Half a Century of Canter

half a century of Canter

This year sees the Fuso Canter (formerly Mitsubishi Canter, and formerly Dodge Canter) notch up 50 years on the Australian truck market and the Fuso brand is celebrating the longevity of the model and its place in the Australian psyche and looks back at half a century of Canter.

The first ever shipment of Canters in Australia drove off the wharf and straight to work in 1971. Since then more than 72,700 Canters have been sold here. Now Fuso is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the ubiquitous Canter, the only truck with a household name in Australia. 

half a century of Canter

Back in 1971, the first Canter actually wore a Dodge badge due to the tie up with Chrysler, which saw many Mitsubishi products sold as Chrysler and Dodge products. It had a rating of 3.5-tonnes, 95hp engine and a price of $3287.

half a century of Canter

The first Canter appears basic, even though the ads boasted of ‘extra’ features such as “flow-through ventilation” and “safety glass all-round.”

half a century of Canter

One owner decided to use a single axle Canter to tow an enormous boat all the way from Perth to Sydney.

half a century of Canter

In 1978, three ‘Japanese Sumos’ climbed into a Canter truck, before one declared that it was “Not so squeezy!” The effect of the ad, which aired across the country, was immediate and the Canter name, as well as the term “Not so squeezy,” would soon be etched in the minds of everyday Australians.

Interestingly, the so-called Sumos were not even Japanese. The ad agency sourced some big Kiwis to fulfil the roles, with the help of some make-up and questionable Japanese-English accents.

half a century of Canter

Canter launched in 1971 with a petrol engine only, but was joined by a diesel four years later and it soon became the preferred engine. In Australia, the petrol unit was dropped in 1991, but the Canter is still available in the United States with a petrol engine, a 6.0-litre GM V8.

half a century of Canter

This year, Fuso started a new chapter in the Canter story by introducing the first OEM fully-electric truck in Australia; the eCanter. 

From the perspective of the truck’s arrival in Australia back in 1971, the current Canter’s radar-based Advanced Emergency Braking System, dual airbags, Lane Departure Warning System, common rail turbo diesel engine, dual-clutch auto and many other features would have seemed like the stuff of a science fiction movie.

half a century of Canter

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