TUNNICLIFF, Norm

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Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2000.

The year was 1946.  WW11 had just ended and the road transport industry was just starting to boom.  Young Norm Tunnicliff had just started driving trucks.  Within a few years he had begun creating history.

In 1950, in his Ford Hercules, alongside friend and fellow truck operator, Les Howell, they carted the first ever load of Ford car bodies from the Ford plant in Geelong across the Nullarbor to Fremantle.  So unusual was this trip at the time that radio stations gave hourly updates and entire populations of small towns came out to wave the trucks through.

Norm also has the dubious honour of being charged with having his truck 'lit up like a circus.'  His Leyland Comet had in fact, only three lights down each side of the truck but the transport inspectors were determined to charge him with something.

Norm worked as a subcontractor for the Ford Motor Company mainly carting cars from Sydney to the plant in Geelong, although he carted all over Australia at times.  Norm knew there had to be an easier way than the time consuming, backbreaking way loading cars was being done in those days.  In 1960 he put pen to paper and designed a new car transporter capable of being loaded and unloaded by one man.  Previous to this, vehicles on the top deck had to be craned on and off.  His TUGGALONG trailer was unique in that the hydraulic back section allowed all vehicles to be driven on and off.  It was built with an all steel floor and channels for driving.

It was such a novelty in its day that Ford used it for promotions.  There is no doubt that Norm's invention did much to reduce the end cost of a motor vehicle to the consumer.

It was such an impressive looking rig (as well as efficient) that it also set the standards by which other car carrier manufacturers the world-over started to build their own car transporters.