No. 149: Bonded, Not Bondo'd

They just never stop working. A truck built nearly seven decades ago may have started life carrying produce to the market, cinder blocks to the job, hay to the cattle. But time slows even the best machines. And so this 1951 Chevy 3100 Thriftmaster has taken on an easier life: as a billboard to aContinue reading “No. 149: Bonded, Not Bondo'd”

No. 148: Ho-Ho Hauler

A few years ago I volunteered my truck to pick up discarded Christmas trees and take them to a chipper. It was a Cub Scout fund-raiser. I was the Cubmaster. I had to lead by example. And so, on a chilled Saturday morning just after New Year’s Day, I jumped in my truck’s cold cab.Continue reading “No. 148: Ho-Ho Hauler”

No. 147: Hauler Of All

Someone got it this far. Then, nature did what it always does: Its green tendrils reached out. With leaf and limb, it drew the machine close. Peeking from all this foliage is a first-edition Dodge D100 pickup. The D100 marked a styling departure from the mid-‘50s Job Rated machines – wider, not as tall, aContinue reading “No. 147: Hauler Of All”

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. 136: Something New!

It was time. As the end of the decade neared, Chevrolet’s tough-ass line of pickups, the 3100, had grown old. In 1959, Chevy introduced the C and K series of trucks. Owners reported it rode as much like a car as a truck. “C” meant light-duty, rear-wheel drive. The “K” designation meant four-wheel drive. IfContinue reading “No. 136: Something New!”

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. 132: Go, Devil?

This quarter-ton hauler was built in Toledo, Ohio. The earliest it could have left the Jeep assembly line at the Kaiser Willys plant would have been 1946, when American manufacturers hustled to make vehicles for the civilian market. That year, Willys produced a Jeep that was a lot like the model that became famous inContinue reading “No. 132: Go, Devil?”

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”