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Holmes 1801 facts needed


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An unknown member created this topic in February of 2004:


As usual, I'll be the dumb one here. But, with all these posts and comments on the 1801, I have a lot of questions. Knowing I'm in the right place to find the answers.

1. How many were produced?
2. What years of production?
3. Hydraulic or PTO winches?
4. Actual load ratings?
5. Anybody have detailed pics?
6. Are they the forerunner of the conventional hydraulic unit
we see today?
7. Are there any units built today, by other manufacturers ,
that are of the same design? If not, why not? Patent

A lot of questions, I know, but these things seem to me to be the mystery units. Alright, all Holmes experts please reply.

Thanking you in advance for your replies.



LetsPlay2 said:

Steve Cardinale from the California Tow Truck Assn. owned one of them that were produced. He loved them without any hesitation.

1. How many were produced? There were 2 different types built. The original 1801 had only 12 units built and then they converted over to the Victor 1800 series. The only difference between the 2 units was the Holmes 1801 was hydraulicly driven but cable raised booms. The Victor 1800 series had everything the same but had hydraulic rams to raise and lower the boom.

2. What years of production? 1982

3. Hydraulic or PTO winches? Hydraulic

4. Actual load ratings? 45 tons retracted 15 tons extended

5. Anybody have detailed pics? I have in hand but Jerry can post them.

6. Are they the forerunner of the conventional hydraulic unit
we see today? No Century is the forerunner to the conventional hydraulic units you see today.

7. Are there any units built today, by other manufacturers, that are of the same design?
If not, why not? Patent infringement?
None of these units are in production today. They are too heavy and very strong units.
If you think the Holmes 750 would pull you should see the original 1801 pull.

I have in my hand a bill from Chattanooga, TN of an receipt for a Holmes 1801 (original) and the cost of it in 1982 was $60,584.00


Randall L Dawson said:

We field tested one of the first units [ # 1 ], and to add to what Devin said, the boom mounted at the bottom of the mast like the 1200 commanders instead of midway up like the 1701. Also,as had been stated, it was a TRUE 45 ton rating not worm gear, bare drum rated. Randall L Dawson, Randy's Nationwide Towing I.C.C.M.C.# 142179.


Unknown Member Replied:

I appreciate all of the replies, very informative. But, I have got to stretch your patience a little further. No doubt that any Holmes unit was a well built unit, irregardless of size, but I get the impression that the 1801 was(is) in a league of its own. Is that a fair statement? Or, are there present production units that can measure up to it or exceed it in say, winching capacity or boom capacity? After looking at the pic on Wes Wilburn's Ebay site, I'm still asking myself what the 1801 has that other units don't. Not inviting a fight, just trying to get the full picture. One point is the price tag, which I would assume, was quite hefty for a wrecker unit in the '80's. And, as they say, you get what you pay for.
Devin, I assume, when you say too heavy, you are referring to the GVW at the scales?
Randall, what happened to the unit that you tested?
Once again, I appreciate each one's patience and time in supplying information.
Keep those cards and letters coming!!!



geno54 said:

Hi John. I pulled a 1801 spec sheet out of the file. It's the same as Wes is selling. It states under the specifications on the back page; Weight, Wrecker with Body, Incl Fluids......Approx. 17,250 Lbs. Weight, Wrecker w/o Body..........Approx. 14050 Lbs. You would have to read the whole sheet to get all the facts because Holmes compares this to an 850 except the 1801 is hydraulic. Also it still uses the main mast for side pulls w/full capacity. If you were at a Tow Show in the early 80's and a 1801 was present along with a Century 40 ton along with their Owner/Operators and the Dealers that sold them, then you would have the whole story.



Another unknown member said:

John, we recently bought a true 1801 (the third one ever made) and have been doing a lot of homework on it. The 1801 was actually introduced in 1980 and built until 1982. The one we bought was purchased by the city of New Orleans and was used for their street department. The biggest reason that the 1801 never really caught on was simply the cost. For the price of 60,000 dollars in 1980, most people bought two or three 750's instead of a single 850 or 1801. Holmes heavy duty devision hit rough times in the 80's mostly due to the economy. If you recall, interest rates went all the way to around 25% and people couldn't afford to borrow money. As a result, the 1801 was discontinued. As far as newer units comparing to the 1801, or even the 1701 there are a few that are coming close....the old holmes wreckers had an upright mast which enabled you to do side pulls, and century recently came out with the pivoting hydraulic stiff leg for their 9055 model that would enable you to do the same thing with newer equipment. The model of this stiff leg is oddly enough called the SP-850. As far as the winches, i dont think that the new ones can compare with the old holmes winches. We have been operating holmes wreckers for a long time and have been in some very hard pulls....the holmes winches have never stalled once. Compared to the new hydraulic winches, I have personally seen the winches on a new 50 ton challenger body stall pulling a loaded combination up an embankment. After we rigged our 850 the very same way, the truck came right up the bank. I dont know what it is, but those old winches just don't stop pulling......ever. You simply can't beat them.


LetsPlay2 said:

Yes it is very heavy for the scales.

I do have a original receipt from 1982 for the purchase price of $60,584.00

Yes this truck was in a class of it's own. No there is not a production unit that would be able to match with the 1801 at all.



Another unknown member said:

Another key point of the 1801 is the size of the sheave wheels that the end of the boom. They were huge compared to todays offerings.Like everything made by Holmes these were designed (perhaps over)to do recovery work day in and day out for their lifespan.They were VERY heavy units designed to do the hardest jobs without compromise.I'd love to have one. They were produced in an era where everybody was starting to "pinch"up on enforcing the bride formulas,this along with advancements in technology,price and a recession in the towing business helped in their demise.Like the 850 if you hooked onto something,it or part of it was coming home.A remarkable machine. T.C.


hawktow said:

Where's all the photo's, my old boss in st. louis had a 1701, nice unit but had problems with weld on bottom plate towards end of boom!!


Scooby said:

craig, you forgot to add, it winches slow, so at whatever you bill a hour...ya make more $$$$



Michael212 tubegreen.gif said:
Little Boomer, I thought the boys up at Mission Towing had the first Holmes 1801 on a GMC General.
Though, I believe they sold it a few years ago to the fellas at D&M in Ellensburg, WA.?emoticonhuh.gif
Michael Myers
Scooby said:
Hey Devin, just curious, I take it since you have a original purchase receipt for a 1801,
I take it that you bought it.

Now for the interesting question.

Since you are in Hawaii, how much did you get wacked to get it over there.

And what ever happened to it, since you do live on a island...lol

LetsPlay2 said:
Howie I wish I did purchase it but my good friend, Steve Cardinale, did when he owned Atlas Towing...
Steve Cardinale has since sold the business
But has the original paperwork from the truck and pics of some jobs that he did with the truck.

Unknown Member said:
here is some pics of our 1801
kyresqtow said:
Man I love this truck 655.gif

Leroy Hedrick tubegreen.gif said:
ok folks time to educate me ,how do i find out what year my 1801 is the tag is in excellent shape so reading it no problem, just want to know, next where might i find the shaft,gears,bearings,and handle for the manual rewind on the wire rope? please help thank you leroy II
In Memory of KyTowBoss who said:
leroy, first letter month of build . 2nd 2 nos year . next will be 1801 designation letters EY . next is serial no.
Leroy Hedrick tubegreen.gif said:
thanks ken, as soon as i figure how many snatch blocks and what size ,and how many chains and what size ,i'll try to get you some pics of the stiff legs, but what i ve found they are just mounted in the tailboard i hope they hold. ive already folded the ones on my 750.just finished putting most of my tools in it today what a job that has been leroy II
kyresqtow said:
Leroy we have a set of big spades we are getting ready to mount on our 1801.... tied to the frame and body...

Chains... I recommend 4-6 good grade 8 (80) 5/8 chains. 4-6 1/2" grade 8-80 double hook works best... maybe couple 3/8 for tieing up axles.. 4-6 snatch blocks ( can never have enough)... and some good crib blocks and wide rollover belts. that is a partial list of what is on ours
towcats tubeyellow.gif said:
 I've been meaning to post this for awhile.........I was lucky enough ( in 1980) to fly from Alberta, Canada to Chattenooga to see Holmes introduce the 1701 / 1801 Victor Series wreckers. I was a snot-nosed 20 year old boy at that time (Yikes!!) I went just to see the new offerings. I took a BUNCH of pictures. There were two heavies there. The General was my fave. They did a dead lift on a new mixer. I was in love to say the least. I was so impressed with the  Holmes staff on hand. They had embroiderd shirts with the EH Holmes logo on them. I was in heaven. I plan to post up the pictures soon.  Larry.  P.S.   Sorry to "jack" this thread, but it seemed to fit.happy.gif
The last post was from March of 2012, this topic spanned 8 years. Now it continues...
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Guest Gronkey

The first truck in the pictures that says bc largest wreck and has the gorrilla on the sleeper now resides in alberta. The company i work for Heavy rescue towing and recovery out of Carstairs Alberta bought it a few years ago and i put alot of time and effort into fixing it up. I ran it for 1 winter then was the big colapse in the oil industry and work slowed down so it has been parked ever since and is for sale. I loved running that truck and relly dont want to see it go.

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