Made In California: 1929 Kleiber Truck

Today there are only a handful of car companies, but back in the old days, there were thousands. It was easier to build a “horseless carriage” than it is to build a modern automobile today and everyone was trying to grab a little market share of this new industry. Paul Kleiber was one of those guys and he ended up cranking out some very cool cars and trucks. This 2-ton beast is located in Oakland, California and is listed here on eBay with no reserve!

This truck may look tough, but Kleiber even produced a 5-ton version! These trucks were purchased by west-coast businesses that needed to do some heavy hauling. The Kleiber catalog showed examples used by Goodyear Rubber, Associate Oil, and more. This particular truck was owned by Pierce-Rudolph Moving and Storage and the hand-painted lettering is still visible on the doors. Supposedly it was in service until the fifties when it made its way into a large car collection.

Power was provided by this Continental inline-six. It looks complete from the spark plug wires to the Zenith carburetor. If the engine is not seized, it’d be fun to see if you could get it to run with some new oil and fuel. After sitting for over six decades, I really doubt it’s just going to fire up. Continental produced engines for around 60 years so you might even be able to find some parts if needed.

Here’s one of the reasons vehicles are more expensive to produce today. That wooden dash wouldn’t pass any of the safety regulations we have today. Where’s the padding and air bags and collapsible steering column? With 40-50 horsepower and a heavy chassis, you probably couldn’t get going very fast anyway. Supposedly these were geared extremely low so they could handle the steep streets of San Francisco.

Besides passenger cars and these heavy-duty trucks, Kleiber built other specialty rigs including the light wagons used by the San Francisco fire department. Kleiber did well enough to build a large factory that still stands today. Unfortunately, few remember the high-quality vehicles built there. This truck is a unique part of our automotive history, but I’m not sure exactly what to do with it. Can you think of any possible uses?


  1. Chris

    Jesse, love what you guys do at Barnfinds so I hate to tell you Josh beat you to this one as he wrote it up on April 1st. I’d like to see this truck restored to its original glory but I fear that the people that would want to take this on are becoming fewer and fewer as the years go on.

    Like 8
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Oh well, with 17 posts per day that happens once in a while. This one was relisted without a reserve and is cool enough for another mention.

      Like 11
      • Mike

        I don’t have a problem keeping up with 17 posts a day. Just sayin’….

        Like 3
  2. canadainmarkseh

    I guess you do with it what every other truck collector does. You restore it than you take it to shows and parades. Perfect for that, no real speed required.

    Like 7
  3. Howard A Member

    Been here already,,,little more info this time however, I agree, well worth repeating.,

    Like 1
  4. Mike

    You guy seem to beat BaT several times a month on interesting cars. In some cases, they post cars you guys have already posted up to two weeks earlier. I guess it’s ok to double down on stuff from your own website.

    Jay Leno in his new restoration blog also is restoring a Klieber.

    Like 3
  5. John

    Anyone know, or have a guess, about the purpose of the cylinders on the front frame horns?

  6. marlokleiber@aim ,com

    that was my dream to carry my name on since i was 18 years old to own one 10 kids later still dreaming to owe one before i die , lyle kleiber michigan

    Like 2

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