Speed Wagons and More at Auction

IMG_8423If you happen to be in the northwestern  Canadian prairies on the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, August 16th and 17th, 2014, you might stop by Spruce Grove, Alberta for a couple of auctions of restored, unrestored, project and parts cars – over 750 in total.

One of them is this 1949 REO Speed Wagon. Starting in  1936, REO – named for its founder Ransom Eli Olds – built only trucks. REOs were distinguished by their art deco style, especially prominent in the post war models.

1949 REO Speed Wagon instrument cluster, centrally mounted in the dash.

1949 REO Speed Wagon instrument cluster, centrally mounted in the dash.

This one still bears the name of it’s proud owner on the doors. You can’t see it in these pictures, but traces of the original, elaborate pin-striping still adorn the wooden stake sides.

IMG_8435As well as this eminently restorable classic truck, there’s a 1929 REO Speed Wagon Coca Cola truck, a 1947 International KB-2 Flat Deck, 1949 Dodge 1 ton and many more. Details are on the auction website here.












More pictures can be seen on our Facebook page.

Update: now in the news






Sterling Dump Truck

The original Sterling truck company – no relation to the current Sterling subsidiary of Daimler Trucks – built heavy trucks until 1950. The company was originally founded in 1907 by William Sternberg as the Sternberg Company. Because of anti-German feelings surrounding the Great War, it was renamed Sterling in 1916.  Sterling Motors Corporation of Milwaukee, Wisconsin was bought by White in 1951; the operation then moved to Cleveland (the home of White) in 1952. Sterling-White trucks were built there until 1953 when the name was retired. Sterling HB2002 Dump sn 20002HB646 Built 1950 Right SideWarren Richardson owns this one and told us a bit about it:

This truck was built in 1950 and was sold new to the Vincent Barletta Co., in Roslindale, MA.  Barletta was one of the major contractors in the construction of the Southeast Expressway through Boston in the early ‘50’s.  As I understand it DeMatteo and Boston Sand & Gravel who also ran Sterling’s, were fellow contractors on this major construction job.  Later in its commercial life this truck was operated by Alfred Vosella. In “retirement” it has been owned by Francis Walsh, Ed Andres and Byron Fishel during which time it was in Canada and Pennsylvania among other places.  Today it is owned by Ken Ochenkowski and me and it is housed in southern CT.

Sterling HB2002 Dump sn 20002HB646 Left Side Waukesha 779 cu. in 145GK engine

This one is a Sterling Model HB2002 Dump, S/N 20002HB646. It’s currently powered by a Waukesha 145GK 779 cubic inch 6 cylinder. This engine came from a Roto Wing Manufacturing unit, about 1947 vintage, but it’s similar to the original that the truck was built with.  The 145GK was a large gasoline engine with a 5 1/4″ bore and 6″ stroke using a single large Zenith 63AW14 updraft carburetor.  Parts for these carburetors are available here. The engine was built until the early 60s and was original equipment in a variety of vehicles and machines including American Hoist & Crane, Bay City, Berger, Hahn, P&H, Kenworth and Peterbilt.

Sterling HB2002 Dump sn 20002HB646 Built 1950 Zenith 63AW14 Carburetor


Birth of the Mustang

1964 FMC Styling X-Cars-01Can you describe how you want your car of the future to look?  Probably not?  But given the chance to inspect a variety of “styling X-cars” (X for experimental), you can say pretty clearly what you like or don’t like about each design.  This “pulse-taking’ is one of the purposes served by cars such as the Allegro, Cougar II and Mustang II – three of many experimental designs from the studios of the styling office of Ford Motor Company.  These studies in styling are viewed by millions of persons every year, providing valuable information to stylists, engineers, product planners and other Company executives who must look ahead several years in making decisions for production.  The car in your future from Ford Motor Company, as a result, might well resemble one of the styling X-cars.

1964 FMC Styling X-Cars-02Described as “a car of the future that could be built today,” the Allegro was developed by advanced stylists and engineers as a study in new design features and unique mechanical devices. The exterior is distinguished by a long hood with the grille extending forward of the headlights, a compact passenger compartment and a “fastback” roofline. Inside, the Allegro contains refinements of control features introduced on the original Mustang experimental sports car—and adds some new ones of its own. It incorporates further advances in adjustable brake and accelerator pedals, fixed seats and retractable seat belts. Most prominent of its pioneering features is an entirely new concept in driver comfort—a unique cantilevered-arm steering wheel with a memory unit. Dimensions of the Allegro are such that it could accommodate four passengers by use of rear floor space for minimal searing. The wheelbase is 99 inches; over-all length, 169.5 inches; over-all height, 49.6 inches; over-all width, 63.6 inches.

The steering wheel is mounted on a horizontal arm which pivots on the centrally-mounted steering column. Button controls allow the driver to move the wheel to the most comfortable position.

Buttons on the column arm power-adjust foot pedals forward or backward. This mechanism, which accommodates drivers of various sizes, is related to the fixed seat design, an innovation that contributes to rigidity and allows for a reduction in over-all height.

1964 FMC Styling X-Cars-03A two-passenger GT car, the Cougar II has a fastback roof, concealed “pop-up” headlamps and a businesslike, fully instrumented interior. (GT, or Gran Turismo, is a term usually applied to two-seat coupes designed for ultra-fast highway travel.) Exterior design is simple, yet unique, and intended for total performance. The Cougar II, powered by a 260 cu. in. high-performance V-8 engine, could be engineered to attain speeds in the 170 miles-an-hour range. This styling X-car has a 90-inch wheelbase. Over-all length is 167.8 inches; over-all height is 47.8 inches; over-all width is 66.6 inches; tread width is 50.5 inches in front and 52 inches in the rear. The interior of the Cougar II has an all-black color scheme with two individually adjustable bucket seats, a console-mounted four-speed gear shift lever and a straight-line array of gauges on the instrument panel. The wood and aluminum steering wheel telescopes fore and aft with three inches of adjustment.

By means of a new window-lift mechanism, occupants may raise or lower instantly the curved side glass to any position. A single handle with a spring-loaded tab can be moved up or down a ratcheted track in the door panel. When the tab is released, the window is locked.

The Cougar ll’s pop-up headlamps are operated by small individual electric motors. At the push of a button, cover plates pivot forward and down, and the headlamps swing into place. Raising or lowering the headlamps takes less than three seconds.

When interior air pressure exceeds 15 pounds per square inch, a relief panel across the rear of the passenger compartment opens automatically. This device is necessary because of possible extreme pressure against the backlight (rear window) at high speeds.

1964 FMC Styling X-Cars-04Inspired by the original Mustang experimental sports car, the Mustang II is a sporty, personal vehicle aimed at the growing “fun-to-drive” market. In auto buff lingo, Mustang ll is a two-plus-two, meaning it is designed to accommodate comfortably two front-seat passengers plus two more passengers in a minimal rear seat area. The model is capable of outstanding performance from its front-mounted, 289 cu. in. V-8 engine with a four-Venturi carburetor. The Mustang II is 186.6 inches long on a 108-inch wheelbase. Over-all width is 68.2 inches, over-all height 48.4 inches. The hardtop roof, a refinement of the Thunderbird roof design, is detachable.

The two- plus-two- interior has thin-shell bucket seats front and rear. Individual dial-shaped gauges are deeply recessed in the padded instrument panel.

More Mustang brochures





1918 Tulsa Four Oilfield Runabout Truck

tulsa car 5We found this one in the Tulsa airport. The placard reads:

Very few motor vehicles were ever manufactured in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This fully restored light pickup is believed to be the only remaining Oilfield Runabout in existence.  It was assembled using components from other trucks, with the rear rack designed to carry oilfield drill bits.  Only 4 or 5 vehicles of this type are known to have been made. Jim Leake and his father James found this runabout in ravine on an Okmulgee County farm in the 1970s.  They restored it and sold it to Mac McClumpy for $19,000 in the 1980s for display in McGlumphy’s Tulsa car museum.  The collection wass old at the 2004 Leake Collector Car Auction.  Arvest Bank Tulsa President Don Walker assembled donors who bought the Runabout for $37, 800 and transferred title to the Tulsa Historical Society.The Society thanks the donors for their generosity in preserving and protecting Tulsa’s history and heritage.

The Greater Tulsa Automobile & Truck Show

Florence L.J. “Bisser” Barnett

The Walton Fmily

www.tulsahistory.orgtulsa car 1 tulsa car 3tulsa car 2tulsa car 1

Dodge Trucks in Southern British Columbia

fargosNestled in the south Similkameen Valley, somewhere near Cawston, B.C. we came across a cache of Dodges and their Canadian cousins: Fargo. Export Dodge trucks were sold as Fargo; in Canada, these were very similar to the U.S. models.  Overseas, at various times, the Fargo name adorned some very different vehicles, including some that weren’t Mopars at all (like Turkish Fargo).

IMG_7553Dodge trucks were common in Canada, too, being sold there in addition to Fargos as well as coming across the border in southern B.C. This one is the 1939-47 style – it’s a pre-war model, judging from the design of the center chrome part of the grille, which was wider at the bottom in post-war models.

1941 Dodge Truck Ad-02

1941 Dodge Truck Advertisement

The Dodge Power-Wagon was derived from military 4X4′s produced by Dodge for the U.S. Army, and for export to China during the war. These guys look like earlier examples, possibly late 1940s vintage.


1949 Dodge Power Wagon-01

1949 Dodge Power Wagon Brochure

038Further along in our journey, near Kaslo, B.C., we came across this 1955 (?) Dodge set up with a drilling rig. Back then the Dodge and Fargo trucks came in 1/2 ton to 2-3/4 ton sizes similar styling. We’re lucky enough to have a selection of these in brochure form on the Old Car Manual Project site. Note that the 6-cylinder trucks in this series used the globe emblem on the front of the hood, while the V-8 trucks shouted out with a big V-8 badge.

1955 Dodge 1½ ton Model G-01

1955 Dodge Truck Brochures


1960 Ford Frontenac

1960 Ford Frontenac“Canadians will find in the Frontenac a six passenger automobile offering significant operating economies and increased handling ease without sacrifice of style, passenger comfort or convenience.”
It will be powered by a modern design, short stroke six cylinder engine producing 90 horsepower.
Gas mileage for the Frontenac will be superior to any conventional North American-type passenger cars now being produced. Latest company continent-wide road tests of pilot models have revealed an average gas mileage of 32 miles per Imperial gallon. These tests represent a combination of city and highway driving in which the driving habits of the average driver has been simulated as closely as possible. At constant highway speeds the tests showed a better than 32 miles per gallon average, while constant stop and start city driving resulted in a slightly lower average.
The Frontenac is equipped with 13-inch wheels, a 12-volt electrical system, parallel operating windshield wipers which eliminate “blind spots” in the centre of the windshield, a luggage compartment with 24.5 cubic feet of space (20 per cent more than the average for the most popular imported cars), a deep-dish safety steering wheel, standard-car size instruments and controls and seat covering resistant to scuffing, tearing, staining and dirt penetration.

(From the Alberta Automotive Retailing News, November, 1959)

1960 Frontenac-01

1960 Ford Frontenac Brochure

Slick Row

slick row

Deep in the heart of British Columbia’s remote North Thompson River Valley, just off the vast Yellowhead highway lies Slick Row, one man’s trucking passion and last refuge of some classic Ford iron.

There’s a note taped inside the window of one of the trucks out front along with a notebook for visitor’s comments:

Welcome to Slick Row.

My collection of these trucks started 30 years ago when I traded the second truck on the left (1961 F100 Short Box Unibody) from my Younger Brother Miles who passed away in 2010.

Everyone and their dog has a Chevy so I decided to start collecting these slick 60′s Fords and Mercury’s…

Have a great day and please enjoy my collection as much as I enjoy sharing it with you.


Marvin, the curator of this collection, lives on site and is building his dream there – a restoration shop where some of his charges will be returned to their former glory for future generations to enjoy. The day we stopped by, he was pouring the concrete foundation of this Field of Dreams.

Here are a few of the residents of Slick Row:

1961 Ford F100 Styleside shortbox

1961 Ford F100 Styleside shortbox

The 1961 Ford Styleside is a rare example of Ford’s brief experiment with a truck-ute hybrid. The cab panels are integral with the boxsides,so there’s is no gap in front of the bed.

Unfortunately, body flex when loaded was an issue and the design was dropped in mid-62.1961 Ford Truck Ad-01

Ironically, this ad touts the greater strength of the one-piece cab-and-body design.

The four-wheel drive versions mentioned in the ad did not use the one-piece design – they went with a conventional, separate box layout. This was because of the additional twisting stresses that might happen in off-road use.

More ’61 Ford truck ads, including the Falcon Ranchero and Econoline Pickup are here.

59 Ford F350


Besides the pickups lined up out front, there is a variety of other cool Dearborn iron around, including this 1959 Ford F350 flat deck.

“Go FORD-WARD” was the slogan for 1959 Ford trucks, said to give 25.2% better gas mileage than the other guys.

Apart from all the cool trucks, there are some great restoration candidates of the car variety, like this 1962 Ford Falcon wagon.

1962 Ford Falcon Two-Door Wagon

1962 Ford Falcon Two-Door Wagon

For more pictures from Slick Row, visit us on Facebook.


Lambrecht Chevy Auction


By now, most old car guys have heard about The Ultimate Barn Find in Pierce, Nebraska. Up for sale on September 28th and 29th, 2013 is a collection of 500 collector cars, including a number that have never been sold – brand new, essentially, but for a few decades’ storage – with as little as 1 mile on the odometer. At the Old Car Manual Project, we’re into tech information, especially stuff that isn’t widely available on the internet, so we thought that rather than repeat the news stories widely available on this topic we would highlight some of the information that might be useful if you were fortunate enough to be bidding on one of these rare gems coming out of this Nebraska time machine. (The entire auction inventory is here.)

cameo-2001958 Chevrolet Cameo Pickup VIN 3A58K118014, 1 mile on the odometer (!)
This was the last year for the Cameo of which 1405 units were produced before being dropped mid year in favor of the Fleetside pickup. The VIN on this one decodes as 3A = 3100 series, 58 = 1958, K = Kansas City, MO, sequential production number 118014. Full specifications and number decoding is here. If anyone has original brochures or advertisements for the Cameo or other ’58 Chevy trucks, we would love to add them to our collection. Drop me a line if you can contribute.

1978 Chevrolet Corvette-01

1978 Corvette Brochure

1978 Chevrolet Indy Pace Car Corvette, 4 miles

The RPO code Z78 “Indy Package” added special high back seats, front and rear spoilers, P255 60R15 Goodyears, glass T-tops, leather or leather/cloth upholstery and decals (which could be deleted) for $13,653.  At more than $4000 over the base Corvette price, the car attracted 6501 buyers compared to the regular car’s 40271.

1978 Corvette Ad-01--thumb

1978 Corvette Ads






1965 Chevrolet-01

1965 Chevrolet Brochures

1965 Chevrolet Impala 2dr HT This was the first year for the 396 cubic inch Mark IV big block, which featured the new Rochester Quadrajet carburetor -  # 7025200 with the new-to-Chevy Turbo-Hydramatic 400.

We’ve got illustrations from the 1958-1968 Chevrolet Parts Catalog, 1957-65 Chevy wiring diagrams as well as tune-up specs for 1963-68 cars.

1965 Chevrolet Ad-02--thumb

1965 Chevrolet Ads







1929 Durant Ad-01

1929 Durant Ad

1928 Durant Sedan This one isn’t new old stock – it’s used and in rough shape, but it is rare to find one of William Crapo Durant’s progeny from his post-General Motors years for sale in any condition. Durant Motors produced the Star, Eagle, Flint, Princeton, Rugby, Durant and Locomobile from 1921-1932. Production was suspended in 1927 and resumed in 1928 until the company finally succumbed to the Depression in early 1932. A total of 20, 261 Durants were built in 1928. We’ve got the Repair Parts List for the 6 cylinder Durant from early 1930 as well as some magazine ads. As always,we welcome new contributions.


1928 Durant today


And there are nearly 500 more in this remarkable collection

History Road at the Reynolds Alberta Museum

If you’re ever in north central Alberta, you don’t want to miss the Reynolds Alberta Museum. It’s a massive collection devoted to all kinds of moving machines, especially cars, trucks and aircraft.  June 8th and 9th this year was the History Road show, which had cars lined up by the year starting at 1903 and heading up into the 80′s. Vehicles were on hand from the museum’s vast collection as well as many enthusiast entries from all over western Canada – around 600 in total.

This was a great chance to see some of the lesser-know makes and models. While there was plenty of Detroit muscle around, some of the highlights were historical gems like the stalwart General Motors Truck, the luxuriant Locomobile, the Harley Earl finned masterpiece ’48 Cadillac and many more that helped make the 20th century American car geist.

1936 GMC 3/4 Ton

For working machines, patches, repairs and parts change-outs make the notion of “original” a tricky concept.  Suffice to say, this 1936 General Motors Truck (we call ‘em GMC now) isn’t the same as the day it rolled off the line in the year the Hoover Dam was completed, though it wouldn’t have been too far out of place.

1913 Locomoblie

Next to the $550 Ford, the 1913 Model 38 Locomobile at $4300 was very expensive indeed. Even so, this was the smallest, cheapest Locomobile that year. It featured a 477 cubic inch six of 43.8 horsepower, electric horn and electric lights. The particular car shown is thought to be the first car in Alberta equipped with these electric features. It’s been restored, but the leather upholstery is original.

1948 Cadillac

Harley Earl, head of the GM Design Studio, ruminated on the tailfins of the P-38 fighter until new designs could be produced after the war. His vision was borne out in the 1948 Cadillac, the first of a dozen-odd years of finned wonders.

We’ve got a bunch more pictures from this show here. Besides the static displays there were various moving vehicles to see. One of my favorite displays were these old-timers – a couple of Model T’s and a Massey-Harris:

More information:

Locomobile Vintage Print Ads

1948 Cadillac Brochure




The Blues Brothers’ Bluesmobile

The Bluesmobile

BDR 529. That’s the license plate of the Blues Brother’s (nearly) indestructible 1974 Dodge Monaco, the Bluesmobile, which starred in the 1980 Blues Brothers film. As Elwood said to Jake:

It’s got a cop motor, a 440-cubic-inch plant. It’s got cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks. It’s a model made before catalytic converters so it’ll run good on regular gas.

We spotted the real thing recently in Revelstoke, British Columbia. Well, maybe it wasn’t the actual car from the movie, but it was a real cop car with all the right stuff including the police ‘Pursuit Vehicle’ badge.

1974 Dodge Monaco police car

Pursuit Vehicle badge

More than just a replica, this car looked like it might have chased down a few perps in it’s day, judging from the original equipment inside, including the SCMODS (State County Municipal Offender Data System) display:

interior of bluesmobile 070

Note also the 140 mph speedometer. More info on 74 Monaco cop cars is here.

140 mph speedo in bluesmobile

Best of all, the Blues Brothers were there for the car show.  Well, almost… they were a really cool tribute act by the name of Blues Brothers Too. Check them out live at the car show: