In May 2014 we toured the southwest corner of Saskatchewan on a quest to find grain elevators, ghost towns and abandoned farms. We also came in search of vintage cars, trucks (especially), strange and odd motorhomes, locomotives – anything old and interesting that has wheels and an engine. And guess what, we found a lot, as would be expected in a province so famous for this. We documented so many old vehicles, in fact, that it’ll take at least three articles to cover them all. This is entry two.
Let’s take a look at what we found…
1) First up is a locomotive. This beast, a General Motors Diesel Division (GMDD- London Ontario – now closed) model SD40, was found dead and parked at the end of a siding. This is a former CNR engine, built in the early 1970s. Rebuilt in the 1990s, it found its way to the Great Sandhills Railway via a leasing firm in the early 2010s. At last report, it was listed as being out of service. It was spotted near the town of Leader.
2) This Chevrolet C Series medium duty grain truck was found sitting beside an elevator right in the town of Leader. This model, and its GMC counterpart, are some of the most popular farm trucks we’ve come across in our travels. We see them everywhere! They were built in the 1970s and 80s and many are still hard at work today.
3) Found at the Great Sandhills Grain Terminal is an old locomotive used to switch cars about the huge facility. This is an Electromotive Diesel (EMD – US parent plant to GMDD) model GP9B later rebuild to GP9u (sometimes referred to as GP10) standards. It was built for the Union Pacific Railway in the 1950s but was later sold to the Illinois Central Railway, and later a series of other owners before finding its way here, in the early 2010s, via a leasing firm. In the 1970s, the engine was rebuilt – it originally lack a cab which was added at that time. Today it appears in pretty good shape, especially so given its age.
4|) Another ubiquitous C Series medium duty was found along side another elevator (we love elevators) in the town of Portleeve. This is a GMC version, and like the other C truck mentioned earlier, is outfitted with a grain box.
5) A bright green (or is that yellow) fire engine was found in the near ghost town of Battrum. This is a ladder truck built on top a 1950s, 60s early 70s era International CO/VCO/DCO series tilt cab chassis. We could not find what town it once worked for, but on the door is a faint Calgary ’88 Winter Olympics symbol, which suggests it’s somehow connected to that event or the town itself. This model truck was often used as a base for fire apparatus. I for one was not crazy about the bright yellow paint (or was that green) used by many fire departments in the past. Traditional red, at least from a visual perspective, is far more pleasing. I see many departments are going back to that colour.
6) In Mortlach, we found a nice old step van (milk truck perhaps). It’s mounted on an International R Series chassis, which means it’s from the early to mid-1950s. As a joke, I assume, someone has attached at Chevrolet emblem to the grill.
7) Moose Jaw is known for its connections to organized crime during US prohibition. It was a distribution point for illicit booze, or at least that’s how the legends plays out. Found near downtown is a tourist booth made from an old bus (what looks to be a nice one at that), a GM “Old Look” from the 1940s-1960s. It has been made up to appear as an old “PCC” streetcar, its destination, “Little Chicago”.
8) Truck maker International was a popular brand in Saskatchewan based on how many we stumbled across this trip. Found in the proverbial middle of nowhere, is a 1940s era R Series, outfitted (guess what) as a grain truck. Found in the tiny village of Courval. Interestingly, a plate on the truck shows it was last used in the 1990s.
9) Also in the same town is a more recent, well relativity speaking, 1953-55 International R Series grain hauler. Like I said, this brand of truck was once very popular in the province, not surprising I guess since that firm had such deep agricultural roots. This old timer was last plated in the mid-2000s! Old farm trucks seem to last forever.
10) A funky motorhome found in Hodgeville. I can’t say for certain but I think it’s a home-brew job. Presumably they mounted it on an old truck chassis. What a beast!
11) In the same town, we found a late 1940s to early 1950s International L Series grain truck. A lot of Internationals were seen this trip!
12) Still in Hodgeville, we found a nice 1971 Dodge Charger, in bright orange no less, and spotted in behind it, a Dodge or Fargo A100 van from the period 1964-1970.
13) In the ghost town of Neidpath we find a real rarity (in this part of the world anyway), a 1952-54 era UK made Austin A40 Somerset. English cars were never terribly popular in Canada – the climate and conditions here were too tough on them and most did not last long. Oddly, we saw another of this same model the following day, which will appear in the next article in this series. Neidpath is an amazing place, with a stunning old church and two very photogenic grain elevators. Watch for a report on that town soon.
14) Our 2014 Chevrolet Impala rental with the Neidpath church in behind. We like to leave our regular car at home on these long trips. Better to wear out someone else’s vehicle.
15) Another Chevrolet C Series found in the town of Cadillac.
16) Also in that town is a 1973-81 era Chevrolet tilt cab. Based on our own observations, this model and its GMC equivalent, is not terribly common.
17) A Mercury pickup was found in “downtown” Cadillac. This make of truck was only seen in Canada and not elsewhere. Outside the nameplate and a few subtle visual cues, the truck is basically a re-badged Ford.
18) Speaking of Fords, still in that town, we find an early 1940s one ton tanker truck from that maker, that once belonged to the local fire department.
19) The rest of the cars seen were found in the town of Admiral. Included in that group, are two 1980s era Chrysler New Yorkers, essentially well equipped K-Cars. Stylish!
20) Did I hear K-Car? How about this box-on-wheels, a Dodge Aries K-Wagon. The grill tells us this is an early to mid-1980s model.
21) An early 1970s Sno Jet, sometimes spelled Sno*Jet or Sno-Jet, Star Jet snowmobile. At one time there used it dozen and dozens of manufacturers of sleds, this company included. Now there are a few.
22) Another Dodge K-Car, this one a four door. This was the vehicle that “saved” Chrysler! And was the butt of many Red Green jokes.
23) Lastly we see a 1980 Chevrolet Malibu. This author owns an 81, Big Red, an “Iraqi Taxi” or “Iraqibu” version (Google it).
Stay tuned for part three of this fascinating series. We still have lots of interesting vehicles to talk about.
To see other interesting vehicles we’ve found over the years, click these links…
Old trucks and vehicles – October.
Vintage vehicles found on a wonderful long weekend.
Big and orange Dodge Bighorn.
If you wish more information on what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!
Date: May, 2014.
Location: All over southwest Saskatchewan.