For this report we’ll show some of the assorted old trucks and interesting vehicles we’ve stumbled across while out on exploring. We did not go looking for them, but rather they were all discovered by chance while out travelling the back roads of Alberta and BC, on our field trips researching other subjects. These were all found August or September of 2013.
First up is an early 1970s Ford pickup pulling an equally old Argosy trailer. While the truck is pretty common, even one this old – especially so in farming communities – the trailer is a something you don’t see every day. Looking like a painted Airstream, Argosy was actually manufactured by that same company. They were a budget minded but innovative model from what I understand, but still of high quality, a trait Airstream was known for. Made in the 1970s, this is the first one I’ve seen in a long time. This vintage combo was spotted in Trochu Alberta, looking ready for a road trip.
Also found in that same town is what I guess could best described as a low rider tractor. Nothing odd about this Kubota model, except for the tiny, tiny wheels. I assume these are only temporary but I still wonder why they’d bother outfitting them this way. I guess when sold, proper sized tires would then get mounted in their place.
Next up, we find ourselves in Three Hills Alberta. While out exploring that town’s two grain elevators, we come across a couple nice finds. One is a Mercury Three Ton, circa 1946 or 1947. This make of truck was only sold in Canada and were produced in the years 1946-68. Oddly, it has a Lincoln plate on the engine hood, and I can only amuse this was applied as a joke – as this simple no-frills truck is a polar opposite of the luxurious Lincolns of the day.
In spite of looking like a junk yard special, for example, it’s missing its drivers side windshield, it does appear that this old road warrior runs. Or at least moves, and there was fresh dirt on the tires. Homemade features include some straight-pipe exhaust stacks and what is presumed to be a gas tank fashioned from an old oil drum. Red Green would be proud.
Seen nearby was a rusty old 1936-37 era Ford truck. Worn, beaten and dented, it’s missing many parts, but is still fairly complete. An old license plate on the front dates from 1962.
Seen in Bassano Alberta is a late 1980s White/GMC (daycab) delivery truck. This truck company came into existence only a year or two before this vehicle was made, and was an amalgamation of the Volvo controlled White Motor Company and GMC’s heavy truck division. From my own observations, they were not terribly common, at least in this part of the country.
The White/GMC nameplate is not used anymore, it was phased out in the mid 1990s, and all trucks from this maker are simply Volvo’s now. Even today the trucks from this maker retain some visual similarities (family traits if you will) when compared to older models, like this one.
Found between Moyie and Cranbrook BC is a mid 1970s Thiebault fire truck. Based on that company’s records, it’s believed this one was originally from Grand Forks BC. A small sign on the side says “MadBurn”. This example was built on a Ford C900 chassis and looking at the moss growing on the hoses, it’s been outdoors for some time.
Thibault Fire Engines were one of two fire apparatus makers based out of the town of Pierreville Quebec. The other was known as Pierreville Fire Trucks and over the years the two companies were fierce rivals, each being owned by competing members of the Thibault family. Both went out of business, Pierreville in 1985 and Thibault in 1989-91 (depending on source). The Thibault name has been resurrected however, that company operating as Carl Thibault Emergency Vehicles. They are still in located in Pierreville and employ a number of people from the two earlier companies.
I wonder what’s in store for this fine old fire truck?
Seen not far away and buried in the bush and used for target practice by good-ol-boys with guns, we find a early 1950s-ish International pickup. It’s so mangled and shot up as to be almost unrecognizable. I’ve often wondered why we find so many old trucks in the woods (and to a lesser extent cars), and back then I think it was common practice to depose of worn out vehicles simply by driving them down some remote road and dumping them somewhere. This is probably how this one ended up where it did.
Passing through Cranbrook, we tail a late 1950s/early 1960s Studebaker Lark, but we lose it when it turns down a side road. It appears in pristine shape and it’s a VIII model, meaning it has a V8 engine. Given the car’s small size (for the era), that engine it must have given it very spirited performance. I’m always been partial to Studes.
Canadian made Studebakers were made in Hamilton Ontario. That factory has only recently been torn down. The operation lasted until 1966, outliving its US parent by a couple years.
The last vehicle we see this report is a rugged mid 1970s Kenworth LW848 truck. A tough no-nonsense machine, this was a heavy duty model designed for extreme service, They could be found working in logging or mining for example, or like this one, employed in equally demanding industry, metal recycling. It sits in front of and has signage for just such a company.
Mean and almost indestructible looking, and ALL business, some would say this Kenworth was in the same league as a Hayes or Pacific. Both of these defunct truck makes were often seen in BC and were equally as tough (if not more so perhaps). Clearly this model Kenworth, and it’s close siblings, the 849 and 850 series, were competitors to those other makes.
This one is powered by a Detroit Diesel engine and has a metal hood (partially missing). The latter is a feature you don’t really see much anymore and to save weight, most trucks today have fibreglass hoods instead.
Found in Marysville (Kimberley) BC, this truck is for sale.
This wraps up the report, but since we are always out exploring, I am sure you’ll see more soon. After all, I love old trucks and odd and unusual vehicles and I can’t sit still.
While visiting Trochu and Three Hills, we explored some old grain elevators and to see those reports, click the link below…
Prairie Sentinels – Trochu Alberta.
Prairie Sentinels – Three Hills Alberta.
If you wish more information on these vehicles, by all means contact us!
Date: August and September, 2013.
Location: Trochu. Three Hills and Bassano AB and the East Kootenays of BC.