Perhaps nothing is as synonymous with U-Haul as moving trucks. Whether you’re in a congested city or driving along a two-lane highway in a rural area, odds are it won’t be long before a U-Haul truck drives by.
Today, U-Haul trucks are easily identified with their U-Haul Orange and white color scheme. But they didn’t always look that way. In fact, the look of our trucks isn’t the only thing that’s changed over the years. Here’s a timeline of U-Haul trucks and how they’ve evolved from the very first ones that rolled into service in 1959, to those that drive the roads, highways and interstates of North America today.
U-Haul introduced rental trucks designed for household moving to its fleet in 1959. They were initially available for In-Town rentals only, but by 1960 U-Haul was renting trucks one-way, becoming the first company in the industry to offer both trucks and trailers for one-way rentals.
A Ford Econoline van was added in 1965, and in 1966, U-Haul added pickup trucks and cars to the rental fleet. U-Haul has partnered with Ford for more than 50 years now.
In 1976, the 16-foot aluminum TC moving van joined the fleet. This was arguably our most popular moving truck ever because of its durability and special features. The TC included a Ford FE engine, which was Ford’s first big-block engine. It provided a lot of power and had thick cylinder walls so it was nearly impossible to blow the engine, allowing it to be rebuilt over and over, if needed. Also in 1976, U-Haul introduced rental trucks to the Canadian rental fleet.
As part of the Company’s restructuring, U-Haul launched a new truck-buying program in 1987. This included the introduction of the 17-foot EL.
In 1988, U-Haul converted from aluminum to fiberglass reinforced plywood (FRP) to construct van boxes and unveiled the 26-foot JH Super Mover—the largest in the industry—with air-ride suspension. JH was a nod to Joe Hansbury, a longtime team member who had a monumental impact on U-Haul products.
In 2010, the 20-foot TT joined the U-Haul fleet. This new model was manufactured in response to our customers who asked for a moving solution that fit between the existing 17-foot and 24-foot trucks.
In October 2015, U-Haul unveiled the brand-new, 26-foot JH-D. This new model has a gross vehicle weight rating of 22,000 pounds, which is a ton more than other models. Also, its fuel-efficient V10 engine and six-speed transmission team up to offer better fuel economy. All of this is built on a custom suspension that makes it feel as if you’re driving a much smaller vehicle.
Did you drive (or ride in) an old U-Haul truck for a move “back in the day?” Tell us about your experience in the comments section.