Con-way Freight donates first tractor to Iowa 80 Trucking Museum

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Con-way Freight announced it donated “Ole Number One,” a 1983 Ford CL 9000 cabover tractor, to the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum in Walcott at a commemorative ceremony held there Tuesday, April 12. “Ole Number One” was the company’s first tractor to go into service in the Midwest under the Con-way name.

The Con-way regional carriers were startups, with Con-way Central Express opening for business in June 1983. “Ole Number One” was the first in the original fleet of 50 trucks and 150 trailers that began service in the company’s initial network of 11 service centers in nine Midwestern states.

David Miller – who started with Con-way Central Express as an operations supervisor in Cincinnati in 1983, rising through the ranks to become president of the former CCX and chief operating officer of Con-way Freight before retiring last year – attended the ceremony along with Dick Heyob, an original driver sales representative who, like Miller, also started with the company in Cincinnati in 1983. Heyob was among the first drivers to pilot “Ole Number One” when the company opened its doors. Heyob still drives today for Con-way Freight out of its Cincinnati service center.

The tractor was retired in 1992 with more than a half-million miles in service. It then was fully restored to showroom-new condition by a team of Con-way Freight mechanics based in Toledo, Ohio. In 1993, “Ole Number One” went on display in the main lobby of the company’s previous general office in Ann Arbor, Mich., until Con-way Freight’s headquarters were relocated in 2009.

“We discovered that no other place in the United States was doing the remarkable work of the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum to keep so many great reminders of our industry’s past alive,” Miller says. “We are very proud to add ‘Ole Number One’ to their collection.”

“We are honored that Con-way Freight selected the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum as the new home for this historic truck,” says Dave Meier, curator of the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum. “We look forward to preserving ‘Ole Number One’ and its story, not only for Con-way employees and their families, but for the greater trucking industry as well.”