All the vehicles seen in this article, numerous old tractors, lots of pickups, a few heavy duty trucks, along with one classic car, were found in the tiny community of Rockyford Alberta. In the mix is a disproportionate number of International Harvester vehicles. Also noteworthy are some Lamborghini tractors (yes, that Lamborghini), along with some vintage examples from such makers is Hart Parr and Cockshutt. Rounding it out is a stunning Packard Clipper, beautifully restored to as new condition.
We found all these just by walking about the village. Strolling the streets of a small town will almost always turns up these sort vintage vehicles.
First up is a retired fire truck. It’s mounted on a Ford F750 chassis. This would date it from the period 1967-1979. We found this one on the backside of the rodeo grounds behind a fence.
Heading towards downtown, we first follow the train tracks, a former CNR line abandoned a half dozen years ago. The tracks were still in place on this visit but I understand they are being pulled up, even as we write this. Along here we find an old Case-IH dealership sign in the grass.
Heading up Main Street we come to a lot loaded with old International trucks, mainly pickups, but also one 1970s or early 1980s era Transtar II cab-over. This style of over-the-road truck was once very popular but fell out of favour in the 1990s. The pickups seen include an early 1950s R150 (mostly complete), along with some shells, one of them a late 1950s B series. Another one, the oldest seen, is a circa 1940s K or KB series.
Also in this yard is a late 1970s or early 1980s Ford Courier, built by Mazda. This style of mini-pickup was popular at one time.
One tractor that catches our attention is a Lamborghini. Yes, Lamborghini. Know more for their exotic sports cars, the company started out in the farm tractor business. That division is now separate but still shares the same iconic snorting bull logo as those seen Lamborghini cars. This is one is not that terribly old.
In back we find two older farm tractors, an Oliver from the late 1950s or early 1960s, and a Minneapolis-Moline, a 50s model I believe. Also seen here is a small Caterpillar tracked loader (1940s?) and not far away an old Hyster forklift. Note: when it comes to tractors and construction machinery, we’re no experts and if we’re wrong in any respects or if you can something, by all means let us know. Interestingly Oliver and M-M would in the 1960s come under control of White Motors.
Across the street, next to a collapsing brick building is a 1960s or 1970s vintage International Loadstar grain truck. These were and still are common farm vehicles and we see them in service all the time.
Less than a block away we find a row of old tractors. There are two from Hart-Parr, both late 1920s era models, one an 18-36 and the other a 12-24. These have steel wheels – rubber would not become common until the 1930s. Also seen is an International Farmall, a very common tractor, a beat up Case also with steel wheels, and in back a 1930s/40s era Cockshutt. The latter was a Canadian company that in the early 1960s was purchased by US based White Motors. White, as you may recall, also owned Oliver and Minneapolis-Moline. Cockshutt built its own tractors, in Canada, in the period after World War 2 until the takeover. Before and until the name was retired in the 1970s, Cockshutts were built by Oliver in the US (confused yet).
Each of the tractors we’ve explored is painted in specific factory colours. Each manufacturer did and still does this as a way to differentiate themselves from their competition. You always knew what make it was simply by its colours.
Heading down a nearby alley we make our way in behind that same collapsing building we were in front of earlier. It’s another International gold mine. Many of these trucks and the ones in the other lot explored earlier have signs on their sides – K Pedersen of Rockyford – a one time IH dealer who presumably used them as work vehicles. This company is still in business today (just around the corner) fixing, you guessed it, tractors.
Seen here are a couple late 1960s to mid-1970s era IH pickups, the last series made by the company before they closed out the line. By that date, International could not compete with the Big Three automakers in that field. GM, Ford and Chrysler had greater finances and a more broad and robust sales network – IH in comparison was burdened with mostly small town rural dealers who did not move a lot of product. Also in here is another 60s/70s era Loadstar. Beside the trucks are a number of tractors that appear to be parts donors. There is some Internationals, Lamborghinis and a bright green Duetz.
Across the alley is an amazing find, a 1940s era Packard Clipper. It’s a gorgeous car. At one time this maker was a rival to Cadillac and Lincoln. Later they merged with Studebaker in the 1950s and the Packard name was phased out a few years after. Studebaker shut down in the US in 1963. They lasted until 1966 in Canada however.
Right beside the Packard is a bright orange Dodge 100 pickup from 1959, a nice looking truck.
Leaving the alley, we come to the Pedersen company shop. Remember, most of the trucks and tractors seen in this report are connected to this company, which we spoke of earlier. Beside the shop is a number of interesting tractors. There are some Internationals (60s and 70s models) and a early 1970s Cockshutt, this one a re-badged Fiat. There is also one from White, who as you may recall absorbed the Oliver, Minneapolis-Moline and Cockshutt companies in the 1960s – all these names were retired in the 1970s and the tractors simply became Whites. Also seen in another Lamborghini.
The day we explored Rockyford was grey and gloomy but we had a ton of fun none the less. We love walking around small towns – you never know what you’ll find.
If you wish more information on what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!
Date: May, 2014.
Location: Rockyford, AB.