This newly restored 1958 Fruehauf Featherweight 4 compartment tank & "Miss Heather Lee" a 1958 B61 Mack is in the collection of Rymes Propane & Oil, Jim and Heather Rymes
The truck is a 1958 B61, with a 673 engine and 10 speed duplex transmission.
The trailer, a classic Fruehauf "Featherweight" was engineered in the 50s, known for their aerodynamic, streamlined lines. This tanker was originally owned by Rosario Bernier Oil, in Greenville NH to service urban fuel deliveries. They used it for 20 years and then parked it until 2000 when it had a complete frame off restoration. In 2013, Recognizing a familiar site, Jim noticed the trailer on the back of a truck on its way to the local scrap metal dealer. Jim turned around and literally chased the owner into the scrap yard. He bought it on the spot! 10 minutes later it would have been shredded.
They hired L. W. Welding in Uxbridge, Mass, to restore and repair it, including brakes, all skirting, all new toolboxes, the fifth wheel support area, new rear bumper and ladder. They got it to the point of being in primer. Then it was returned to the Rhymes’ Hudson, NH shop and a crew wired it, ran airlines and completed all the remaining work. Jim’s family was his primary crew. His wife, Heather and daughters, Colby, Bailey, and Mackenzie, rooted on by Jim’s brothers, John and Tom. The family was creating a tribute to Jim’s parents, Jim Sr and his wife Carol who had started the family company with a similar Fruehauf Trailer.
Jim Sr. and Carol Rymes started their business with nothing in the 1950s . Their original Fruehauf, acquired from the Waltham, Mass Fruehauf branch, was a double conical 10,500-gallon that ran day and night to pay the bills. It never let him down and was a big investment for the time. He was able to reduce his deliveries to four trips instead of five, using the more efficient Fruehauf. At the end of the year, it really increased the gallons hauled and lowered costs as well.
The final touches were the paint and the signage. The family selected Mack red to match the tractor, using primer not bonds, to smooth things out. Walt from Walts signs, in Jaffrey, NH, hand pinstriped and lettered it. As a side note, he had lettered the tractor for Bernier in the 60's. And the Mack was named after Jim’s beautiful Heather Lee. He used to love seeing all the nicely lettered trucks named after ladies, when he was a kid, riding with his Dad.
A great American story of hard work and perseverance, today, the Rymes brothers, Jim, John and Tom employee 300 dedicated people in their business, which was begun by their dad.
The advancement of transportation accelerated the economic growth of all industries in the industrial booming United States. The Fruehauf Trailer Company contributed to the advancement of American industry.
Ruth Ann Fruehauf and Darlene Norman have dedicated hard work, determination and intuition to bringing this project to life. This is the ongoing investigation and reporting of their efforts.
Click on the names above for biographical information on our authors.
We are Social
An organization dedicated to the preservation of the history of Fruehauf Trailer Company and the Fruehauf family legacy.
The society has created historical books and a traveling exhibit rich with Fruehauf memorabilia and archival materials. Our next book, “Fruehauf, the First Name in Transportation” an in-depth analysis of the company’s history will be published soon.
Copyright © 2013 -18 by
Ruth A. Fruehauf and Darlene Norman.
All rights reserved.
The Fruehauf Trailer
PO Box 5008-164
Mariposa, CA 95338