The dry climate of the desert southwest has been the source of many old cars and trucks for collectors and restorers for a long, long time. This old Dodge is a depot hack model, and therefore pretty rare.
For those of us too young to remember them in daily use, Depot Hacks were mostly produced during the nineteen teens and twenties. The Owls Head Museum provides the following definition: Depot Hacks were designed to carry passengers and their luggage from the train station, or Depot, to their final destination, typically a hotel. Today, we call this type of vehicle a Taxi, which is what the word Hackney means. Hack is an abbreviated form of Hackney. Below is an example of a Ford depot hack.
Today’s desert find is what the seller says is a 1918/20 Dodge Depot Hack. It’s for sale here on craigslist in Tucson, Arizona, with an asking price of $3,150.
It’s pretty easy to discern from the photos provided, that this truck has been sitting outside for a very long time. The seller is very enthusiastic about his vehicle, even though it plainly needs an immense amount of work.
The ad states that you “must see to believe the condition of the Gauges, Wheels, Hubs, Seats, etc.” It’s called “solid” and “rusty but not dying of cancer…” And it almost goes without saying that it will need all the wood replaced – running boards, steering wheel and bed (and whatever body you might want to rebuild from scratch!)
The seller even claims that his Dodge is “believed to still run!” which appears to be wishful thinking on his part.
Undertaking some research online to find out what I could about this particular Dodge, and was amazed to find that what appears to be this very same vehicle was for sale in Tucson in 2006! It was the subject of a long discussion on the AACA member forum at that time.
In 2006, the truck’s asking price was a lofty $7,500, and apparently it has not found a buyer during the last ten years. Note that the photos in the CL ad are dated 2009, which is further evidence it may still be with its original seller.
Reading the various forum contributions, I found one knowledgeable reader who says that this truck is actually a 1920-21 model. According to this source, the wheels are the first series Kelsey 25″ that were used only during that period. The spring cover on the forward part of the rear fender is a transition from the 1919 models to 1920. The doors are wrong for the truck and are from a 1920-21 touring car. He further states that the engine and transmission is from a 1924 Dodge. If you want to read the forum conversation, you can find it here.
Yes, it is rusty and weathered, but we’ve all seen a lot of cars that were far less complete than this one. Still, you have to wonder if this truck will ever find a buyer who will restore it. Working vehicles that went through the Depression were often modified by their owners, using whatever parts could be found to keep them running. Because this old Dodge is not “original” anymore, and will take so much work and cost to restore, perhaps this will end up as a hot rod or rat rod build.
Here is a slightly more modern 1925 Dodge Depot Hack, in far better condition than the example for sale here.
This beauty sold at the Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson auction in 2009 for only $9900, which makes me wonder whether today’s find may not be financially worthwhile to restore.
That’s the Dodge Brothers emblem – the founding brothers both died in 1920, and in 1928 their company was sold to Chrysler.
So what do you all think of this old deserted hack?