Here be Monsters.
Hauling earth is dirty, difficult and downright lucrative work. The entrepreneurial spirit of American, George A. Armstrong founded Euclid in 1933 where he designed and built a reliable heavy duty dump truck, initially named the IZ Trac-Truck. Having built an enviable reputation through their war efforts, General Motors were tempted into purchasing Euclid business from the Armstrong family.
The now GM-owned Euclid dilated enough however to warrant a United States Department of Justice intervention, and in 1959, GM were forced to cease selling Euclid trucks for a total of four years and divest parts of the name and business. The General being the General, GM contrived to develop their own trucks, not covered by the anti-trust ruling.
By 1970, GM chose to abandon the Euclid nomenclature for Terex, a Latin blend of terra (Earth) and Rex (king) with a move towards producing huge machines for mining and related industries. The General then decided to sell Terex in 1981 to German firm IBH Holdings, who then almost immediately declared bankruptcy, meaning the reins reverted back to GM.
Another American entrepreneur, Randolph W. Lenz ran Northwest Engineering, scooping up two large Terex areas; in 1986, Terex USA, and the following year, the point of our focus today, Terex Equipment Scotland. Over the next twenty years, Northwest expanded Terex heavily with many acquisitions, making GM appear like amateurs.
Situated just off the M8 a few miles east of Glasgow, the Motherwell Terex plant was set up by GM in 1950 taking but four years to produce a thousand dump trucks. 1982 witnessed the plant designing, testing and creating their first articulated dump truck – the bright green 3204. But ten years later a rather ungentlemanly blip.
American businessman, Richard Carl Fuisz reported to the House of Commons that he had observed Terex making military vehicles in 1987. Purported to have been instructed by both British Intelligence and the CIA, these trucks were headed for Iraq. Vehemently denying the allegations, Terex took Fuisz along with the New York Times article writer, Seymour M. Hersh to court. Terex had no charges brought against them but did elicit a NYT apology.
On brighter notes, 1998 saw Terex dump trucks change hue from vivid green to white. The seventh generation launched in 2002, taking just thirty six months to produce another thousand. By 2011, their motive power source derived from Scania and remaining with the Scandinavian’s, Volvo Construction Equipment purchased what would become Terex Trucks in 2014 for $160M. VCE procured investments totalling over £35M in order to enhance the facility, launch the tenth generation truck in 2015 and in 2021 relaunch not only with a new beige/white livery but also in name – Rokbak.
The RA 30 and 40 can haul 28 tons (30.9 US Tons) and 38 tons (41.9 UST) of payload respectively, grossing at 52,000 Kgs and 70,000 Kgs. Visually externally similar, the 40 being just over 11 metres in length, the 30 a soupçon under ten metres, we find graphically different set ups beneath the vast yet handsome proboscis.
Dealing first with the RA 30, a five cylinder Scania DC9 diesel produces 276 bhp at 2,100 rpm with 1,880 Newton metres of torque at 1,400 rpm. ZF provides the eight speed fully automatic gearbox allowing the truck to reach 55 Kmh. Should you have the room and nerve, reverse tops out at 15 Kmh. More importantly is the time taken to empty the loaded 14 mm thick Hardox steel body – just twelve seconds and but seven point five to return – the same for both RA variants.
Front and rear frames consist of high-grade steel box sections; up front A shaped, the rear more Corinthian column. The frame articulates 45 degrees left and right making for easy manoeuvring alongside four turn, lock to lock hydrostatic power steering.
Suspension is comprised of double wishbones with four hydraulic dampers with coil over springs. If that sounds remotely car-like, the rest does not, pivoting inter-axle balance beams equalise the load. And the stopping power is expectedly beefy. A hydraulic system with oil cooled brake packs at each wheel with secondary and exhaust brakes combined with a transmission retarder.
Regardless of payload, the RA 30 is a thirsty brute but not necessarily in expected ways. Before shifting a gram of material, the truck requires practically 1,400 litres of various fluids simply to operate. The fuel tanks brims at 370 litres. The hydraulic system 164, the cooling system almost fifty. The engine crankcase alone holds 34, the transmission another fifty. Then add 150 more with front, centre and rear differentials. Yet Valvoline need not be on speed dial as transmission oils need changing every 4,000 working hours on the 30; big brother 40, every 6,000.
Staying with the 40, the engine has become a DC13, in-line six cylinder pumping out 440 bhp at 2,100rpm along with 2,255 Nmt at a lazy 1,300rpm. Allison provide the six speed box which has a two speed transfer, making twelve forward (but just one reverse) gears. Hustling makes 64 Kmh – reversing just 8 Kmh.
With frame and brakes mirroring its sibling, suspension here consists of four trailing links with a singular Panhard rod with heavy duty dampers for ‘excellent handling and ride.’ The payload bodywork gains an extra millimetre, the steering just 2.5 turns but best bring your uprated wheel brace for either model lest you suffer a puncture; the 30 wears a dozen studs, the 40 a withering nineteen per wheel. Aping Oliver Reed, the 40’s fuel tank now consumes 500 litres, hydraulics rise to 341 with those other essentials vastly increasing.
Operating conditions vary wildly. Inclement weather may disrupt your plans but these machines are built to work, regardless. A Winter kit allows for prolonged exposures down to minus 25 degrees Celsius. Your quarry colder? The Arctic kit keeps everything toasty even when it’s minus forty out. Both kits comprise thermo-heaters, engine independent heaters allowing warming fluids to circulate long after the shift ends ensuring nothing freezes up – and easy restarts for the morning. And best use Arctic Fuel in such conditions, regular diesel would congeal into a waxy gel.
Unconfined to this sceptered isle, on relaunch, many global orders rolled in – they’re now making one of these per day. The name may be new but with a healthy seventy-odd years reputation, along with Volvo backing; whether it’s for that new motorway junction or extracting the minerals required for myriad modern purposes, Rokbak are there.
 Parts of the ruling did not apply to GM operations in foreign countries.