinion…where load potential can be maximized AND in the case of split buyers/split loads…requiring a minimum of loading/unloading to accomplish the task of delivery. With this design and the CS-12 models, it is possible to bring a unit off one of the top forward positions without unloading the top rear positions in many cases. While there are those times when this cannot be accomplished due to the size and dimensions of a particular unit on these trailers, there are many times I have been able to save double handling of cars just to get one unit off. This is enough to keep me in the “high-side” market alone but there are other reasons I personally choose to run one of these trailers. Versatility is the chief reason for a high side model as far as my car hauling niche goes. If I were operating short haul and quick load/unload was a priority, I may consider a 9-car quick-loader or comparable offering. I would be shorting myself if I went with any other design for my current customers.

I will continue my review of this trailer and include various load images, etc on subsequent posts here in this blog. If you have comments or images of your own, please forward them to thetruckist@gmail.com and I’ll see what I can do about including them here.

December 24, 2009 Posted by | Auto Transport Trailers | , , , | 6 Comments

AN AMERICAN TRUCKERS BLOG

Welcome to my “BLAMBLING” !

Since this will resemble my personal space to “ramble” more than a “weblog”, I took it upon myself this rainy Christmas Eve, to fabricate the above word. Maybe in a year or so, it will be an acceptable and frequently used part of American articulation and Mr. Bill O’Reilly will utilize it in his “Word of the Day” segment broadcast on Fox News Channel.  I can hear it already…”When writing to us here at Fox News…don’t be a (ding!)…BLAMBLER!” You’re welcome, Mr. O’Reilly.

I intend to use this blog as an avenue to reach out to others in the automobile transport field and trucking in America today. There are plenty of sources for general freight transporters, flatbedders, reefers, tanker “yankers” and such but not so many car haulin’ blogs. Yeah, a Google for “car hauling blogs” or “auto transport blog” will net you many pages but once you dig in to them, seldom are they much more than a prop for a carrier’s website attempting to direct traffic their way. To be truthful, I am in the biz myself and currently operate a late model full-sized “stinger-steered” Peterbilt hitched to a Cottrell trailer and yes, I do have a small web presence but that is mainly for introduction aid to my existing customers and the referrals they send my way. One man and one horse doesn’t need a lot to keep them busy and a steady base of buyers and exporters keep me hopping. So I say to the car haulers out there, join in and get a piece of this blambling…we may learn something along the way and at the very least, maybe we’ll make some new friends.

December 24, 2009 Posted by | General Auto Transport | Leave a comment