Register now to get rid of these ads!

History Depression conversion pickup info.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by dubie, Jul 27, 2016.

  1. dubie
    Joined: Aug 17, 2004
    Posts: 698

    dubie
    Member

    Does anyone happen to have links for information regarding sedans that were cut down into pickups during the depression for fuel rations? I've only heard snippets from cars guys regarding this but have always wanted to learn more.
    I recently acquired a 24 Chrysler that was cut down to a pickup back in the day. Just looking to gather as much information on this practice
    24chrysler1.jpg
     
  2. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,355

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    There isn't much to tell. Used cars depreciated quickly and large expensive cars especially were a drug on the market. I heard of a 7 year old Rolls Royce offered for $50 during the depression because it needed a clutch job. There were no takers, and it was scrapped.

    Large powerful cars were cut down to make wreckers and tow cars. Others were cut down for farm trucks tractors and buck rakes. I knew an old time mechanic who converted 22 cars and trucks to tractors during WW2 when tractors were hard to get.

    There is a description of cutting a car down into a truck in The Grapes Of Wrath a depression era book about dusted out Okies heading for California with the family and all their belongings.

    You can see another example in The Beverley Hillbillies TV show.

    During the depression it was a cheap way to make a truck. In WW2 it was more a matter of new trucks not being available.

    The quality of the job depended on who did it. A farmer might cut the body off with an axe or a saw, fill in the back with some old boards and build a wooden platform out of whatever he had handy. A good mechanic or carpenter might make a much nicer job. Some were done by the local blacksmith, mechanic or carpenter. There were some real pretty ones done by coachbuilders, usually on new cars but sometimes on late model used cars.

    There was no fuel rationing during the depression except nobody had any money to buy it with. During WW2 there was rationing. Farmers could get extra rations for their tractor because food was essential to the war effort. Maybe they could get extra for a truck too?

    Not much more to tell. Careful inspection of your Chrysler should give you an idea of how professional a job it was. You may also ask around and find some history of it, who owned it, who built it, and what it was used for.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2016
  3. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,355

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Get a load of this teenage farmer in the fifties, making hay with his home made tractor. Yes that is a 1931 Cadillac V12. See the car about 3 minutes in.

     

  4. Pulled this frame from Rusty's video. Wow!
    upload_2016-7-27_9-40-19.png
     
    kidcampbell71, Hnstray and dubie like this.
  5. dubie
    Joined: Aug 17, 2004
    Posts: 698

    dubie
    Member

    Thanks for the info Rusty, that's pretty damn helpful and more info than I've heard from any 1 person so far. I am the 3rd owner of this car/truck in it's 92 year history. The previous owner is a friend of mine and it was in his family for 5 decades, but was a truck when it came to them
     
  6. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,355

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    It should be kept in mind, that in the thirties trucks were much rarer and more expensive than they are today. These days half the vehicles on the road are pickups or SUVs, not so back then. Using pickups and SUVs for every day transportation only started in the seventies when large rear drive sedans started disappearing from the market.

    Up until then you only bought a truck if you were a farmer or had a business that required it. And, trucks got used hard and worn out quickly. A good used truck cost a lot more than an old car. As I pointed out before, large cars were hard to sell because they cost a lot for gas, oil, tires, and repairs. They actually were less desirable, and sold for less money, than a Ford or Chev. So, you could buy an old car and cut it down to make a truck and it might well be better and cheaper than buying a used truck.
     
    Sancho likes this.
  7. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,355

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Re: the video with the Cadillac tractor. In Sancho's screen shot notice the windshield posts. That Caddy was either a roadster or touring car and it had twin side mount spares (now welded to the rear wheels).

    If it was still intact that car would be worth about $150,000 today. When it was new it cost about $5000. The farmer probably paid $100 or less.
     
    Barn Find and dubie like this.
  8. The other side:
    upload_2016-7-27_10-11-16.png
     
    Barn Find and dubie like this.
  9. cartman4gc
    Joined: Jul 25, 2011
    Posts: 88

    cartman4gc
    Member

    As a teen, I worked summers in a cherry orchard in The Dalles, OR
    . We had a '28 Chrysler converted to a flatbed. The bed was 4x4s with steel rods thru drilled holes side to side, and washes welded to the ends, the bed was about 6' x 10'. Wish I had a pic of it (or the whole truck) today!
     
  10. Barn Find
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 2,320

    Barn Find
    Member
    from Missouri

    Here are a few more examples.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    I haven't included any tractor conversion or post-war examples, which got more creative.
     
  11. Coupes also got converted.

    [​IMG]


    Sears and Monkey Wards both offered conversion boxes for coupes at the time. Although I can't seem to find a good pic.
     
  12. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,355

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    You mean Sears and No Bucks lol ha ha
     
  13. LOL I guess a comma would have been appropriate. Sears, (pause) and Monkey Wards. :D
     
  14. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,355

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    For the younger crowd..... Sears used to be Sears Roebuck.... sometimes called Sears No Bucks
     
  15. yea probably should clarify that Monkey Wards was actually Montgomery Wards too.
     
  16. mammyjammer
    Joined: May 23, 2009
    Posts: 505

    mammyjammer
    Member
    from Area 51

    It was not just a Depression Era practice. My Father came home from WWII and there were no pick ups to be had, so he made one out of a Model A coupe. Wish I had a photo of it...
     
  17. Southfork
    Joined: Dec 15, 2001
    Posts: 1,464

    Southfork
    Member

    13260268_1153043334747859_6429037915875219030_n.jpg Vintage coupe pickup kits mentioned by porknbeaner can still be found. My neighbor has one for a 36 Chevy coupe. Maybe I can find a picture of one.
     

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!

Archive

Copyright © 1995-2020 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.