Red Roughneck: 1953 Diamond T Pickup

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There are trucks and there are trucks. Every time I think the Ford F-150 has gotten too large, I spot a rig like this 1953 Diamond T here on eBay that is technically a pickup truck, but one of the largest order. It’s got chiseled good looks and just the right amount of patina, and you can own it for a Buy-It-Now of $7,500. 

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The seller says this Diamond T has not run in years, so the next owner will have some troubleshooting ahead of them. Actually, I more hope they have a large garage or warehouse facility to park this big boy while they tinker with it, because the odds are good your HOA won’t want it parked on the street while you figure out the no-start issue.

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The interior is the epitome of rudimentary, but what else would you expect driving a vintage workhorse like this one? No navigation, heated seats or adjustable pedals here. Just a manual transmission in your hand and a straight-six triggered by your right foot. With a GVW of 15,000 lbs., this is not the vehicle you use when picking up milk. It’s for picking up the corner of a house.

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The patina is strong with this Diamond T, and I suspect it’s destined for a new life as a show truck. Its days of heavy industrial use are long behind it, so that paint will likely be covered in clearcoat and the bed laid end-to-end with some polished timbers. While I hate to see useful vehicles become trailer queens, this Diamond T has worked all its life – it’s high-time for some easy miles. How would you use it?

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Comments

  1. chris

    I find it absolutely cool…except for the crushed cab.

  2. Scotty G

    OhhhhOOOOHH’ohhhh (in my best Andy Griffith voice), this one has Howard written all over it.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Scotty, you got my number here!!!

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Yes, I saw Diamond T, and thought, Howard…

  3. Cassidy

    what a truck!!

  4. JW

    This is a real beast and I love it !!!

  5. Texas Tea

    I like it a lot. Do some work on that drivers side roof cab so it doesn’t leak when raining. I’ll bet it rides like a buck board. Only much worst. I still love it.

  6. Charles

    Cool old truck! I don’t remember seeing very many that are similar to it. It looks sort of HD to be a pick-up. What is the tonnage rating on the chassis?

    I could see it as restored to original specs, or as a street rod.

    With a Cummins diesel, maybe a six speed with a US Gear two speed spliter, modern brakes, PS, custom paint this truck could tow a 5th wheel or gooseneck trailer and haul more classics.

    Like 1
    • Jim

      I believe it was available from one to two ton capacity depending on suspension and tires, you always re-spring it and add shock absorbers to soften the ride or just remove a few leaves from each spring if you’re on a budget. The truck is cool looking and it’s not the same as every Ford or Chevy from back then. I go along with you, a 12 valve Cummins with mechanical injection pump and an overdrive trans for normal driving and hauling.

  7. Sukey

    one hell of a machine
    six cylinder and a15,000 pound Gvw
    All you need now is an old coon hound for the passenger seat

  8. Kieron

    The wife still says NO

    • Charles

      You got one of those also.

  9. Howard A Member

    It’s quite possible some people have never heard of Diamond T. At one time, Diamond T was considered the “Cadillac” of trucks. Their heyday was probably the ’30’s, with features many other trucks didn’t offer. Chrome grilles, engine turned dash, full gauges, and nothing but the best mechanical’s. This particular truck was already the down turn of the company, as this is nothing more than an gussied up “L” model IH, ( Comfo-Vision cab) and by ’58, they were gone. White bought Diamond T in 1958 and renamed it Diamond-REO in 1967. I owned a 1949 model 201 pickup ( the last of the true Diamond T’s) for many years. It was a heavy duty truck, and in 1950, they made a pickup with this style ( the 222) but was the beginning of the end and discontinued the pickup after that. I was surprised to find out, this has a 252ci. Nash motor with 113 hp. from the Ambassador and was the lowest model you could get. It had a 1.5 ton rating, but probably could haul a lot more. I think this may be a ’52, as in ’53 they changed the cab ( R model) slightly to a 1 piece rear window ( however, they may have continued the “L” model cab for a while) While I’m all for original, this truck would certainly benefit a total drivetrain update. It’s rare alright, as Diamond T trucks were generally more expensive than other trucks, and by then, other truck makers had also offered fancier trucks for less money, and Diamond T was history. Very cool find.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Howard. I’ve been in an ongoing debate with some Binder folks in FB and there’s a lot of controversy over when IH went to the single rear window. I always thought it was a running change in the R-series but some claim it was the S-series. Of course me, being the stubborn type, clung to my original theory. What say you?

      • Howard A Member

        Hi geomechs, I have seen ’53 R model pickups ( R110) with 2 back windows, but never an S.( I had a ’55 R100 with 1 window) It seems they retained 2 windows in the larger R models,( R190) but I thought all R pickups after ’54 ( R100) had 1 window.

    • Jim

      Howard, I have a question. The 252cu in engine you’re referring to, is it the same engine White Motor Co and all its sub-companies used until ’70 or so? I think they called it Red Comet and Gold Comet engines. I started working on trucks while in High school and some of those flatheads had 2-300,000 miles on them, some outlived multiple chassis’s. I know White trucks were usually made from other manufacturers parts, they either made them under license or bought them outright.

    • Rick. (Rusty)

      Have a 53 Diamond T. Sounds like you know your stuff about them. I’m needing some info on these and wondered if you could give me a call at 580-716-2864 to discuss. Thanks Rusty

      • Jim

        Rick I apologize, I’m not sure how I missed your reply. I’ve been reading but not getting involved, I’ve got some health issues taking up a lot of time. If I can still help let me know, again sorry for the delay.

  10. Rich

    Wow. I just love this truck as is. My HOA would flip if I brought it home though.

    • Jim

      I’ll guess it wouldn’t be the first time your hobby ruffled some feathers! We’re all guilty, whether as the transport showed up with the latest toy you say “by the way babe, remember that pickup I was watching on eBay”! Or come home from a swap meet with the trucks back bumper dragging on the floor but you only went to look! My personal favorite was “don’t you have enough welders? Are you going to open a store?” After UPS dropped off my tig welder while I ran an errand with her whole family there for dinner. It took awhile before that storm blew over, I built her a nice raised decorative fire pit with it. If anyone can tell me they’ve never done it I want to shake your hand! I just want to add i was lucky enough to have had a great girl for 31yrs before brain cancer got her, she never once tried to stop me from my hobby. Carry on.

  11. van

    This is a manly man’s truck
    “Well I tell yah little lady, this old work horse has a few miles, but she still kicks like a mule wa haaa”

    • Julles

      Too bad your wife won’t let you buy it. Where would you park your 6th car Van?

      • Dave Wright

        Why would anyone keep a wife that did not support what they wanted to do? Never made any sense to me…….even the one I didn’t keep wouldn’t give me a bad time about what I wanted.

      • van

        Well Dave, she said yes to a Jaguar D-type. Never would have tried on my own. I think I’ll keep her.

      • Dave Wright

        I guess that wives that get upset about there husbands dealings either the husband is not making enough money or she does not trust him……neither is a good situation.

      • Julles

        Dave, I apologize. I was totally kidding. I just wanted to see if he would laugh when he read it. For 34 years we’ve been cracking each other up when it is unexpected. I once got him to burst out laughing in the middle of mass on Sunday and he once had me laughing so hard, I fell out of the booth in a restaurant and no I wasn’t drinking. It is on my bucket list to get him to shoot milk out of his nose one day by laughing at something I said. I knew Van was a motor head when I married him so I picked up his auto mechanics textbook and read it cover to cover. Yes I know what lift and duration means in regards to a cam shaft. Van knows that I love him beyond belief and that if he wanted a car I would move heaven and earth to get it for him. Who do you think found his corvette then pushed him into buying it? Dude, I love this guy and thank God for him every day of my life and just so you know, he sits down and watches the final fashion show of Project Runway with me and makes great comments about fabric and cut. I wish for everyone to find the love my husband and I have found and the joy of having a great best friend I get to have sex with. See I made you smile!

      • Dave Wright

        Jules, The comment was not nessisary directed at you or yours, but a general statement about many (guys) here that say “there wife won’t let them” I would be embarrassed to even utter such a comment…….and my wife would be too. She does not nessisarley consult me on her decisions either. She is a professional engineer and knows a lot more than I do in her fields than I could ever hope to. We both enjoy each other’s fields and have total trust……I just don’t understand how it works any other way. I knew we would work well the first time I took her 3 decks down into a smelly, rusty tugboat engine room and she liked it……….

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        I have to say that my wife is completely supportive for all the gearhead stuff I do. She even marks the calendar so I won’t miss my car club meetings. She’s responsible for bringing home four of our relics, including her own ’57 Poncho. And last year, when our club took its turn hosting the annual Antique Auto Meet, my wife and I co-chaired the event. She doesn’t complain (much) when issues of Vintage Truck, Antique Power, Hemmings, V8 Times, and almost every other gearhead publication imaginable ooze out of every corner of the house. She’s a wonderful companion and I can’t imagine life without her. I might add that, while we don’t watch the figure skating competitions, I still watch chick flicks with her. She has a great sense of humor and I even had her laughing in church more than once. I still bear the bruises on my ribcage. She’s my soutmate, my playmate, my housekeeper, and my banker. I like to watch people’s faces when I tell them that I sleep with my banker. It’s a tough game when your spouse doesn’t support or put up with your various whims; I’ve got some friends who battle constantly just to go out to the garage without starting WWIII.

      • JW

        Well I’m one of those lucky guys who married a gearhead. She has her Mustang which is her 4th and I’ve had 4 GTO’s. Panel truck is next and will be my final project when the money is right for a quality job. I’m the financial planner in our house and I seldom tell the wife no but I say that a lot to myself which irritates her so she harps at me to buy tools when I’m window shopping at Sears or Harbor Freight but I’m the tightwad since I’m retired and she will be in 6 years so I have to explain that now is not the time to get car crazy. Now I must tell my wife to tell her friends she sleeps with her financial planner !!!

      • Jim

        I guess I’m responsible for getting us off track but I’m glad to hear you guys and gal have good partners so you can pursue whatever niche of the hobby you choose. Life’s like a roller coaster and the ride is so much better with the right person by your side. Julles, are you sure you don’t have an extra sister hidden somewhere?

      • van

        Well since you asked
        One sister would only go for a riding vacume cleaner for when the maids late
        One wouldn’t alow something old in her garage
        One doesn’t think this is proper for a Harvard professor
        All three have more money than us but I think we have more fun
        And she’s beautiful
        I lucked out

  12. George

    I would add a custom bed to look more like a pickup truck. Do we go fleetside or stepside? But keep create it in the style of pickups from that time period. This is one where a clear coat would actually make it look pretty cool. But only a gloss coat.

    • Matt Tritt

      This particular truck was made as a flatbed. A pickup bed would have to be so high that you couldn’t reach over the sides to get at things. Having dual wheels allows it to actually carry it’s intended payload, but that means that the bed must be a lot higher than the top of the tires.

      • Bobsmyuncle

        Its been quite a few years since your average 6′ male could reach over a bedside to grab anything.

    • Jim

      Personally I’d have to go stepside, especially with the dually rear, if would be more in style with the design of the truck. Some old trucks look horrible with modern beds, you’d have to pick carefully.

  13. Craig MacDonald

    It’s perfect for a guy out in the country who needs to haul wood, dirt, feed… As in, me.
    Drop in a fresh straight six, a T5, spray on a flat clear coat, and get to work. Just enough work on the interior (better pics would be nice) to make it decent. Yes please.

  14. CJay

    The ad list it as a 4speed with a “Brownie Box” and a 2 speed rear. A Brownie Box is a auxiliary transmission. Probably an under/direct ratio. The second shifter is visible with out a shifter knob in the one photo. 16 possible shift combinations. This enables the 6 cylinder to pull a lot of weight, but probably not fast.

    • Jim

      In low range you’d run out of gears at about 10-12 mph. Great if your coming out of a gravel pit or chasing a mountain goat!

  15. Matt Tritt

    I usually agree with most of the comments here, but for Pete’s sake. “clear coat with matte finish”? What in the ever-lovin world is wrong with repainting in the correct, original, color? The worn through steel look can be interresting in small doses, but this baby just looks like it’s been intentionally ruined with a Scotchbrite attack and rattlecan clear. Leaving it like this is like buying a pair of artificially worn out jeans and expecting oohs and awws. Give it the respect it deserves with a correct utility restoration.

  16. Dave Wright

    You are absolutely right…….what would the workers that built this old girl at the factory think about a scruffy junk look? They Worked hard to make them the best they could for there customers when new, it deserves the same consideration now.

  17. CJay

    I don’t think they cleared it yet… It looks like the bumper and bottom of the door is almost dry. It looks like they sprayed it with some water then snapped the photo. The driveway and parts of the tires are wet.

    • Matt Tritt

      I think you’re right. Instant surface rust!

  18. SunbeamerStu

    I’m with Matt and Dave. This truck deserves better than a hipster clear coat. Give it the respect it’s due and return it to a look that the factory workers would take pride in seeing on the streets.

    Gramps was a proud, truck drivin’ Teamster all his years, and this rig is from his era. If I ever pulled up in a vehicle that looked like this, he’d have disowned me.

  19. Matt Tritt

    Yep. He might have paid for a paint job for you.

  20. Fogline

    Love it except for those dents. I could put it to work.

    Only 4 hours away…..hmm…..

  21. seth

    Looks like a military trailer bed on the back

    • Dave Wright

      Yep……

      • Matt Tritt

        But it’s interesting how the wheel opening is exactly where it needs to be. A vintage stakeside bed would be the thing…

  22. Zenaldo

    This truck would haul most of today’s pickups…

  23. Doug Towsley

    I love it, Yep a classy ride like this needs a good rich Chinese red color. dont go crazy on the restore, its an industrial machine,. A nice flatbed with stakesides would look good but im not a diesel guy, but a nice Cummins setup from a Dodge seems like a good way to go. A wrecked Dodge with the parts to upgrade this is not cheap even at auction, but would be a glorius marriage of new and old. Set up right this would be a great long hauler for events and family vacations pulling a trailer. I know a guy in Colorado who attends national rallys and races with a 1963 Bread truck updated in similar fashion.

  24. geomechs geomechs Member

    This truck needs the resto treatment; it’s too complete to do anything else. However, if by chance the new owner wants to change the motor to a diesel, bear in mind that it probably won’t go much faster than the engine that currently powers this beast. A Cummins 5.9 has more power and economy but I don’t think it will be any smoother. Or course the choice of transmissions would be better than the crash box that is in this truck. Rear end ratios will be limited unless you swap out the entire third member. And if you’re going to do that, then you’ll want to change the front end as well. The list goes on and on…

    • Doug Towsley

      Its a slippery slope, however if you can pick up a wrecked truck with a cummins diesel you can adapt most of the parts you need which the most cost effective way to do something like this.
      I would like to point out you comment on “Economy” Bingo! a well maintained Cummins can go forever before needing expensive repairs and with the right transmission can give excellent fuel economy. Note that Dodge finally came back out with manual transmissions and they sell faster than the factory can make them. I heard they added extra shifts to keep up with demand. But the point i wish to make is, Original and restored has its place but is of limited value if it renders the vehicle largely undrivable. Cool old iron like this needs to appreciated and out on the road. Keeping the vintage scene alive.

      • Jim

        I’m with you on keeping the vintage look but make the vehicle more user friendly. Not that I have no faith in the older trucks but if I’m pulling a car trailer 3 states away to go racing the Cummins will allow me to cruise at highway speed and steep grades won’t be an issue. On the outside chance you lose a water pump or alternator, most chain auto stores can help, good luck finding parts for a beast that’s been out of production 50yrs.

    • Matt Tritt

      That’s the issue, alright. It’s hard to remember that trucks of the 40’s and 50’s were really much the same as those from the 30’s and that they didn’t have a top speed that necessitated great brakes. If you change anything, you have to change everything. Why not make it nice, leave it original and take that 10 year old F-250 Diesel when you need to go somewhere far away, fast?

      • Jim

        Matt, my way of doing things is to drive and use all my vehicles. Personally I wouldn’t spend a bunch of money and a hundred or a thousand hours making something right and barely using it. I’m not throwing rocks at guys who do nut and bolt perfect restorations, it’s a lot if work and the vehicles look like brand new. And you have to be very dedicated to avoid the temptation to use new common parts. I’d keep the vintage look on the exterior and probably the interior but make the drivetrain modern and a/c is a must. I’m disabled and some of my meds won’t allow me be in very hot temps. Hey, it’s fun being me!

  25. stillrunners stillrunners

    yes rare….and we like it ! Seth got it….military bed might be some money to someone else with a military resto vehicle….so sell the bed and lower the investment….do you see an okay to buy it from the wifey yet ?

    • Jim

      A few years ago I went with a friend to a military vehicle show about an hour from Philadelphia. I always knew guys collected military equipment but I have to top my hat to those guys. They’re just as dedicated if not more so than us car/truck guys and gals. A big assortment of everything American, some English, German, even a French half-track that was smaller than a minivan and held 2 people. Those guy REALLY know how to scrounge and source parts. It’s something to see at least once even if it’s not your regular stop.

  26. Bobsmyuncle

    For those confused by the clearcoat/water/paint it is just a popular photographic effect. Oversaturation is a ‘thing’ especially in the automotive world.

    Personally I think the paint looks great as is, though it surely has been helped along and along with the saturation effect tells me the seller has high hopes.

  27. Jim

    I wish the guy wouldn’t have removed whatever paint was on the truck. It wasn’t a great decision I think.

  28. Howard A Member

    Judging by the comments, I’m not hearing a lot for original drive train and that’s ok. Actually, your local auto parts store ( pick one) may surprise you for mechanical parts. If it has what the seller sez it has, like CJay sez, a 4 speed + 2 speed ( or 3 speed?) Brownie AND a 2 speed rear axle, this thing should do triple digits,,,on paper, of course. Naturally, you’d be crazy to do that in this truck, and the motor would never pull it, but as is, I bet it cruises pretty nice at 55 or 60. Depending on what you want to do, like use it everyday, then I’d just take the cab and fenders off and put them on a late model pickup frame. Best of both worlds.

  29. geomechs

    A lot of good comments (both pro and con restoration). If it was mine, I’d restore it completely, right down to the crash box and 6V system. I’d also use it. And if I had to haul something fast, like Matt Tritt mentioned, I’d take my 10 year old (well 14 now) 3/4 ton. If I was to upgrade it to a more modern powertrain, there would come the time when I’d want to have it original again, and I’d be too old by then.

    • Dave Wright

      Well said…………..

    • Matt Tritt

      Yes indeed. Double-clutching is my kind of aerobics!

  30. Bobsmyuncle

    I think the original drive train would grow old quickly for anyone living in a metropolitan area.

    • Dave Wright

      Metropolitan dweller? What metropolitan dweller would even have the room or sence to buy a great old girl like this. They love there Honda’s and Lexus’s. That is where they need to stay.

      • Bobsmyuncle

        Umm well judging by statistics (81%)… most of us LOL.

      • Dave Wright

        And that is the problem. Also why I live in Idaho. Where the city dwellers have not yet overpowered the real people.

      • JW

        I second that !!!

      • Bobsmyuncle

        That’s only moderately offensive.

        I’d refute with some equally ignorant and short sighted comment about country folk but not only do I have more class, I don’t entirely disagree.

  31. Matt Tritt

    My daughter and her family live in San Francisco, which is pretty-much as metropolitan as it gets. She grew up here in small town San Luis Obispo county but had to leave for a good paying teaching job and I can’t say that I blame her. She loves being able to have access to the rich cultural diversity there, and I suspect that I’d consider doing something similar if I were in her shoes. There’s a lot to say for both ways of life, but I think it’s correct to say that owning a vehicle like this truck in a bustling city is a recipe for disaster; besides that there’s no place to even park something that won’t be in harm’s way or In the way. Stakeside trucks like this were once used for plenty of city work, but today? I don’t think so.

    • PhxBarbie

      I have a vivid imagination, and this truck makes me want to move out of the burbs and get a horse:-))

      • Matt Tritt

        Seems like a good reason to me.

  32. Texas Tea

    This has to be a record for the most comments for any listing ever posted.

    Very nice and enjoyed reading them all. I can hardly believe no one has purchased this neat old truck yet.

    I do love the Barn Finds Website…………………..

    • Dave Wright

      Naw………probably the one asking if they should become flippers……that was huge

  33. van

    I’m noticing that when we get off topic things get more interesting.
    Most of us, I pray, love our wives
    We all agree on many things
    We mostly respect each other
    If we won the lottery we would all need a huge garage
    I need room for a Pullman rail car, a 75′ plus Trumpy motor yacht, A Grumman Mallard.
    I’d buy everything needing restoration and spread my money around the guys who do the work.
    Now let’s play ball

    • Dave Wright

      That is a curious list. I have owned all of those in one form or another, my biggest “yacht” was a Fedship……I like them better than the mostly wood Trumphys. I owned and operated a HU16, we used it on a government contract and have either been involved with or owned a fair amount of railroad rolling stock. It is all fun stuff and crosse over between the fields are common. I have owned a lot of airplanes and prefer the larger stuff. Many people are intimidated by the size and complexity of bigger than common machines……I have always thrived on them. I can buy a 100 foot motor yacht or a 20 passenger aircraft cheeper than what a common sportsfisher or Cessna would sell for. All fun stuff…………….

      • Matt Tritt

        Holy SMokes! A Feadship? Probably the best yachts ever made in the Netherlands!

      • van

        Dave you might be my hero
        Don’t give me your address
        I’ll be stopping by unexpectedly

      • Dave Wright

        Yes…….I bought it at an auction in Vancouver. It needed refit but did run and go. I sold it to a guy in Alaska. It was a small one about 80 feet. I bid on another one a few years ago in Florida that was built by an uncle to the current Feadship owner. It was great too but I already owned over 1000 tons of boats and didn’t need the distraction, so let it go. I do love the Dutch steel boats, it is one of the reasons we spent so much time in Holland last year.

    • Matt Tritt

      Our family had no less than two friends who owned private Pullman railcars. They were original and perfect at the time, but I’m not so sure that it’s the ideal way to travel – being at the mercy of the railroad all the time. The Trumpy is a better idea, as long as you have it some place like Lake Union where the narrow beam isn’t a problem. If you know what I mean.

      • Dave Wright

        I used to know people that had a Pulman car converted to living quarters. They would park it in Montana in the summer and Arizona in the winter. It cost 2.00 a mile to be towed by the Amtrack, I think the inspection required each time they moved it was more expensive than the actual move. The other challenge is finding a nice siding you can rent to park it on. I think there was one they liked in Flagstaff and there were several in Montana they liked. I know of several cars that are leased like a party bus to take groups to places like the super bowl. Don’t know if they really make any money overall but could be a party!!! I bought several cars and locomotives from the Army mostly and scrapped one in central California to get the EMD engine. It is interesting equipment.

  34. Charles

    My wife is pretty cool! She only has one rule. All of my stuff has to fit inside of our garage. She does not want a bunch of stuff sitting around outside making the house look bad. She does allow one exception, in that she allows the race car trailer to sit outside next to the garage because it is too tall to fit inside. I don’t feel that her rule is unreasonable. It helps that the previous owners of our home ran a heating and AC business from the building that we use as the garage. The building is 2100 square feet, so there is lots of room for DD’s as well as some collectables and some junk. The wife has no problem with my assorted collection as long as it remains inside.

    Van, when you win the lottery please share pictures of your Pullman car, motor yacht, and Grumman Mallard. That sounds like a nice collection.

    • Dave Wright

      I guess that was the point of my orignal off topic post. There are so many great women out there………why would you stay with someone that didn’t share or appreciate your passions? My boys all have great young wives that either participate in or totally support there activities whether it be motorcycle racing, guns, horses. Or whatever. and for Matt Tritt……. You know I love you….we all have tomes where we need to live where we can make a proper living. My boys work in the city nearly every day but they all have at least a 10 acre ranch in Discovery bay where they live. That city is crazy making. I have a letter written by my great grandfather that lived there for a few years around the turn of the century……..it was like regaining his freedom when he bought the northern Idaho ranch and moved his family. Same as today. The other thing that has always made me uneasy about living in the city is your total dependence on other people for your very existence. If the power quits, or someone does not bring you food, fuel, your money is no good or you can’t get to it, what do you do? In my 13 year military career I have seen all those things. I am not afraid, just wary. History does repeat itself.

      • Matt Tritt

        Which is why I live at least two hours away from every big city in this part of California. The bigger the city, the bigger the problems. When my great grandfather came to California via clipper ship from New Hampshire in 1862, SF was the roughest city in the US. He went to work on a Spanish land grant rancho in Healdsburg as a vaquero where all there was to worry about were rustlers and drought, not desperate, failed miners. I think the family even has a couple streets named after his side in the bay area, but he was no a huge fan either. I’ve always “been meaning” to move up to far Northern Ca or Southern Oregon, but it’s never worked out because of family and commitments. Lately the talk’s been about Shasta, but I think I might have just too much inertia to uproot! When people come to visit from elsewhere, they always say they’d give anything to live in such a nice rural environment – which is why our nice rural environment is getting to be so clogged with people. ;-)

  35. Dave Wright

    So…….come and visit us in Idaho……we shoot my silenced machine guns off the back porch……and are building a new 12 car garrage this year. My best friend is the undersheriff…….. He shoots here too. We know all the politicians, many have been to the house for dinner. We have the most conservitive member of the Senate, the only modern Governor that broke his ribs last year by falling out of his barn rafters while trying to do a repair. His wife was in a cast from falling off her roping pony during a potluck championship in Oregon. We have no debt, low taxes 80 MPH speed limits, plenty of water and I live near the deepest canyon on the continent. We have elk, deer, mountain lions and bear in our back yard.

  36. Matt Tritt

    Hope the tobacco and firearms people aren’t reading any of this! ;-)

  37. Dave Wright

    Nope……………everything licensed and legal. They already know!!!!!

  38. Julles

    I’ll bet your house is cool
    I’m wondering if we could add the occasional train, plane or boat to this sight.
    they must be old and cool. I check boats.com for boats over 75′, built before 1940, under $100,000. I found a yacht from 1889 that belonged to the Vanderbilts with diesel power from the 50s it was under $20,000 and was in the water.
    another time I found a 1958 diesel submarine, the navy removed all weapon systems.
    I found a listing for steam locomotives from Cuba.
    I even found listings for an F86 and a MiG 15, I would have more dog fights now than they had then.
    Van

  39. Dave Wright

    All that kind of stuff is readily available, many times for not that much money. I was good friends with Jack Tomlin, he collected all sorts of tanks, armor and artillery. When first stationed at March AFB I got to know Gary Levitz, the heir to the Levitz furniture fortune. I got to ride in his F86 at that time. He was later killed at the Reno air races. He kept most of his planes at the Chino airport. There are lots of steam locomotives around that are available to buy. Many were set in city parks 50 years ago and they would like to get rid of them……the lawyers and liability. I find live steam terrifying, all the steam powered paddle wheelers eventually blew up killing thousands of people. There have been several steam powered farm tractors that blew up while being run at county fairs and tractor shows. That is one of the main reasons that Diesel became popular so quickly when it came available. One of my tugs was built in 1904 at the Baltimore ship yard. The government bought it before it was finished and sent it around the horn to serve as a “boarding steamer” for the Angel island immigration center. It would meet incoming ships so doctors could inspect the immigrants for health problems. Anyone sick was taken to the Angel Island hospital and quarantined until healthy or sent back to there own country. Later, it was repowered several times, the engine in it now is a 16 cylinder Cleveland 378 (cubic inches per cylinder) that makes 2000 horsepower at 720 RPM. It was the most powerful tug on the west coast for a time, lots of stories and history. It was used in San Francisco to fight fires and rescue people after the 1906 earthquake. It is a very early steel hulled boat. All this stuff is fun. The challenge is finding enough work for them so they can earn there keep. We have cut up a lot of historic vessels and airplanes that were just too far gone to do anything else with. It is a shame, we do try to salvage as many significant artifacts that we can but that is all that can be done.

    • van

      Talk about an analog man
      I feal as though I’d be happier on a steam locomotive than on a computer.
      A couple of years ago a steam locomotive was taken to a college research team to try using modern components and technology to make it a viable option. I need to track that down and see what happened.

      • Dave Wright

        Van……..there is a really nice 88′ Pulman car for sale by the army right now. Stainless steel…….looks great starting bid 3000.

  40. PhxBarbie

    My old boyfriend had a P-51 Mustang, hangered at the El Monte CA airport. He had it stripped down to bare metal and fully restored. The work was done out at Chino. He was good friends with the Hintons there.

    His tow vehicle was a WWII jeep which was used to jump the Rolls Royce Merlin engine. It was a really gorgeous pristine plane that was a blast to fly in.

    Everyone in the tower at the airport loved it, so each time we flew he’d request permission for a high speed low altitude fly by under the auspice of needing a gear check:-))

    Nothing like flying 450mph past the tower. I have the best memories of flying in that plane. Zero gravity rolls… We buzzed the grandstands at th NHRA Winternationals one year. The Pomona Airport was across the street and he requested the old gear check again. Wheeee!

    Interesting that people who have a love of horsepower and hot cars, also often have an interest in fast planes, fire power and military vehicles. I guess as the cash flow increases so does the number of collections.

    I’ve shot a fully auto M-16, Ouzi, Tek 9 and Mac 10. I had a 454 Casull that I shot 300 grain hot loads in, and a custom one of a kind sihouette gun built by my friend and gunsmith John French. It had a Seiko 308 upper receiver, with a very shot barrel. I was addicted to the recoil. I loved shooting that gun so much I bought military 308 ammo in battle packs. When I left the range my hands were so numb I could hardly shift my car.

    Now I have permanent nerve damage in both wrists. Kind of embarrassed to tell the doctor it’s from shooting large caliber handguns.

    And yeah, I’ve had the opportunity to own and/or experience a wide range of really cool vehicles. Everything from muscle cars to a 930 Turbo Porsche to Lamborghii Countach to Maserati to the WWII jeep and a weapons carrier.

    Finding this little website has been great. I love reading everyone’s stories. Lots of great memories and really nice people. The weird thing is I can’t even recall how I came across it.

    The other day there was a ’57 Hillman Husky. A rusty heap. I was very surprised to see it had back windows. You see I had a Husky too, but it was a panel truck. 96″ wheelbase.

    Mine was a drag racer. It was actually street legal in Cali, how I do not know, as it came with wheelie bars. When I got it, it was black with flames. It had a 396 in it that the owner wanted to keep. So my boyfriend put a new crate LS-7 454 big block in it, with a new turbo 400 trans.

    I sent my brother in Chicago a pic of it which he put up in his office where it was immediately recognized by his coworkers as the infamous “Tonka Toy” that was raced all over in the 70s. Back then it had an orange paint job.

    Anyway the same day the Husky was on this website there was also a mention of a wheel off a Triumph TR-250, which I am also intimately acquainted with. It was only made for one year, 1968. It was the bridge between the TR-4 and the TR-6, and the first year they came with a 6 cylinder engine. They have a distinctive stripe across the end of the hood.

    That was my car my senior year in high school. So you guys are touching on a lot of great memories for me.

    Thanks you all kind of made my weekend😊

    • Dave Wright

      I knew a guy named Rob Collard….(I think that was his name) at the time I was working for the Wing Commander at March as the wing historian. I was the only enlisted guy that reported directly to my 06 boss. Rob was a Captian pilot that flew General Pitts T39. He bought the P51 that had been at the Cars of the Stars museum in Anaheim. We towed it in one piece down the highway with police escort in the middle of the night to a hanger at the Corona airport. He disassembled and began restoring it. It only had ferry time since new but had been repainted maby half a dozen times with cheep,paint. Every time they changed the scene it was in, it got a new paint job. So Rob started striping it in his spare time. One day he was working on it in his room at the BOQ. The chemicals got into the ventilation system and the entire facility had to be evacuated for a week. Had it been anyone else doing anything else he would have been in serious trouble. Eventually he got the old girl back together. A well known AF General died unexpectedly and they wanted to do a fly by at his old base…..Offut I think…… They made a deal with Rob to fly his P51 back and participate in the ceremony. They paid for his fuel and whatever else. Well, my office was next to the commanders in the old tower building, all of a sudden the entire building shook and this huge roar zoomed by my window to the flight line. It emptied the entire building. It was Rob. He had gotten permission to do a flyby. All the Colonels and Generals showed up on the flight line…..me too off course. He was landing to take on fuel for his flight. I knew General Pitts well, he was like a little kid, so excited he could hardly stand himself. We were a B52-KC135 base and used to a lot of noise and commotion……but nothing was like that. It must have been 1973-74. I was driving a Porsche 356 Karman notchback. Great times.

      • PhxBarbie

        Yes! You don’t hear the plane until it’s long gone, those props slice through the air like butter, but you do feel the rumble right before the roar!

        You should hear the way they crackle and pop while you’re idling on the runway and then taxi out for takeoff. Wonderful!

        Not sure what I loved more, the sound or the power. He was very generous in giving rides to other people.It was always fun to see how nervous and excited people were to fly in a Mustang.

        Afterwards he had these certificates for them that he had printed up with a sketch of the plane in the background. Very official looking, that certified you had flown in a P-51, and then a bunch of verbiage ending with… did not throw up in plane:-))

        I could always see him coming in the distance on approach, that shiny prop blindingly bright, reflecting the afternoon sun..

        Yes, you’re right. Great times.

      • Matt Tritt

        Good story! BTW, I flew in a 2 passenger P-51 at the Santa Ana Marne Corps Blimp Base when I was a kid. My best friend’s dad was some kind of mucky-muck in the Marines and wangled the ride for me. It was FAST and, being a tail dragger, you couldn’t see the runway out the front. I did almost barf. My dad built “wing boats” for Paul Mantz and his gang and their converted PBY “flying yachts”, so I got to see a lot of really cool aircraft. And, my 34 Packard 12 roadster ended up at Cars of the Stars when it was in Thousand Oaks. Another dumb stroy.

      • Dave Wright

        Were those the PBY’s with couches built into the waist gunners positions that they used to water ski behind near Catalina? Very cool stuff.

    • Matt Tritt

      What a coinsidence. I also have wrist and thumb damage from pistols. In may case it was probably the Colt 45 Bisley or a civil war vintage Remington 44 cap and ball converted to metallic cartridges during the Spanish American war (by the armory). Talk about thumb busters! I had a WWI Luger that was an actual joy to shoot, and a WW II P38 that was even better. Virtually no recoil and incredibly accurate. I was on a battalion pistol team in the Army in Germany but had a hard time even nicking the paper with an off the rack 45. Terrbile gun. The Bundeswehr team guys were getting great groups with their standard issue P-38’s – as tight as our 1st Lt. with his 2 thousand dollar accurized non-issue 45.

      • PhxBarbie

        The price you pay for shooting big guns:))

        My thumbs are ok but my middle finger on right hand is toast. I’ve had surgery on it, it’s just permanently swollen, painful and doesn’t bend very well. The 308 would twist on recoil and nail that middle finger every time I fired the gun. And I fired it a lot:)

        My wrists are very painful and tingly, hands fall asleep. Surgery for that too on right hand. I’ve had minimal success with these hand surgeries, but wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve had a blast shooting big guns. No pun intended:-))

        I don’t shoot anymore because I stubbornly refuse to shoot anything smaller than a 45, and if I go out to the desert and pop off a 45 all afternoon I’m suffering the consequences for weeks.

        Arghhh…

  41. Dave Wright

    In the strictest term, nucular power is steam power. But oil fired steam is very inefficient. I owned a great 278 foot ex USCG cutter that was laying on the east coast. It was built in the 30’s and had been upgraded to the latest Babcock and Wilcox steam turbine power plants in the 50’s. We did the math on bringing her through the canal to the west coast. It burned something 20 times the diesel fuel as a modern recriprocaring engine. They made tremendous power but we’re also tremendously thirsty. I am sure that modern controls could increase the efficacy but not over 20 times. There are some steam locomotives still running in England that will run with the most modern high speed trains, huge massive behemoths that are fascinating to study and maby even ride on but not economical enough for practical modern use.

  42. van

    Anything with an engine can be cool.
    Is a gun a single cylinder one stroke

    • Dave Wright

      Pretty clever………so does than make my revolvers 6 cylinders? I really like my horse drawn stuff too. As an old carriage collector told me one time, “we have been making cars for 100 years…….we have been building carriages for 10,000”

      • PhxBarbie

        Dave you know my 454 Casull only held 5 rounds. Due to size and weight of those 300 grain rounds I imagine. 260 grain rounds are available but not as much fun. Some people used these guns for big game hunting.

      • Dave Wright

        Yes, I know the Casull well. The biggest advantage was the ability to shoot straight 45 Long Colt with the same gun…….thereby not having to endure the recoil of the layered Casull charge all the time. I shot a coyote yesterday with my 44 mag. He was after my neighbors (3 miles away) chickens. I own many guns, always have (not allowed to say how many). This spring we are building a full size 3″ mountian howitzer to play with. This age is pretty tough, few of us escape it’s ravages and we all pay for how we treated our bodies when young. My dad (and mom) died last fall while we were in Europe. He ran his automotive shop for 50 years or so. About 20 years ago he picked up some sinus cancer, I remember well that when they used to do brake work, they would use the air hose and just blow off all the asbestos dust, made a big cloud in the shop. Who knew? They got the cancer alright but left him with side effects the rest of his life. We shoot a lot of pistols here at the ranch and they are fun, but as my buddy the Sherrif says……he uses his pistol to fight to get to his rifle (or shotgun) , a much more effective weapon. You sound like a wonderful woman……..the kind that a lot of the guys on here say they would like!!!!.

      • PhxBarbie

        Dave, Sorry to hear about your parents. My mom is 85 and extremely active. She will probably outlive me! Germans are tough as nails.

        When I was young I never thought I’d live past 25. I was wild, reckless, and totally fearless. I was hell on wheels. We had horses, dirt bikes and snowmobiles growing up. When I began driving cars I was a hazard for sure.

        Right after I got my drivers license I took my dad’s car to “the library”. The next day he asked me if I was driving fast, and I said of course not. He then asked me why his sunglasses that had been on the dash, were laying on the floor in the back seat? Hehe.

        I loved racing and driving really fast. Shirley Muldowney was my idol. I was severely disappointed that I had not been born a Petty, Unser, or Andretti.

        I appreciate your kind words, but I decided at 11 I was never getting married or having kids. I’ve always been very feisty and independent. I’ve had a few boyfriends that could appreciate that but it takes a very confident and secure individual. I’ve found that I intimidate a lot of guys. And I’m 5-2:-))

        I’m quite content to live with my furry pack of big dogs. I’ve had nothing but rotties for 30yrs. I broke with tradition in October and got two new puppies, sisters that are half Bernese Mountain Dog and half Rottie.

        They are pretty huge. Joey already hit 80lbs at 24wks old. Tiger is always about 5lbs less. My vet was shocked. She’d never dealt with an 80lb puppy who still had baby teeth. They are my kids! I do have a soft heart for animals.

        I also have Tobey who is 140lbs and Miss Stevie who is a petite 65lbs. She is the alpha dog and keeps things running pretty tight around here. She may be the smallest but she’s the toughest. Everyone is afraid to walk in front of her, in case she’s in a bad mood. It’s very funny. My buddy says Stevie is like my mini me:-))

        It sounds like you have a great life going in Idaho. I’m intrigued in what you actually do for a living? Some kind of military salvage? It sounds so eclectic.

        I hope I am not being too personal. I’m very analytical, and have an actively inquiring mind. I always have a million questions. The who, what, where, when, why and how?

        Another weird coincidence was my old boyfriend had two anatolians just like yours, until he switched over to rotties when I got mine.

        Good talking with you😎

        B.

      • Dave Wright

        I spent 13 years in the USAF. The last 7 in combat rescue. Started a trucking company while still in the service…..my dad owned a couple of them…..I have been buying surplus since 1973 either for equipment to use or resell. I have had few employers……..unless you count customers. I bought a marine salvage company in Santa Barbera in about 1989 that I still own and operate but I am slowing down. We have done a lot,of work for the government and other groups. That old age and health stuff. I have owned several businesses, a Hydraulic company, a horse drawn carriage busisness, lots of aircraft related stuff. Whatever catches my interest and looks like there might be a profit. Never really got rich, just comfortable and have had a great time getting here. I have always valued and enjoyed my freedom. At this point I am frustrated after working a lifetime gathering knowledge and experiance to lose my ability to put it all to use. I do OK, just not as much as I would like. My email is argonaut110@yahoo.com we are probably boring the other contributors.

      • Dave Wright

        I forgot my foreign car shops, owned them for many years both in Germany and Utah.

  43. Matt Tritt

    Barbie – I haven’t fired a pistol in years, and almost as long for any of my small rifle collection. I pretty much got my fill of loud noises (besides music) in the Army in the 60’s. All I have now is Hi Standard (not!) 9 shot 22 revolver I got when I was 16 that I almost completely wore out. I have a few non-autoloading rifles – the newest being a Marlin 30-30 saddle carbine from about 1955, and the oldest an 1845 48 cal. half-stock plains rifle. Truth is that I won’t shoot anything that’s alive and my ears can’t handle the short barrel ka-boom anymore. What a wus! 45’s are pretty fun all right. I keep thinking I “need” one again, but not enough to pay what they go for these days. My last really fun handgun was a Walther PPK that I kept on my boat when I lived aboard. That thing made me feel uncomfortably invincible.

  44. Matt Tritt

    Barbie – I was going to ask if you’ve ever tried acupuncture? It works pretty well for me.

    • PhxBarbie

      Hi Matt,

      I have tried acupuncture before but not for my hands and wrists. Definitely worth a try, thanks for the suggestion.

      I have an appt coming up the end of March with a rheumatologist for a consult to see if I may be experiencing rheumatoid arthritis. I’m pretty darn miserable and I’m no wimp. It’s affecting my joints big time.

      I hadn’t even thought to try acupuncture. Good call, thanks!

      • Matt Tritt

        Sorry to hear about this. Damned arthritis is a real pain. Whatever I have has been slowly and persistently gaining ground for quite a few years now, and started by me thinking I was still 20 – throwing a baseball. Pretty sure that my shoulder problems are related to shooting skeet and that damned M14 loaned to me by Uncle Sam.

        Acupuncture and herbal therapy can do wonders as long as you find the right person, but it also can take some time to show results. I’ve been using it since 1984 or so and I’m sure it’s the reason I do as well as I do. I also over did it a lot when I was young and (even more) stupid and I know what you mean. One of my dad’s cars was a Ferrari 250 GT that nearly got me killed several times– but the one that was Really fun was a 49 Lancia Aprilia, right hand drive with an aluminum body. Gads, what a great handling car! Dad also built some of the very first fiberglass bodied cars – the Glasspar G-2 – and one was the factory race car. We spent a couple years in the pits while it was being campaigned and picked up the speed bug pretty seriously. The car was known as the Glasspar Mameco-Ardun Special and was extremely fast. I had a great childhood. If you google Bill Tritt Glasspar you can see some of the stuff he designed and built.

  45. Matt Tritt

    Dave W. Yep. They were mainly used by former Navy pilots for South Sea island hopping and exploring. Talk about the right way to have fun! PBY’s are pretty good for landing/taking off in moderate chop – the ideal aircraft.

    • Jim

      Matt, I’ve heard of the namd Glasspar associated with a number of very early fiberglass kit cars, if I remember right he came up with thr process to produce a fiberglass honeycomb with a thin veneer of fiberglass on either side, very strong stuff. Ardun is legendary especially for developing and racing flathead engines going back to the late twenties. I’ll have to look up the car, it was probably quite innovative.

      • PhxBarbie

        Matt, I read up on your dad. Wow! I’m so impressed, and you absolutely must have had a wonderful childhood. Living in Southern California and growing up around fast cars and boats?!! Doesn’t get any better than that my friend.

        I’m curious if your dad had any health problems related to working with all that fiberglass?

        What an amazingly cool legacy! So I’m curious, did you take up sailing and driving sports cars? What do you drive now? Do you still live in the OC?

        B.😊

      • Matt Tritt

        Dad designed and built the G-2 in 51 as both a kit and as a factory built car. Production continued up to 55 (as I remember). The factory racing car had a very highly modified and beefed-up flathead Mercury with Ardun heads, 3 Stromberg 98’s, a Lincold Zephyr tansmission and Lincoln Continental rear end (locking). The chassis was custom made by Mameco, later by Shorty Post. Honeycomb FG sandwitch construction was never used in the cars. The other cars he produced at Glasspar were the Ascot and the Volvo Sport. The Ascot was Studebaker-based and the Volvo was – well – Volvo. The Ascot was going to be the Studebaker entry into the sportscar field, and it should have been, but the board of directors changed and they stopped the project. Grrr.

        The Glasspar factory car was the fastest American sportscar on the circuit in 53, easily beating the Cad Allards, Ferraris, Porsches and Cunninghams – but plagued with reliability issues associated with modified Detroit components.

  46. Howard A Member

    What was this thread about again??? :)

    • Dave Wright

      Freedom and fun

      • Howard A Member

        Sounds like you’re from Texas. YEEE-HAW.

  47. van

    All I can say is wow
    Don’t suppose you guys like sight hounds and Frank Loyd Wright

    • PhxBarbie

      Van,

      The last home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright before his passing is now up for sale here in Phoenix. I’m sure you could google for FLW home for sale Phx AZ and get some pics. It’s nothing like Falling Water but still a classic:-))

      B.

      • van

        Thanks barbie I’ll check it out
        Went to falling water last year
        The photos don’t do it justice
        Now if I could just see a Gaudi

      • van

        Took a look
        It’s very cool
        What’s nuts, the kitchen is reminiscent of a Spartan Carousel

      • Dave Wright

        I have studied Frank Loyd a lot for obvious reasons. His designs are still being built today. As my engineer wife points out……,he was an artist with a terrible sence of engineering. He gave the poor builders fits. Falling waters took something like 3 times the steel he specified just to keep it from falling down. His cost overruns were legendary. He also designed many smaller homes and I really don’t care for many of them either. He liked small (cozy?) rooms and by today’s standards they feel clostraphobic. Off course, he loved to design everything in the house as well, down to the dishes and all the decorations. I had a chance to buy one of his cars from my old buddy Rolls Royce Dealer Tony Handler. Probably should have bought it. He did a lot of work in Arizona and Southern California in his later years. He was always a step ahead of the bill collectors. Very interesting guy.

  48. Dave Wright

    No sight hounds but I do appreciate them. I have 3 Anatolian shepherds these days. At 125 lbs or over, they handle coyotes and the occasional cougar well. My renters and other neighbors have scent hounds and off course there are lots of stock dogs here. All incredible workers. I had German Wirehair pointers for many years, after hunting with them in Germany, I brought some home when I returned. We mostly feed the birds here at the ranch. Have hundreds of quail, pheasants, checkers and a few sage hens, the Anatolians don’t bother them or my longest relationship, my Green Wing Macaw Merlin. I am sure all of we Wrights are related somewhere, including the brothers. I am back about 15 generations in genealogy, lots of interesting characters, one was an officer with Oliver Cromwell and another was the most sought after (by the French) pirate of his time. History is wonderful, one of the reasons I like old cars.

  49. van

    Yes I had an amazon parrot for 5 years until I got two whippet. The bird felt neglected when we spent all our time with dogs.
    Sight hounds are always sweet and lovable, but with a Borzoi you have to do dead animal checks every few days to clear the yard of racoons, opossum, dear and the occasional cat. I worried the dead animal smell in the trash would get us in trouble. I would have liked to see the trash man’s face when he found dear legs sticking out the can.
    I think if I could show a relationship to Frank Lloyd Wright I’d demand a vip tour of falling water.

  50. Matt Tritt

    Hey B. It was fun alright. I didn’t mention the guns and cars either, but he had a thing for Packards, in particular. Our family car in the late 40’s early 50’s was a 34 Packard Super Eight touring. Then it was a 48 Mark IV Jag drophead coupe. He started collecting Kentucky rifles when he was a kid in the 20’s and continued up until moving to Jamaica in 1970, and I was given my first gun when I was 10. Some of my boyhood friend’s parents (the mothers) were really worried about me and having their kid’s put in harm’s way. :-) We had a great Alden Schooner and access to plenty of the boats he was building all the time. He was raised on an orange ranch in Villa Park and we spent time with my grandmother there and at the family cabin in “old” Big Bear. I spent lots of time at the beach surfing (Big and Little Corona mainly) and basically running wild.

    I did take up sailing (and boat building) and fast cars. I was also had a yacht sales biz in SB, lived on a couple of boats, ran boats for other people – mainly old schooners. The fast car thing I gave up by default, you could say. I got into British motorcycles instead, which pretty-much got that living on the edge thing out of my blood after several real close calls. I have more competitive genes than is probably good for me. What about you?

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