The fascinating things we find while out exploring the Alberta plains. Of course there are the ghost towns and abandoned farms, but we also stumble across lots of old, classic and interesting vehicles. Seen here is an odd-couple sharing the same patch of grass between two old wood buildings a Barth tag-axle motorhome, a very rare variant I am told, parked next to another relativity uncommon beast, a Studebaker 2R series pickup truck. The former appears is good shape, although it’s clear its been a while since it moved. The latter is a bit rough.
Both these beauties, and let’s make it clear, even old and retired and in their present no-longer-in showroom condition state, they are nothing short of gorgeous, were found in the small community of Hussar Alberta. It doesn’t take much to imagine them so long ago, all shiny and new, their owner’s pride and joy. Even in retirement they still have some appeal.
The Barth Company (Barth Coach, Barth Incorporated. et al.) built various styles of RVs from the early 1960s to the late 1990s. Never a huge volume builder they were know more for their quality of construction then anything else. The motorhome seen here is a mid-1970s model (give or take). The company’s output from that era had a very distinctive look as you can see, with those fluted sides and trademark “bustle” rear end. In contrast, their models from the 1980s and on seem to blend in with the crowd more.
This example is rather rare version in that it has a tag (extra) axle – it such long and heavy monster, the biggest the Barth firm made at the time, that a single back axle would have been insufficient to support it all. Not many of this style were made and we looked hard. Even more interesting, the tag axle, which is non-powered and is just along for the ride, has dual tires (most tags have singles). This further hints it was a real heavy weight.
This motorhome is gas powered (Chevrolet chassis and I engine I think), which given all that weight we just spoke of, probably made it a bit of a slug when it came to ac…cel…er…a…tion. No drag racer here. Mental note, stay away from the mountains.
The motorhome has Montana plates with 2003 tags on them.
No doubt it’d take a lot to get this RV back on the road – sitting for a decade is good for NO vehicle – but imagine the fun that would be? You’d turn heads everywhere! But I’m probably dreaming here. I think its day has passed.
On the same grounds is a 1949-1953 Studebaker 2R model truck. People are often taken aback to hear that firm made even these types of vehicles. Their output, in that field, was quite low when compared with the big three, so that I guess that many haven’t heard of this should come as no surprise.
Studebaker had a factory in Hamilton Ontario (1948-1966), a building that was only recently torn down. While most of that facilities output was cars they did make trucks, for a time anyway, in the first half of the 1950s, and so this could be a Canadian produced example. Volumes I guess were not enough to sustain two productions lines for long and after that time, these vehicles later came from the US factory. Studebaker America eventually shut down in 1963 and with that all their truck (and US car) production came to an end. The company carried on in Canada for a few years more.
This old tuck is on rough shape and is missing a number of important components. I don’t know if it’d be fodder for a rebuild, but perhaps it’d be a good parts truck. Or maybe it’ll stay a lawn ornament? That seems to be the eventuality for a lot of old vehicles – not that it’s bad – they photograph well and are fun to explore.
Hussar is a tiny community about a hundred clicks east of Calgary (the proverbial middle of nowhere as I like to say). It’s home to just under two hundred people. We came here to explore the community’s last remaining grain elevator (soon to be a report) and found these vehicles while driving around town trying to find unique and interesting angles to photograph that structure from.
If you like old and interesting motorhomes, check out these links…
Mystery Machine – Green Machine – strange homemade RV.
If you wish more information on what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!
Date: September, 2014.
Location: Hussar, AB.