Ref Library Sitemap
The auto wreckers of the Niagara Peninsula wanted to organize an association for the benefit of all concerned. I volunteered to help send out letters to remind the different operators what the future would hold for us if we would organize. Some meetings were held but the attendance was very poor with the result that after a few attempts the idea was abandoned. Most operators had the feeling that if you organize you have to pay a price, if not financially, a certain loss of freedom as to how you operate your enterprise, which they were not willing to do.
Daily life at the yard consisted of taking good parts off cars, like generators, starters, radiators, springs, universal joints, etc. Then what was left, we burned and piled up for United Steel or any other scrap collector that would pay more to come and get it. The parts were cataloged and stored on shelves inside and out under the roof.
While all this was going on, one thing attracted my attention and became stronger as time went by. Having been a dump trucker in the old country, unable to get into it when we came to Canada, it was kind of shoved to the background. But now, with those machines daily roaring by, the lure of the road awakened again in my subconscious mind.
So when I heard a 1960 Chevrolet single axle dump with P.C.V. permit was for sale, I went after it. First, I went to R.E. Law to ask if they would hire me. They said, "Come right over." That was good enough for me to hand over $2000 to Ian Smith and WESTSIDE TRUCKING was born. The year was 1964.
I was not ready to give up the wrecking yard. I figured, one could never be too careful. If trucking did not pay off, I still got something to fall back on.
In the early spring of 1965, I wanted to expand a little and get a tandem which was coming into style. I made a deal with Kapitein Motors in Port Colborne for a new GM dump chassis with a V6 351 engine. However, that did not work out too well. The truck plant went on strike so Kapitein could not deliver.
After some hassling I cancelled the deal and bought an International from Archie in St.Catharines. A 345 CI engine with a four and five speed transmission, complete with steel box and EDBRO hydraulic hoist. To pay for this $12,000 machine, I went to the manager of the bank for the dough. He said, "Yes, you can have it, but I want the deed to your house." I said, "Sure, but it won't do you any good, because the house is not paid for." That was okay with him, so I got the money.
Bill Bouk, who had been a long distance truck driver, heard I was gonna buy a dump and asked if he could drive it for me. "Sure, Bil,l go ahead. You must know what it is all about." He was as proud as a peacock, driving a brand new truck. He suggested I put number 9 on the side, he said it looked like we have nine trucks on the road. Also paint white slanted stripes on the front bumper as this really would show up. "Oke, Bill, if this makes you happy." Bill was always short of change for coffee and anything else, so pretty soon he became known as "DOLLAR BILL."
Soon I realized, a living could be made by being a trucker, so I started to make arrangement to phase out the wrecking operation. In 1966, I had an auction sale and got rid of most of the parts, tow truck, tires, etc. The rest went for scrap.
David Cohen from Port Colborne rented the yard for the next ten years, used the place for piling up broken glass from the Ford plant in Niagara Falls. Now I went trucking full time. In 1967, I got a second tandem: a GMC 351 with three and five speed trans and aluminium box. Why aluminium? For two reasons: one it looked nicer, you never had to paint it, but more importantly, it was 1000 lbs lighter than steel, thus we could haul half a ton more payload. It did cost $1000 more, but after two years, it paid for itself, and after that we made $500 a year more profit. And when empty, the truck was 1000 lbs lighter and subsequently burned less gasoline.