An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine

The Eisenhauer Freighter – A Unique Twin Engine Truck

The twin-engine truck came into use before World War II as a means of hauling heavy loads when the engines of the day could not get the job done. Only one or two of the heavy-duty diesel engines at the time were more powerful than the standard truck gas engines, but they were expensive and still being developed. The Grico Twin-Motor Truck, a Ford modified to use two flathead V-8 engines was one of the several pre-war trucks of this type. During the war, both the Thornton Axle Company and E & L Transport were also involved in building twin-engine trucks.

Just after the war in 1946, the Eisenhauer Manufacturing Co. built a twin-engine Chevrolet truck that incorporated five axles, with the forward pair of axles along with the fifth unit handling the steering duties. By viewing both the plan and side view drawings (below), the two independent drivetrains the truck used, each including separate driveshafts, and rear drive-axles can be seen.

The Eisenhauer brochure praised the design for providing: two 235-c.i. engines that could be used singly or as a pair when needed,  greater front end payload capacity, multiple axles for a smooth ride, stability and load carrying, one of the final benefits claimed for the design was that jackknifing was not a possibility.

According to historian Alden Jewell who provided the photos: Only one of these revolutionary trucks was built, despite the touched-up pictures showing other bodies. Alden has also found that: Five prototypes were later built for a second generation Eisenhauer Truck, dubbed the X-2 with financial help from Ed Fisher of Fisher Body Co. fame.

You can view the entire Eisenhauer Freighter brochure by following the link and clicking on the right side of the page to see the second and third pages. The Eisenhauer Manufacturing Co. has survived and is in the metal-stamping business today

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  • Side-view of the Eisenhauer twin-engine five axle truck.
  • h5
  • Touched-up photo showing a van body.
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  • Plan-view of the Eisenhauer twin-engine five axle truck.
  • e3
  • Touched-up photo showing a tanker body.

13 responses to “The Eisenhauer Freighter – A Unique Twin Engine Truck

  1. Gday mate. Anyway as a long time retired long haul truck driver or as we were called truckies I still like to keep up with the goings on in the world of moving freight around it always helps the dreaded old age from sneaking up on me if I try to keep my mind as active as l can. When I saw the link to this site it really blew my mind I find myself reading it over and over. Just like a kid listenino to the same song over and over I suppose. Anyway I just felt that I really appreciate the engineering that went into these trucks. Regards John Beckenham

  2. Hi David

    I wonder what the rear drive axle would do steering wise when backing on rough terrain–unless there was means to lock it.

    On a similar note, if you keep clicking on the right margin of the Eisenhower brochure, you will come to a Jeep (CJ2?) with two front axles, one at each end. Apparently worked by a double ended pittman arm, would it be worse handling at highway speed than a stock Jeep? Could it be worse?

    Keep digging–you are doing a great job!


  3. Eisenhauer claimed that jackknifing was “not a possibility.” This is a straight truck, they don’t under any circumstances, only semi’s do.

    I read once that out West, pre-WWII, truckers buying Fords were switching out the V-8’s originally installed for Lincoln Zephyr V-12’s bought new from Lincoln dealers until Lincoln higher-ups put a stop to it – warranty issues probably. The Lincoln engine wasn’t all that good anyway, it wasn’t very robust and overheating in the rear of the engine block was a pervasive problem.

  4. I never seen these trucks but did build my own version of the same setup except for the twin drive shafts . The shifting I think was done almost like 1, 1 1/2, 2 .2 1/2 till you get both in high gear . .to accomplish this they prob had different gear ratios in the two trans for 1 and second . . Cosmic Cruiser is the name of my creation .. just google it

  5. Cool article, but Hall-Scott were building gasoline powered 1080-cid inline sixes that were comonly installed in highway trucks of the era. A variety of other manufacturers –Buda, Waukesha, International to name a few– also offered massive gas-power for post-war trucks and busses.

    It’s my understanding that these larger motors were more common out west, were grades are far greater, as well as in logging, mining, oil-field, heavy-haul and such specialized endeavors.

    Either way, one engine or two, they must’ve sounded like airplanes!

  6. Yes, we are aware of the Hall-Scott units, but they were thirsty and expensive. Many of the dual engine trucks that were built to use high production and inexpensive engines that were also easy to obtain and service or replace quickly.

  7. There was an old boy who hauled logs in the sixties with an extra 353 Detroit diesel mounted behind the cab assisting the driveline by belt drive on tough pulls. lol

  8. This idea has been tried up into the early 1950’s….always was better to use a single engine.., the Hall Scott would have been a good engine, the 1080 would run over a 335 Cummings….the flat head fords weren’t much, as the chevy 6…30,000 miles and they were wore out..

  9. I came across this on Pinterest. I am a truck buff because I sold medium- and heavy-duty trucks fro many years. I still ogle these trucks being built today. This thing is a corker. I had sold a number of dual front steering axle cab-over-engine trucks for airport fuel delivery. They are an engineering accomplishment.

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