The concept of “earle” and “salt” trucks was created as an advertising slogan, in the 1960s, to describe an older vehicle that was a more efficient alternative to the new “superhighway”.
“The concept of the salt truck has been around since the 1960’s and it has been used by various advertising agencies and media outlets, including TV and radio,” said Michael Burt, managing director of the company that makes the trucks.
“The idea was that salt trucks were used to haul a heavier load of cement, cement that is more expensive to transport, which would be used to construct highways and other infrastructure projects.”
When you have an existing road that is only going to be used for two or three years, and you want to get that same load of concrete in as quickly as possible, the salt trucks would be a great solution,” he said.
“When you combine that with the fact that the salt can be used in conjunction with other materials, including cement, and that the vehicle itself can be made of steel, and the weight of the truck is reduced, you can reduce your cost of transporting the same load as an axle truck.” “
They have an axle length of just 20 metres, but they can go 100 kilometres an hour, which is faster than an axle for a highway truck,” he explained.
“When you combine that with the fact that the salt can be used in conjunction with other materials, including cement, and that the vehicle itself can be made of steel, and the weight of the truck is reduced, you can reduce your cost of transporting the same load as an axle truck.”
In a survey conducted by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, it was found that 80 per cent of respondents believed the salt-truck concept was more economical than the highway truck.
The survey also found that many of the people who had heard of the concept said they had used a salt-toned truck.
But many people had not, and those who had were likely to be more sceptical than the majority of people who said they owned a salt truck.
“We have found that the majority (of people who have heard of this concept) have either never heard of it, or have heard it in the context of some other type of advertising,” Mr Burt said.
“So we have to make sure that people are aware of this.”
When people have heard the concept of a salt toned truck, it is likely they will have heard that they could drive faster than a highway vehicle, and it is the type of concept that is associated with salt trucks.
The concept, which first appeared in the United States in 1956, was also referred to as “sail-ton” trucks.
This was the first truck to be called a salt engine, but the name was dropped in the 1970s to avoid confusion with the “salty” term used by many commercial drivers.
“It is actually quite a good name for this truck, but I think it was originally a bit more derogatory,” Mr Derry said.
It was originally meant to be the only vehicle that could be used on salt-laden roads, Mr Bunt said.
But it wasn’t until the late 1970s, when the salt engine was introduced in Europe, that it was adapted for use on gravel roadways, and became known as “earl”.
“We thought it was a fantastic name for a truck,” Mr Gildea said.