BACK TO THE BRAND
A self-confessed International ‘tragic’, it was probably short odds that Tasmania’s John Treloar would be first in Australia to buy a new ProStar. Even so, he’s also a realist who knows the brand’s long-term future here hinges as much on the resolve and commitment of both International and Iveco as it does on ProStar’s performance
T he way John Treloar sees it, there’s no structural or mechanical reason why International ProStar shouldn’t succeed in Australia. None at all! It is, as he succinctly puts it: “Simply a strong, practical workhorse. The same things that made S-line such a good truck are all there in this truck, too.”
In fact, without putting too fine a point on it, Cummins-powered S-lines are the reason Treloar not only ranks among the top tier of International ‘tragics’, but also the reason why the prospect of a ProStar with a 15-litre Cummins engine lit the fires of interest like a flamethrower on fuel.
The story goes like this: Treloar is managing director of Treloar Transport – a busy trucking, civil construction and quarrying company based at Sheffield in northern Tasmania, nestled beneath the stark, imposing stature of Mt Roland.
The company’s roots date back to the mid-’50s, with his father, Cliff, hauling fuel in drums before venturing into logging in the 1970s, and ultimately moving into civil construction and quarrying operations as opportunities emerged.
These days, a big chunk of the company’s workload is in the construction and maintenance of forestry haulage roads, invariably in steep and difficult terrain. More on that later!
Anyway, it’s a business that today operates a sizeable inventory of about 60 pieces of construction and earthmoving equipment, accompanied by what Treloar describes as “a dozen mainstream trucks – mainly tipper and dog but also a couple of prime movers for different jobs like hauling machinery.”
All but two of the ‘mainstream’ trucks carry the International brand – from five Eagle 9900s, to a couple of Transtars, a pair of seemingly ageless S-lines, and now a single ProStar.
The only exceptions to the International indulgence are two Iveco Powerstars but, for reasons that include issues with fit and finish of the cab and occasional electrical glitches, Treloar says it’s unlikely there will be any more. Besides, he’s not oblivious to speculation that Powerstar may soon be a thing of the past for Iveco, with the company apparently putting its conventional hopes in ProStar while its own Stralis range continues to contest a burgeoning heavy-duty cab-over class.
Anyway, taking a few steps back, Treloar concedes that several brands of truck have occupied the company’s evolution over the decades. “Some better than others,” he says with a smirk.
Treloar is quick to confirm that the purchase of a second-hand International S-line with a Cummins 350 Big Cam engine in 1984 was the foundation of a regard that has endured and strengthened for well over 30 years. That original S-line, Treloar explained, had already clocked close to 500,000 kilometres as a logging prime mover by the time it joined the Treloar operation, where it was duly converted to a tipper hauling a pig trailer, and continued to provide faithful service for the next half-million kilometres.
Yet it wasn’t just the fundamental integrity of the truck that won his admiration. After about four years in the Treloar business, the 14-litre Big Cam 350 was ready for a rebuild and, with a price tag of just $1,500 for the entire parts kit, he realised the economics of the S-line and Cummins combination were as appealing as the durability.
“As far as engines go, that sealed the future with Cummins, for sure,” he remarks. “And for me, that’s the thing that really stands out – the ability of the truck and engine to be rebuilt for relatively low cost.”
Top: International ‘tragic’. John Treloar at home in the shadow of Mt Roland, with two treasured pick-ups of the past, a 1950 International AR110 model and a D1100 from 1977
Above: Across the ages. For John Treloar, it all started with an S-line (left), then came the 9900 Eagle and now, International ProStar