After a lifetime of trucking hard, Ed Amaral (74) is ready to have some fun with his old rig. Some of you may remember Ed’s son, Eddie Amaral Jr., and his blue Peterbilt cabover, which I featured back in our September 2015 edition. Well, both these guys love trucks, and together they make a dynamic duo. Photographed in Ed’s own blooming almond orchard, his old International Emeryville seen here, which he has owned for decades, like Ed, is ready to relax and enjoy the slower-paced life of retirement and truck shows.
Born and Raised in Newman, CA, “Big Ed” did a little bit of construction work before getting started in trucking. Ed’s first driving job was at Diamond Hay in Turlock, CA. And then, in 1964, he and a partner formed C&A Transport, which stood for Cotta & Amaral. In 1969, Ed went out on his own, hauling hay, in a 1964 Freightliner with a 220 Cummins and a set of sticks, along with some help from a 1955 Ford hay boom (back in the day before the squeeze, when hay was hand-stacked).
Always liking to build his own rigs, Ed’s first new truck was a 1979 Freightliner gilder kit with dual stacks – he used the drivetrain from his older 1964 Freightliner. Later, he upgraded the cab to a 1983 model. The next glider kit was in 1986, and then another one followed in 1987 – both of those gilders were Freightliners, as well.
Purchasing the 1961 Emeryville seen here for just $2,500 from Fairbanks Trucking out of Modesto in 1983, Big Ed was only the truck’s second owner. About a year later, they painted it and tweaked it. Powered by a 350-hp Small Cam Cummins hooked to a 13-speed and 3:90 gears (still in the original rear-end), this cool old rig has a 122-inch wheelbase and sits on LowPro 22.5 rubber. Painted “International Harvester Red” with an old Freightliner paint scheme, the Emeryville was painted in 1984 by a painter that came to Ed’s shop and sprayed it with no paint booth. Today, after decades of service, the truck has 1,084,000 miles on the odometer.
This truck has some nice features on it for an old Emeryville – it has a custom front bumper, a front swing plate, fuel tank strap covers, LED light strips under the fuel tanks, 30-inch Hogebuilt quarter-fenders, a rear light bar and swing plate (that came off the back of a set of hay trailers he used to own), a deck plate, painted hub covers, dual exhaust with chrome elbows, and an old school air cleaner. David Reyes with Kustom Shine and his crew did an awesome job of buffing all the paint and bright metals on this truck, getting it ready for the photo shoot. In fact, they did such a good job, the truck almost looked like it had been repainted!
After purchasing this Emeryville, Ed ran it hard for a year and then used the profits he earned from it to buy six more hay trucks. For many years, Ed ran seven hay trucks to Nevada on a weekly basis, and eventually replaced his boom trucks with two squeezes. 2003 marked the end of Ed’s hay-hauling career. Keeping seven trucks going was no easy task, but Ed sort-of misses those days of rolling Interstate 80. A little later, Ed bought a 2004 Peterbilt and hooked it to a set of side dumps. Hauling for Gallo Wine, he did this until he finally retired in 2009.
In addition to old trucks, “Big Ed” likes old cars, too. He currently has a 1982 Corvette that he bought brand new and a 1932 Five-Window Ford Coupe. The Ford underwent an extensive five-year rebuild that was completed in 1981. Being at the same location since 1972, Ed is not the type of guy who moves around a lot. Currently enjoying his retirement, and farming over 25 acres of almonds, Ed Amaral is planning to do a few more things to his International Emeryville, and then it will be showtime! Look for this old beauty at some of the truck shows in the very near future.