I love old trucks, so imagine my excitement in finding this yard full of gems. We were just strolling around Airdrie on a horribly dreary and depressing afternoon in the depths of winter and by chance came across this collection. It made the day so much more interesting.
Some of the trucks seen are real treasures.
An example of that is the REO tractor parked near the back fence. This brand was never a terribly common sight in Canada and it’s a real treat to see one of them. REO stood for Ransom E Olds, the name of the company’s founder who was also the fellow behind the Oldsmobile car company (the two brands were otherwise not connected however).
REO merged with rival company Diamond T, then both subsidiaries of White Motors, becoming Diamond REO in 1967. Struggling on for a few more years they produced their last truck in 1975. The model here looks to be an early to mid 1960s E series and may even be powered by REO’s own Gold Comet gas engine. REO was somewhat unique in that they made some of the engines that powered their trucks. Most truck makers instead outsourced supply from commercial engine builders.
Also seen is a Maple Leaf. Produced in the 1930s and 40s, essentially it’s a renamed GMC. These were very simple and rugged and were quite popular as a farm truck. In addition to this one, I have seen a few others and while doing newspaper research (for genealogy projects) I have often come across ads that show these trucks. I am not sure when they stopped making them, perhaps the 1950s?
Then there is the British Bedford, this example being a medium duty 4×4 cab over. Like others in this yard, these are not often seen in this part of the world. I am told it may have been a former army truck – not sure if UK army brought over here (from the Suffield training base perhaps?), or if it’s from the Canadian Forces. I don’t know if they ever used Bedfords.
And lastly there is the real gem of the yard, a Dodge Bighorn. One of only 261 made in the mid 1970s its a a real rare and collectible rig and quite striking in its faded orange livery. Odd looking with it’s small pickup-truck cab and massive front radiator, it sure is an imposing vehicle and looks like nothing else out there. Of the number made, only a small portion of them ever made it to Canada. I do recall, in the 1980s, seeing one working in the Lethbridge Alberta area. There was no forgetting it, it was a Dodge Bighorn for sure. You could never confuse it with any other truck.
Also of course are the numerous old pickups seen, some from International and GMC or Chevrolet, most of them likely old farm trucks from the region. Also seen are two Mercury pickups. This make of truck was only sold in Canada and was produced from the years 1946-68. They were simply a re-badged Ford and outside from minor trim differences, there were pretty much the same.
A few more modern trucks populate the yard, but even they are interesting. For example there is an Autocar. Known for their heavy duty construction trucks, this company now mostly makes chassis for garbage haulers. Autocar is the oldest nameplate in the US still producing vehicles and they date from 1899. This brand isn’t often seen in Canada either. Also seen is a Ford medium duty from the 1980s or early 90s.
To see some other trucks we’ve found, click any of these links…
Vintage vehicles found on a wonderful long weekend.
More old trucks of the Crowsnest Pass.
Unrestored trucks Pioneer Acres Museum Irricana.
If you wish more information, by all means contact us!
Date: January 2012.
Location: Airdrie AB.