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Mecum's March Madness Part 2: Another Round Of Big Rigs, Only This Time They're Classics (And USEFUL!)

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On: Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 1:10PM | By: Andrew W Davis


Mecum's March Madness Part 2: Another Round Of Big Rigs, Only This Time They're Classics (And USEFUL!)

Here’s something for you if you’re a truck person (I hear there’s a cream for that now, BTW) looking to make a statement at your local Show ‘N’ Shine with something bedded and breathtaking, but you’re looking for something classy without looking like you had too much time and money to burn.

[For THAT kind of statement, see my earlier article.]

And you don’t want anything newfangled—these are classic car shows, remember—so anything built after Ike’s first term is right out, just as anything foreign-built at any time is Communist and against God, the flag and your mom’s apple pie.

But it should be practical, too. Any yahoo can buy an old pickup, but what if someone at the show required 1970s-era medical attention? Or milk? Or a, incline-bed tow? You could've been the hero in those situations if only you had the vehicle for it. Well, fear not. Mecum’s late-March Missouri sale has just what those improbable situations require, plus a few that are great to have just-in-case. You never know...

[Trucks are listed in the order in which they will appear at the auction.]

T(hursday) 84: “1955 Chevrolet Ambulance, 235 CI, 4-Speed”

“Original owner, Knoxville Fire Knoxville, Iowa; chassis purchased from Bane Chevrolet, home of Knoxville Raceway for $1,730.00; body hand built by Brown Body Co. in Des Moines, Iowa; includes original Washington cot, 2 defibrillators, both from the 1970s (one is manual, and the other is one of the first automatic defibrillators ever built); only ambulance ever built by Brown Body Company; first licensed 8/26/1955; body invoiced 10/03/1955; all numbers match.”

This fire/medical battlewagon looks like it’s in decent shape, until you look beneath the surface. The interior—and engine compartment—looks as though it’d actually make you SICKER if you went anywhere near it. Still, the ’55 Chevy’s a decent-looking ride, and once you gut this sucker and re-do it you’ll have a sure-fire attention-getter wherever you go. Just leave the doctor'n to the professionals...

F(riday) 75: “1946 Chevrolet ½ Ton Flatbed, 235 CI, 3-Speed”

“Fully restored 10 years ago; rust free; perfect chrome; factory flatbed with wood side rails; custom metal skirts and sides; runs and drives great.”

This is a real-deal half-ton “stake bed” truck that—despite a few questionable “custom” touches, wood that’s too dark and a terrible poo-brown seat covering—is not only beautiful but actually useful. Granted, nobody (I hope) will be hauling anything messy with it, but even if it only serves as a billboard for your business, at least you CAN haul something if you want to. The ’46 Chevy is a beautiful vehicle, and this one is only let down by its odd choice of wood grain/color and that horrible upholstery. Correct even just the seat (GRAY, anyone?) and this “mild” custom will be a car-show award shoo-in for the foreseeable future...

S(aturday) 125: “1949 Divco Model 49N Milk Truck”

“One of a kind; complete ground-up restoration in 1999; all parts have been restored to original condition; over $100,000 spent on restoration; restored and painted to exact colors and design that Borden's Milk and Ice Cream used on their milk trucks; hand painted "Elise the Cow" by local artist.”

Somebody spent $100 grand restoring this Divco and it shows. For the most part. Don’t get me wrong; it’s beautifully-done and better-than-new everywhere you look. But when you open up the cargo area you wonder how fixing up what’s essentially an empty metal shell could cost that much, especially when the whole thing is sprayed the same battleship gray. And while it is “exact” to Borden’s specifications, it doesn’t say anything about it actually BEING one of theirs. Regardless, if you just have to have the world’s best milk truck, here it is. As for what you can actually DO with it, well...

S 147: “1947 Dodge WDX Pickup, 230/94 HP, 4-Speed”

“Deluxe cab with winch; 12 volt conversion; professionally restored by LCARS of Cameron, WI; displayed twice at National Power Wagon Rally in Iowa.”

Dodge’s post-war Power Wagon is the kind of rig that will punch its own momma in the face just for the fun of it. They were forged in the crucible of serious combat and it shows. Even when you have one as nicely-restored and shiny as this one it’s clear from the first half-mile you spend behind the wheel that these beasts see you as nothing more than a nuisance in a meat suit that should be pummeled hard and often. The good news here is that this one’s as gussied-up as these things can get, as you’re going to want to “show” it often and “drive” it as little as possible. The human body can take only so much punishment…

S 171: “1954 Chevrolet COE Car Hauler, 400 CI, Automatic”

“Complete restoration; custom built cab over engine car hauler; 400 CI Chevy small block; Turbo 400 CI auto transmission; 1980's frame; tilt wheel.”

While not as attractive as the 1955 models that followed, the ’54 Chevy isn’t that bad a looker. [OK, truth time: It looks like someone perched the cab atop a different-size front end. Or it’s so swollen-looking because someone pressurized the body to near-bursting. Or…] Right. Out of all the trucks here this one strikes me as the least useful of the lot despite its being so clearly-oriented to performing a specific task. After all, to get a car up there would take at least a winch—which this doesn’t have—as “up-ramp running starts” are an EXTREMELY bad idea, regardless of ride. Still, you can park any car near it and PRETEND you carried it with you. Nobody will care, of course, because this rig is so rare and restored-looking. Now you just have to ditch the “Seafoam Green” paint, install that winch and…


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