Returning from my weekly jaunt to Monterrey N.L and marveling at the number of new Kenworth T660 tractors you see traveling Mexico’s highways, i would occasionally see and old antique looking truck with RAMIREZ on the name badge. These are some butt ugly trucks any way you look at it but curiosity forever getting the better of me, I did some research into these rigs.
But to digress. When I had a truck leased to Celadon in 2000, some of the best trailers they had in the fleet had a manufacturers tag on them saying Trailers de Monterrey S.A. de C.V. These were some of the best handling trailers I have ever pulled. Stable suspension, an extremely easy slider system, just a good sturdy trailer.
Researching the RAMIREZ tractor led me to the website of Trailers de Monterrey which was a surprise, but more surprising was the history of the company. In addition to building quality trailers in the suburb of San Nicholas de Garza NL, they built the RAMIREZ tractors in addition to the SULTANA coaches.
In 1946, Trailers de Monterrey began as a repair shop, rebuilding trailers and the tractors that pulled them.
In 1952, they begin the manufacture of aluminum semi trailers and bull racks.
In 1955, they branched into the building of interstate motor coach building with the introduction of the SULTANA line of coaches, some of which are still in operation serving rural areas of southern Mexico. These old coaches were powered mostly by the old two stroke Detroit 318’s. But damn, were they a thing of beauty going down the highways. You still see a few of these that are pictured, but not many.
In 1959, they moved into manufacturing their first road tractor, the RAMIREZ R-12 which was built to the manufacturing standards of that era.
Later in 1960 after the phenomenal acceptance of the R-12, it introduced to the heavy truck market, two similar models, the R-15 and the R-18. These differed only from the R-12 in that they offered increased horsepower for greater load capacity. Like most tractors of this era, they were offered in 2 axle configuration.
In 1963, the model R-1Å and for the first time a three axle model, the R-18-2D.
In 1970, the R-22 model was introduced. Considered luxurious with a large cabin and aerodynamic lines of it’s time, it boasted reclining seats, air brakes, a tilt hood for easy access to the motor and increased radiator capacity. We still see these on the streets and highways of Mexico today. A quality hand built truck. The success of this model forced the company to introduce a model for lighter loads called the R-20 and again sales were brisk.
Manufacture and sales of this model continued into the 80’s when in 1981, Trailers de Monterrey, incorporated the technology of The Budd Company (remember Budd wheels, suspensions and Trailers) in their manufacturing lines.
Over the years, Trailers de Monterrey has diversified into the manufacture of dry bulk and wet tankers, Cattle trailers, multi axle dump buckets and flat beds (platformas)
In 1998, it began to manufacture a very sturdy and durable container chassis which is exported worldwide.
1992 begin an association with Volvo Truck for the manufacture of Heavy Class 8 trucks.
In 1995, under the provisions of NAFTA, Trailers de Monterrey S.A. de C.V. began exporting aluminum dry cargo vans to the USA.
Their success continued when in 1996 they began an association with Navistar International for the manufacture of medium duty trucks model 4700 and 4900 and 9200 class 8 road tractor.
It appears from looking at the cover of this catalog from the 1950’s, their association with International Harvester goes back beyond 1996. The 4 wheel drive featured on the cover has a design very similar to the old IH Scout, one of my first 4 wheelers which I loved.
These are not trucks you will see on the US side of the border. Too old now and too slow and for certain, they are not part of the cross border program. But they are a part of Mexican trucking history, the same as the Marmons and Transtars and B model Macks are in the US.
Another point of interest if you will take the time to read about the manufacturing process, these units are all built to USDOT standards and specifications, the same as all trucks and buses manufactured in Mexico for use in country or for export. Another myth debunked.
This is but another successful Mexican company and further helps us debunk the myth of some folks impressions of Mexico
35 years in the trucking business and living in Mexico for the past 15 years, make me uniquely qualified to offer my insight and opinion into the Mexican trucking industry and other border issues. A contributor to SiriuxXM Road Dog Channel 106 and to the award winning Lockridge Report, Mexico Trucker Online continues to publish the unvarnished truth about the subjects we cover.