Intro to DROMS

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Excerpt from:
An Introduction to Droms

by Martin Phippard, Warminster, Wiltshire, England

The dictionary defines a Dromedary as "a thoroughbred, one-humped Arabian camel." However, the American Federal Highway Safety Administration (FHSA) defines a drom as "box, deck, or plate mounted behind the cab and forward of the fifth wheel on the (chassis) frame of the power unit of a tractor/semi-trailer combination." Swedish truckers often refer to a drom area or a drom tractor as a "rucksack" or "rucksack truck," while New Zealand’s truckers describe the same area as a "hungry tray."


Examples of drom tractors can be found in areas as diverse as Australia, Sweden, Canada, and the U.S.A., but the concept is thought to have originated on the West Coast of the United States around 1950. At that time operators hauling semi-trailers built to the dimensions of the day, cottoned to the idea that the overall length laws allowed bigger outfits than they were actually using. The answer, in some operations, was to install a drom box. This enabled companies to stick with their existing trailers but to haul additional freight aboard their long wheelbase tractors. Meanwhile in Europe at about the same time, the French circus owned by Buglione Bros. was using forward-control, lend-lease Autocar tractors left over from World War II. One or two were equipped with a drom tray or short platform to haul circus equipment around the country.

For the whole story, subscribe to Old Time Trucks® and read the Jun04/Jul04 2004 issue.


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