The Dromedary: 1953 Kenworth COE
The American Highway Safety Administration defines a dromedary (“drom”) as a “box, deck, or plate mounted behind the cab and forward of the fifth wheel on the chassis of the power unit of a tractor/semi trailer combination”. Swedish truckers often refer to their drom area as a “rucksack” while New Zealand’s truckers describe theirs as a “hungry tray”. Examples of drom tractors can be found in areas as diverse as Austraila, Sweden, Canada, and the USA but the concept is thought to have originated on the West Coast of the United States in 1950. In that era operators hauling semi-trailers built to the dimensions of the day, favored the idea that the overall length laws allowed bigger outfits than they were using. The answer, in some operations, was to install a drom box. This enabled companies to stick with existing trailers but to haul additional freight aboard their long wheelbase tractors. Basically in the States it was a means to haul more revenue-earning freight while staying with standard length trailers and comply with local laws regulating over the road weight laws on highways.
I’m not a “gear head” modeler but I began to collect diecast tractor trailers some years back. They were produced by the First Gear company and featured older American truck styles and “fallen flag” freight companies. The one truck style they never offered was a dromedary, a very common “rig” in the American West. I took a 1953 Kenworth COE (cab over engine) as a starting point. Brass channel was used to lengthen the frame: the saddle tanks, toolboxes and sanders were built from Evergreen plastic. The box was built using Evergreen sheet plastic, covered with bare metal foil and classification lights were added. The cab was stripped, primed, and repainted gloss red. It was finished with lettering decals made on my computer.
10 additional images. Click to enlarge.