ACCO’s long and proud history

FINAL CHECK: Trucks line up at the Dandenong factory.
FINAL CHECK: Trucks line up at the Dandenong factory. Carly Morrissey

THE ACCO has a proud history in Australia.

Speaking at an event to launch the new 2014 model, ACCO Iveco managing director Michael Jonson said the truck was iconic and the backbone of the Australian transport industry.

After going through the history, it was easy to see how true that was.

National key accounts manager Lloyd Reeman has been selling ACCOs since 1969.

"It's a great journey and a great story," he said.

Back in 1852, the first International Harvester trucks were imported. In 1912, the International Harvester Company of Australia was started and in 1937, they decided to stop importing and start building trucks right here.

Two years later, a Geelong foundry was built for farm equipment and they assisted the Australian Government during the Second World War, cementing a successful partnership.

In 1947, the foundry was doubled in size at a cost of $1.6 million to keep up with demand.

Then, in 1950, a new site in Dandenong was purchased. That factory opened in 1952, and the first Australian Army prototype truck was developed.

After years of testing, those army trucks were built in 1959.

Two years later the first AACO (Australian A-line Cab Over) was built.

The name came simply from the production line the trucks came from.

The AACO became known as farm trucks and other models were made.

Then in 1966 they moved production from the A-line to the C-line and the new model became known as the ACCO.

Back then the truck ran an International D-358 six-cylinder diesel engine.

The biggest order of the trucks (29) came from Lindsay Fox in 1968.

At the start the truck didn't have a step - you climbed up on the front wheel. The truck these days has two steps.

In 1972, some $11.5 million was invested into the factory and the ACCO/A was born.

There were some teething problems, such as an incident dubbed the Moffat fireball - the story goes that an ACCO transporter was given to Allan Moffat Racing and caught fire, burning his race vehicles. Another truck was dubbed the crayfish - all shell and no guts.

However, the company learnt from those lessons and spent $3 million on a re-work, with 28 modifications, in 1975.

Then a heavy-duty truck was released which had lots of power but was a very rough ride.

In 1977, the first ACCO update came, including power steering.

The steel cabs met ECE 29 compliance standards in 1977, and have not changed much over the years.

Then in 1982, hard times fell on International Harvester and they went into receivership.

Iveco bought the company in 1992, and it took 11 years for the name to be added to the trucks.

Last year CNH Industrial bought out Iveco and has continued to invest in its success, launching the new ACCO.

Built in the same factory that was opened up in 1952, the new ACCO comes turbo-charged, with a Cummins six-cylinder diesel. The engine meets Euro 5 standards using SCR and comes with an Allison Gen 5 3200 series six-speed automatic.

The safety features include the tough cab, anti-lock brakes, traction control, electronic stability control on the agitator spec only (at this stage), front underrun protection and a park brake alarm.

A good air-conditioner, adjustable ISRI seats and steering column, electric windows, cruise control and motorised heated windows complete the picture.

Mr Reeman has vowed that the new product will be good from the start. There have been some 4000 changes since the first ACCO and 78,000 have gone through the press at the factory.

What started life as a tough, no-nonsense, utilitarian workhorse designed primarily for use in the Australian defence forces has, over the years, become much more sophisticated and user-friendly in civilian life, while not losing its ruggedness or robust reliability.

Initially only available as a 4x2, the latest ACCOs now come in 4x2, 6x4 and 8x4 configuration.

Topics:  iveco transport trucks

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