Sunter Bros of Northallerton, North Yorkshire, were for many years a well known name in heavy haulage. The company was taken over and disappeared into Econofreight in the 1980s consolidation of the Heavy Haulage industry.
A hallowed name in the great hall of Heavy Haulage fame, the Sunter story began in the Swaledale village of Gunnerside. From modest beginnings in the early 30's, a sizeable site was acquired on the outskirts of Northallerton in 1937. Quickly establishing a solid reputation, the firm was catapulted into the big league in 1957 when Tom Sunter fought hard to win the famous Bradwell boilers contract with Head Wrightson. A Rotinoff Super Atlantic heavy tractor was used along with solid tyred Crane bogies. Both items of equipment did a phenomenal amount of work for the haulier and now reside in the The Science Museum at Wroughton nr Swindon.
Into the 1970's the modular trailer concept took the industry by storm, and by their end Sunters had one of the largest inventory of modular axle lines in Europe.
In the 1980s they tied up with continental transport specialist ITM that operated some barges and some of the fleet was repainted in ITM-Sunters branding in a different shade of grey. In August 1983 they moved a 3100 ton Module with Modular trailers weighing 400 tons to set a record (at that time) of 3543 tonnes for the heaviest single load moved on wheels, at the Cleveland Redpath yard in Port Clarence, onto a load out barge on the River Tees. Another record was for a 1120 wheeled trailer built from Modular units for a Oil Rig production module load out.
Sunters was bought-out in 1964 (by Bulwalk United Transport) but the name was still in existence until 1980.
The firms demise came in May 1986 when the heavy haulage operation was merged with Wynns and Econofreight. Most of the heavy fleet were repainted into the blue & white of Econofreight, and the famous Tractomas tractor unit RDC 318X was later sold abroad.
Peter Sunter worked as a consultant to Sarens
This is a list of some of the fleet operated by Sunters.
- Atkinson NPY 63F - in Dave Weedon collection
- Diamond T 980 6x4 ballast tractor 998 BVN ex ?
- Mercedes-Benz / Titan 6x4 VVN 910S
- Mercedes-Benz / Titan 6x6 EJW 229V
- Rotinoff Super Atlantic RPY 767 - 'Fearnought'
- Scammell Junior Constructor NAJ 920
- Scammell Junior Constructor HPY 54D - in Dave Weedon collection
- Scammell Super Constructor 447 DPY - in Dave Weedon collection
- Scammell Super Constructor KVN 860E
- Scammell Contractor NAJ 103P 'Fearnought' (Transferred from Rotinoff in 1976)
- Scammell Contractor LAJ 798P
- Scammell Contractor YVN 308T 'SUPER'
- Scania R142H 4x2 tractor A323 FHN
- Scania R142H 4x2 tractor A324 FHN
- Scania R142H 6x4 tractor B326 KVN
- Tractomas RDC 318X - NICOLAS TR66C4C. The big Frenchie was built with Cummins KTA450 Supercharged engine, torque converter & Clarke 'powershift' 8 speed gearbox, Soma axles & Michelin tyres. 9' 10 wide (compared to the normal 8' 4").
- Volvo F89 6x4 tractr NAJ 102P
- Volvo F89 6x4 Ballast tractor HVN 396N
- Volvo F89 6x4 Tractor OVN 676R
- Volvo F12 6x4 tractor AVN 311T
- Volvo F12 6x4 tractor AVN 312T
- Volvo F12 Ballast tractor RDC 319X
- Crane trailers
- List of Heavy Haulage Contractors
- Heavy Haulage
- List of Truck Manufacturers
- Specialist trailer builders
- Specialist truck builders
- List of Named Vehicles
- List of Vehicles by registration number
- Shows and Meets - Includes events featuring heavy haulage trucks in preservation & modern machines.
- Museums List
References / sources
- www.trucknetuk.com summary of a talk by Peter Sunter
- Trucks, by Bob Tuck
- Sunters Heavy Haulage photo pool on Flickr
- Amazon - Sunters : High - Wide + Mighty Book on the firms history (Out of print)
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