Wednesday, June 27, 2007

From Richard Flint #1

Downie big show band truck003, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Ole Whitey's comments on the early trucks whose cabs were constructed
by their owners shows up well in this Kelty photo of a Downie truck
with a 1927 license plate. If viewers click on the image and then
enlarge it, they'll clearly discover the wooden construction. They
dirty side windows are quite evident but it appears that the front
window is hinged on the middle sides to flip open, probably for the
driver to have a better view!
Dick Flint

Good mornin', Buckles!
Before I go downstairs for my glass of Florida orange juice, I log on
to your blog just like some many others do.

The text with photo #1 you ran this morning of the Downie group I sent
should have the picture of the clown band, not the big show band you
ran. The text mentions the crude cab that is really best seen on that
clown bandwagon which picture does not show on this morning's blog.

Nice group of additional Downie shots you added! I really enjoy the
groups you assemble from the various contributions and your own
collection. I like #4 with the old cross cage pulled by the
well-painted truck.
Dick Flint


Anonymous said...

The construction of a truck chassis, including radiator, hood and cowl, was one specialty. The fabrication of a cab and truck body another [remember the days of "Body by Fisher" and so on], especially if they were integral to one another. If a showman had adequately "gifted" shop people, and many did, he could buy a chassis and construct the remainder more economically than by buying it from a vendor. Given that most circus vehicles are usually "special," it also made more sense for the circus man to construct his own body; no one in the truck body business made them quite the way that a show desired. Think back about early truck shows, from Coop & Lent to Seils-Sterling and the number of unique truck cabs and bodies that can be seen. An exception was an outfit like Sam B. Dill, which had a promotional tie-in with one of the Detroit firms in the 1930s.

The best story along this line was told by the late Luke Anderson. When he made a deal to buy a bunch of trucks from the former Tom Mix Circus, the dealer gave him a big discount because Luke told him that he'd get rid of all that circus apparatus that was making the trucks "unusable" in the condition in which he bought them. A great showman, if ever there was one.

Anonymous said...

I believe these were some of the first cabs that were closed in. I believe most truick cabs were "open air" at the time. I believe that the first "crew cab" 4 door pick-up was built by Joe Zoppe and was still out behind the barn the last time I was there