Antique Survivor: 1912 Koehler G80 Delivery Truck

Brian BirknerBy Brian Birkner

With all of the technology in the world I still find it fascinating to study early cars and see the ideas and construction methods that early “tinkerer’s” came up with. Appearing much more like a horse drawn cart, this 1912 Koehler G80 Delivery Truck is in superb shape and is amazing to think that it is in original condition. At 105 years of age, this important and early American machine is a museum worthy piece offered to the public. With a buy it now price of $27,900.00 Take a look at this rolling piece of history here on ebay out of Saint Louis, Missouri. Thanks to reader Dominic Ortiz for this historic find! 

Long before the birth of the mass produced Volkswagen, or any other opposing cylinder engine, the Koehler was using an opposing two cylinder engine. With an estimated 16 horsepower, this delivery truck probably got along well on the yet to be paved roads that could often be difficult to navigate. Appearing in excellent condition for its 105 years of age, I would assume that the engine turns over, and with a fair amount of tinkering, and fresh fluids could possibly be a runner. There is little rust to be seen on the engine or its massive harmonic balancer/flywheel. There is a driveshaft in this truck but if you look closely there are two chains that transfer power to the rear wheels. Described and considered to be in solid original condition, hopefully this one could be enjoyed for demonstrations.

Although there may not be a factory heater, I can only imagine the heated air coming through the backside of the radiator would be enough to keep your toes warm on those cold delivery days. With no real dash, gauges, or cabin, this Koehler does almost look like a horse drawn wagon that was modified for an engine and steering capabilities. The steering shaft is perfectly vertical offering the driver a great deal of space that some other early vehicles could not offer.  One option I figured would be a hot item would have been a sprung carriage type seat for the driver for addition comfort while traversing rough roads. Though I suppose a solid seat would offer a better opportunity to keep the truck in control on bumpy or rutted roads. Although many early cars have wooden floor boards, this utilitarian work truck has a cast iron floor that has the manufacturers name cast into it, as well as gross vehicle weight, and maximum speed.

Perhaps touched up, and wearing a few minor flaws, this antique truck is in very nice condition. The wood spoke wheels are rock solid, as is the bed and frame. Odd but certainly useful the roof likely offered some refreshing shade in the heat of the summer, and a fair amount of protection from precipitation. Appearing to have sat for quite a while, the tires do have some flat spots. Although capable of 16 MPH, it would be fair to say that this truck would have a difficult time navigating modern roads and traffic. It is always hard to think of what to do with such a complete and possibly drivable machine. What would you do with this historic American Antique?

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  1. Fred W.

    Useless in today’s world, but a real piece of history and belongs in a museum.

  2. jimbunte jimbunte Member

    What a super find. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Dave at OldSchool Restorations Dave at OldSchool Restorations Member

    LOL… another “G80 ”
    A really cool piece of History, but this is not a G80.
    ” G80″ is a glitch that eBay has been automatically assigning to some cars for the last several months, even tho’ their Tech people have been informed about this error at least as far back as April 2017

    • Thomas

      eBay’s motto: If it ain’t broke, break it.

    • Howard A Member

      So Dave, do you know what model this is? Some sources say it’s a model “A” auto buggy, some say, just “the one ton Power Wagon” model. 1912 was supposedly the 1st year Koehler switched to trucks, so this must be one of the 1st trucks. There is a 1910 Sears high wheel auto buggy that’s called G80, but that was on ebay too. Moreland made a 1922 “G80” truck as well.

  4. Dan

    What the heck. Drive it daily. Let people pass you. Try to keep up with that jogger. Not like you are going to ever get involved in a high speed collision at 16mph.

    • grant

      Going to have a hard time driving it with the flat spots on all four wheels. I’m sure it would shake the rims apart in no time flat. It is cool as hell though.

  5. glen

    It doesn’t even look real, more like a die-cast toy. Someone, somewhere, is thinking; this would be better lowered, wider tires and a small block!

  6. Woodie Man

    When you consider the technological advances in the last 105 years in autos alone one can only marvel at what another 100!years will bring…..a la Moores Law

    • Glen

      I agree 100%. My dad turned 93 this year, and in his life, it’s gone from horses delivering products in Toronto, to people living in space!

  7. dr fine
  8. That Guy

    Boy, this thing was already archaic when it was built. Automotive technology was advancing rapidly and whoever designed this truck seems to have been stuck in 1902.

    That said, it’s a great piece in a steampunk sort of way. It deserves a less cartoonish paint job though.

  9. Jim

    This would be cool to take to fairs and festivals. With a cotton candy machine and a popcorn machine. Would really attract attention.


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