Tom Taylor's

1988 Mercedes 32-Foot Stake Truck

Home | FAQ | Forum | Swap Meet | Gallery | Tech Tips | Events | Features | Search | Hoo-ya Shop

06 June 2007

From Tom :

         This is a Mercedes 32-foot Stake Truck. This critter really has stovebolts in her! Her cedar stakes are all assembled with stainless stovebolts with Nylok locking nuts. I put them in -- all 280 of them. This picture shows her hauling 10-foot docks.

         I bought this truck new in 1988, shortly after Mercedes bought Freightliner. The theory was that the combination would work well, using Mercedes for the Class 7's and Freightliner for the Class 8's. However, US purchasers could not relate to the Mercedes mechanics, as superb as they were. The guys wanted stuff that they could recognize and fix, such as Allison and Rockwell.

         I bought the truck new (here she is with the 24-foot bed) after renting a couple of them. Freightliner was sure that America would snap these trucks up like the rest of the world has done since 1955. 'Twas not to be. Nobody knew how to fix them, and further had no interest in learning. They wanted their usual stuff. Although my truck was assembled in Hammond, VA, there was a lot of resistance to a non-US product. I had truckers try to blow me off because it was "foreign."

         Mercedes made all that equipment themselves. So Mercedes in the US market was short-lived, even though it was the world's largest selling truck in places like Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. In 1992, Freightliner built and brought out their own Class 7 for the US market. One can still order the Mercedes motors special in a Freightliner.

         The trucks were popular in New York City as a Class 7, as they turned quite a bit shorter than the competition. Kenworth-Peterbilt also tried to bring out a competing Class 7 at the same time, using a Volkswagen from Brazil. It went over like the proverbial lead balloon.

         Both companies had to retool, and bring out an American Class 7, taking on International, GMC and Ford. Freightliner dropped my truck after 1992, when they brought out the highly successful Class 6-7 Freightliners, becoming everything from beer trucks to fire trucks, and everything in between. KW-Peterbilt bought DAF in Holland, and ignored the Class 7 mayhem altogether.

         My truck has a 5 speed synchromesh transmission with a 190 HP Turbo-aftercooled six cylinder diesel. It was perfectly matched so that each of the five gears would run from 1600-2400 RPM, then shift. How about a 36-foot ramp load? That is where the turbo is the most efficient. As a result, I get about 11 miles to the gallon in most lighter load situations. Here she's hauling a 19,000 pound load.

         I use this truck to haul float materials for my Float and Dock business. It also has full air brakes. It will really stop. It even has a sunroof. Here she is fully enclosed.

Tom Taylor
Bolter # 14077
La Conner, Washington

         Tom had a 1964 GMC 3/4-ton Fleetside in the Gallery. It was sold in April 2007. ~~ Editor

No parts of this site, its contents, photos or graphics may be used without permission.  

Copyright © 1995-2023 | The Stovebolt Page | Leonardtown, Maryland