This tractor-trailer model represents a Consolidated Freightways vehicle. Leland James, owner and operator of an inter-city bus company in Portland, Oregon, founded Consolidated Truck Lines there on April 1, 1929. Ten years later, James changed the company’s name to Consolidated Freightways and directed his staff to find ways to build shorter trucks through the use of a cab-over-engine design. Engineers also helped make the vehicles lighter by using aluminum alloys.
Consolidated Freightways carried mail between U.S. cities by contract. Such contractors are the lowest bidders on selected routes who use their own vehicles. The Post Office Department first used contractors to carry mail in 1845. The new routes became known as Star Routes because postal clerks grew tired of writing the routes’ designation, “Celerity, Certainty, and Security”, over and over again in contract books. So they began using * * * instead. Star Routes were renamed Highway Contract Routes in 1970 but are still known by their original name today. Over 17,000 Highway Contract Routes are currently in existence in the U.S.
Consolidated Freightways added air freight capabilities in 1966 and acquired Emery Air Freight Corporation in 1989. Consolidated Freightways Corporation filed for bankruptcy in 2002, reorganized, and reemerged in 2006 as Con-way Incorporated.