No. 153: Pump Like An Egyptian

Pause for a moment, fellow traveler, to give a hat-tip to Ctesibius. Or should that be a nemes* tip? Ctesibius was an inventor in Egypt during the second century BCE. (That was the Ptolemaic Dynasty, of course.) He’s credited with creating the first force pump, a machine to move water. Without Ctesibius, our nation’s fireContinue reading “No. 153: Pump Like An Egyptian”

No. 152: Oozin’ and Cruisin’ in My 88

Perhaps you can hear the song through the dusty old windows: “You women have heard of jalopies/You heard the noise they make/Let me introduce you to my Rocket ’88… Oldsmobile introduced the Rocket 88 in 1949. It fit neatly between two brands already on the roadways, the Olds 78 and 98. The Rocket also introducedContinue reading “No. 152: Oozin’ and Cruisin’ in My 88”

No. 145: Dodge Goes to War

It’s well known that America was hardly ready for a global conflict when one crash-landed on its lap on Dec. 7, 1941. Our nation had to gear up, and fast, for a war that would spread across oceans and continents. That included building trucks. Dodge responded with the WC, a series of half- and three-quarter-tonContinue reading “No. 145: Dodge Goes to War”

No. 144: The Loadmaster

It was running when I parked it, No. 144: The Loadmaster. This old hoss carried melons from the farms of south Georgia to the freight yards of Atlanta. It trundled bundles of bright leaf to warehouses in Greenville and Rocky Mount. It carried pumpkins from central Michigan to trucking terminals in Kalamazoo. It took hardhattedContinue reading “No. 144: The Loadmaster”

No. 139: Plying the Roads No More

We’d settled into post-war prosperity. American factories churned out the greatest product in the world, steel, and that material rendered up an astonishing array of wide cruisers. Some, like Cadillac and Lincoln, steered toward folks with money. Chevrolet and Ford were cars for those who one day would move up to a Caddy or Lincoln.Continue reading “No. 139: Plying the Roads No More”

No. 135: A Little Paint and a Lot of Prayer

It’s easy to overuse “iconic” when discussing American steel, but if it fits, use it. And the word certainly fits here. Ford Motor Co. held on to prewar car and truck designs in its hurry to answer pent-up public demand for any kind of transportation following World War II. But even as plants in DearbornContinue reading “No. 135: A Little Paint and a Lot of Prayer”

No. 129: Angling for a New Life

The Model T was a hit in Great Britain. The public snatched up the cars just as avidly as their cousins across the pond. But when the Model A debuted, in 1928, Brits didn’t get as excited. That led, ultimately, to Ford Motor Company’s decision to create a new line of cars for the BritishContinue reading “No. 129: Angling for a New Life”

No. 124: Along the Mother Road

Steinbeck called it ”the road of flight.” Desperate people, “refugees from dust and shrinking land,” found the highway and headed west. Folks still do. After negotiating a herd or burros, travelers may come across a 1952 3/4-ton Chevrolet pickup*, its metal dulled by the sun and the dust, by the relentless tramp of time alongContinue reading “No. 124: Along the Mother Road”

No. 123: The Surprise Around the Next Curve

A 1954 Chevrolet half-ton, a proud representative of the 3100 series of trucks,* thrusts an inquisitive nose into the fall air on a Georgia highway just beyond Atlanta’s outer ‘burbs. Harbins, 33 miles northeast of Atlanta. (Photo by Junkyard Correspondent Intern Sam Davis) *The Greatest Pickup Of All Time