Since 1977 the best-selling vehicle in the United States without interruption has not been a car at all but the Ford F-Series pickup truck. The love of light trucks in America is well-documented and the Gilmore Museum opened a special exhibition in May 2017 entitled "Designed For Delivery" featuring early American trucks. The exhibit was scheduled to run until March 2018 and had 20 different vehicles on loan.
|1907 Cadillac Light Delivery|
In 1904 Cadillac began to manufacture small delivery vans based on their Model B passenger car chassis but soon after their Model M was available exclusively in truck format. This "C-cab" vehicle offered 45 cubic feet of cargo space and was rated at between 600 and 900 pounds. Typical of the time, there was no windshield and lights were not offered as standard equipment until 1910.
|1914 International Highwheeler (left) and 1919 Dodge Brothers Truxton Conversion "G" Wrecker (right)|
|1914 International Highwheeler Model MW|
A major manufacturer of farm implements, the International Harvester Company (IHC) began production of light trucks in 1907 and continued to build trucks until 1975. Its early models were utilitarian, with high ground clearance in recognition of the poor roads of the era. Originally powered by air-cooled 15 hp 2 cylinder engines, later versions of the Motor Truck offered a more powerful 20 hp water-cooled engine (with the "W" in the "MW" designation indicating water-cooling). With the improvement in roads, conventional trucks replaced the highwheelers by 1915.
|1919 Dodge Brothers Wrecker (left) and 1919 Duplex (right)|
The Duplex Truck Company of Lansing, Michigan, produced trucks from 1916 until 1955, and this four wheel drive truck with solid rubber tires is typical of the kind of vehicle required by the US Army for its logistics in World War I. Similar trucks were made by Nash and Liberty. Pierce-Arrow and Packard actually built more trucks than cars during the war. Duplex, originally based in Charlotte, Michigan, just southwest of Lansing, was noted for its pioneering four wheel drive trucks. While the company's records are in the Michigan State University archives, very little has been written about the company.
|1926 Ford Model T Delivery Truck|
|1927 Ford Model TT Delivery Truck|
|1924 GMC KC116G 1 Ton Truck|
|1919 Dodge Brother Screen Side Business Car|
|1935 Dodge KCL Panel Truck|
|1936 Mack Jr 1/2 Ton Pickup Truck|
|1947 Hudson Coupe Express 3/4 Ton Pickup Truck|
|1937 Studebaker Coupe Express|
|1959 Chevrolet El Camino|
|1963 Chevrolet Corvair 95 Rampside Pickup|
Included in the revolutionary line of Corvair cars from General Motors, this light truck used the same air-cooled rear engine layout as the passenger cars albeit with a shorter wheelbase. As the name implies, the Rampside offered an unusual point of access on the side of the vehicle to facilitate loading. The practicality of the truck must have been limited by the box floor, which was not flat in order to accommodate the drivetrain but that ramp was brilliant. In any event, GM's attempt to beat Volkswagen--even by offering the Corvair as a sedan, coupe, convertible, station wagon, two pickups and a van--did not succeed. Introduced in 1960, the last Corvairs rolled off the line in 1969, although the Rampside was already gone by 1965.
|1928 Ford Model AA Fire Truck|
The Boyer Fire Apparatus Company in Indiana built its fire truck units on common truck chassis for reliability and this example used Ford Model AA underpinnings. This fire truck served in Indiana for many years before coming into the hands of collectors, and the current owner had it restored in Nevada to its red and gold glory.
Continue to Part 6 of the Gilmore Auto Museum visit here.