Monday, May 25, 2015

Old Trucks

I was paging through my Twitter feed and stopped short at this old dump truck.

I always always stop to look at old cars and trucks but this one really caught my attention because I think it's the same kind of truck I drove once for awhile. Just after I got out of the US Army in 1978 I got a job at a little screw machine shop just south of Bridgman, MI. They had a small flat bed straight truck I'd use to take the parts they made to a chrome plating plant in Michigan City, IN, and then I delivered the parts to their main customer, a little factory in Niles, MI.

The two brothers who owned the screw machine shop wanted to expand it and had to fill in some of their property, and they had an old dump truck sitting out back. Another employee, an actual mechanic, and I got it running and I spent about a month ferrying sand from a place north of Bridgman where they mined Lake Michigan sand dunes and sold it to factories that used it in glass making or to make molds in foundries. Silica sand, they called it, after it was dried out and cleaned of sticks and stones, but I just got the raw sand, which they sold to me for $1 a dump truck load, $2 when the big boss found out.

They had a massive front end loader they used to keep the conveyor into the plant going and I'd sit and wait until the driver had a minute to fill me up, which he could do with one scoop, about four cubic yards, I think. I could take about half a bucket full and once to be funny he gave me a whole bucket full, which almost buried me dump truck and all.

It was about a five mile round trip up there and back and when that dump truck was loaded it took almost until I was back to the screw machine shop to get it up to its full speed of about 50 mph.

This photograph is by a guy named Tony Baca, who lives in Canon City, Colorado, and describes himself as "A self taught photographer that likes to photograph many subjects, My favorite would be old cars and trucks. I am also avid geocacher and jeeper."

Tony Baca is on Twitter and also has a web site where he sells his photos on "archival paper, canvas, metal and acrylic." I didn't know you could do that. He does some beautiful work.

Baca calls the truck an "old Chevrolet 4100 dump truck." Looking around the internet a little it looks they were made between 1948 and 1954. It's a 1 1/2 ton, someone posted on a forum, adding, "Parts are still readily available, sometimes they are even on the shelves at some of your more rural parts stores."

I should get one. You never know when you're going to need a dump truck. I actually looked at an old 1 ton pickup recently I saw on Craigslist that somebody in Los Ranchos was selling. He kind of reminded me of one the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, the dark haired one. When we went around the block in it he screamed at me every time I ground a gear or took a corner too wide for his liking, so I decided to wait on an old pickup truck.


  1. Thank you for sharing my image in your blog. It is greatly appreciated.

    1. You're welcome. Thanks for letting me use it. I usually attribute photos underneath but yours has your name on it so I didn't want to spoil the look of it.

  2. I have a fondness for trucks of that vintage, though once changing the tire the split-rim wheel came apart and near took my hand off.
    Fat Freddie was my hero, a great comic book series.

    1. I believe it about the wheel. Someone just posted a video on a trucking web site that shows a guy being flipped in the air by one. Lucky you!

      Wait, here it is:

      So you were a fan! Wow. I can't say I read much, even comics, in those days. It requires minimal concentration. Har.

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