King of the Lode

By Rod Sutton, Editor in Chief | September 28, 2010



On a hill outside Virginia, Minn., the world's first two-axle 240-short-ton, diesel electric haul truck overlooks the Mesabi Iron Range. Retired in 1999 with more than 80,000 hours of service, the Liebherr/Wiseda KL-2450-0001 stands at an LTV Mining visitors center, which explains how taconite is mined from the Range and moved by train south to Duluth, where massive freighters take the ore up through Lake Superior and into the Great Lakes shipping lanes.

Manufactured in Cardin, Okla., by Wiseda Ltd. in 1982, this truck--with serial number 0001--hauled 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It carried phosphate in Idaho, coal in Wyoming, and was the first KL-2450 to haul taconite in Minnesota. Eventually, 2,000 of the 240-ton trucks operated in mines around the globe.

Liebherr Mining Equipment acquired Wiseda in 1995 and gave the KL-2450 a new name: Liebherr T 262. The design, however, stayed essentially the same. During its service in Wyoming, SN#0001 was the guest of honor at a "Birthday Party on the Prairie" to celebrate the completion of its first 10,000 hours of operation, complete with a musical parody called "King of the Lode."

"King of the Lode" arrived at LTV in August 1988.

King-Sized Specs
Width 24'3"
Length 43'9"
Height 19'6"
Empty vehicle weight 335,000 lb.
Loaded vehicle weight 815,000 lb.
Maximum speed 36 mph
Radiator capacity 138 gal.
Engine-oil capacity 50 gal.
Hydraulic-oil capacity 350 gal.
Fuel-tank capacity 930 gal.
Tire weight 10,000 lb. each
Tire cost approx. $13,000 each
Engine 2,000-hp Detroit Diesel 16V149

Information supplied by Liebherr. If you're interested in historical machines, consider a membership in the Historical Construction Equipment Association. Visit HCEA's website at