Jasper-built vehicle headed to Australia
by James Phillips
Aug 13, 2012 | 3828 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The “Raptor,” an all-purpose vehicle build by Jasper businessman Tilmon Farley, at right, will soon be shipped to Australia to be used in coal, salt and diamond mines. Photo by: James Phillips
The “Raptor,” an all-purpose vehicle build by Jasper businessman Tilmon Farley, at right, will soon be shipped to Australia to be used in coal, salt and diamond mines. Photo by: James Phillips
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A vehicle built by a Jasper businessman will soon be traveling deep inside the earth in the mines of Australia.

Tilmon Farley, owner of Farley Tractor Company, has built all-purpose mining vehicles for eight years, but a recent build will be his first international shipment.

“I’ve been building vehicles for local mining companies, but this is shipping to Australia,” Farley said. “A mining company there heard about my designs and saw a video of one of my vehicles online. They asked if I could build something for them.”

Farley said the vehicle will be used in coal, salt and diamond mines.

“They had been using Land Cruisers, but the salt in the mines would cause them to rust, and they would be worthless in about two years,” he said. “What I’ve built is made out of bridge material and has a lifespan of 10 to 15 years.”

Farley’s newest vehicle has been named a “Raptor.” He said the Australian company who commissioned him to build it came up with the name.

“Raptors — Australian dinosaur/birds — are a sign of toughness,” Farley said. “This machine is tough, and it will go anywhere and could be used in any mine in the world.”

The Raptor will be used in Australian mines in a variety of ways, and Farley said it will travel from 2,300 to 3,500 feet beneath the ground.

Jasper Mayor Sonny Posey said he has known about Farley’s work on mining vehicles for several years. He said this new vehicle will bring international money to Jasper.

“This is the first unit, but if it goes like it could, there could be a demand worldwide for this vehicle, and it’s coming right out of Jasper, Alabama,” Posey said.

Farley said the Raptors will sell for $60,000 each, and the Australian company, which is located in Perth on the west coast of the country, has said they expect to need seven per month.

“This could bring in a half million dollars per month,” Farley said.

While the initial Raptor took eight weeks to build, Farley said that is because the machine was built from scratch. He said the future builds will be much faster.

“We’re ready to build as many as we have to build,” he said. “If we have to put in an assembly line here in downtown Jasper, we’ll do it.”

David O’Mary, senior vice president of First Bank of Jasper and a longtime friend of Farley’s, called the construction of the vehicle “amazing.”

“I never cease to be amazed by Tilmon Farley’s creative mind,” O’Mary said. “I wish there were more people like him in our county. He is the epitome of entrepreneurship.”

Farley thanked Posey and O’Mary for their help throughout the years.

“If it hadn’t been for the support that I’ve received from the City of Jasper and from First Bank, I would not have been able to do what I’ve been able to do,” he said.