Aug 212012
 
Dodge Bighorn

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).

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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.

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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.

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Maple Leaf truck

A Maple Leaf truck, a re-badged GMC.

Bedford 4x4 truck

Some old International pickups and a British Bedford.

Dodge Bighorn Mercury pickup

A Mercury pickup in the middle and facing away, a rare Dodge Bighorn.

Mercury pickup

A Canada only Mercury pickup.

Autocar truck

Some of the more modern stuff, including an Autocar in the middle.

GMC farm truck

An old GMC or Chevrolet farm truck.

REO truck

An R-E-O (or Reo), not sure the best way to say it. This is an E Series tractor.

REO E Series

REO – Named after Ransom E Olds of Oldsmobile fame.

Dodge Bighorn

That very rare Dodge Bighorn, an impressive truck.

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10 Comments on "Old trucks on a dreary day"

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Harry Clicker
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Harry Clicker

Dodge Bighorn in the yard? Wow thought they were all grabbed up by now.

Otto Blogg
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Otto Blogg

Thank you for the good writeup!

fritzzie
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fritzzie

Love that REO! I want it.

Mark
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Mark

Like the military Bedford/AWD, built in Dunstable England was the main military truck for the British army until they lost the order and the company went bankrupt in 1992.
This one was from the base in northern Alberta, it’s was one of there safety trucks out on the range, hence the red doors and roof.
Might take a drive up into Airdrie to see if I can pries it out the current owners hands for the right amount of $$$$$
Cool great pictures.
Thanks

Mark
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Mark

Hi
Took a quick drive up there, first time I had really been to Airdrie, that’s a big place. Any chance of narrowing down what area the yard is in.
Thanks

Matt Hopkins
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Matt Hopkins

Hi, Im curious as well where this yard is. I would like to check out and maybe shoot the guy who owns that big horn and offer. I have a friend who fully restored one and might be in the market for another. Thanks

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