My old cars and trucks
  I bought my first old 1936 Dodge pickup when I was about 24 years old and I've been driving 1930s and 40s Dodges ever since.  But in 2009, after almost 30 years of dependable service and great memories, I had to sell my 1937 Dodge sedan and my 1941 Dodge WC-10 carryall.  It's time for them to go to a new home.   Goodbye my old friends.

 When we lived in Trinidad as a child, my dad had an old 1914? Ford touring car he had gotten in trade for a Gold watch, I only remember it was black, had puffy upholstery, wooden spoked wheels and brass trim and fittings.  After we moved back to Denver, my uncle Jim lived next door and he always had a several old cars from the 1920's and 30's including a 1932 Lincoln limousine. I still remember the first time he took me for a ride in a 1928 Buick sedan. What a special feeling!  All these early experiences made a lasting impressions on me.  Watching TV programs like "The Untouchables" and "The Roaring 20's" also influenced me.  I dreamed of having my own old car someday.   After I got out of the Army, I drove mostly 1960's Chevys and GM cars. I couldn't afford much so I tried to find the best used cars I could find for the money.  The most dependable cars I have ever owned were the old Dodges from the 1930's and 40's.

   It was in the early 1970's when I bought my first old car, a 1936 Dodge pick-up truck for $300. I was so impressed with the way it ran!  I had always thought you would have to add a newer motor to make an old car usable.  Man was I wrong!!!    What I learned was that once these old Dodges were repaired and kept lubricated, they were more dependable, required less maintenance and were easier to keep running than any of the newer cars I had owned, and at a fraction of the cost!  This was a great discovery for a poor boy!   A few years later, I bought a 1937 Dodge 4 door sedan for $350. It had beat up dented fenders, ugly worn down paint, and several bullet holes in the windows. People sure did look at us funny in that car with the bullet holes but my passengers who smoked like the bullet holes for flipping the ashes without rolling the windows down.  I drove that car for 13 years and then gave it to a guy in trade for bodywork and a paint job on my other 37 Dodge that I bought in the early 80's for $850. I drove it for years with no upholstery and in gray primer.  It was rough looking but always ready to drive. I did the repairs myself with the help of old manuals and learned with time. Once things were fixed and kept oiled, they continued to work fine with little attention. I had my 1937 Dodge for 28 years, it's was well over 70 years old and it still ran great on the day I sold it!   It takes a certain kind of person to be willing to do what it takes to keep these cars running. You can't just take it to the local garage because modern mechanics don't know anything about them.  You have to love a car to keep it for life.  Most folks grow tired of the cars they choose and they sell them when within a few years. I know its basically just transportation but many feel the car they choose is an extension of their personality or style.  When I find something I like, I want to keep it!  

  My other favorite vehicles are the WWII military Dodge 4X4 trucks. These tough machines helped win world war two and earned a reputation for being practical, versatile and dependable. The soldiers nicknamed them "Power Wagons", a name that was later used by Dodge on the post war versions of the trucks.  I bought my first Power Wagon "1941 1/2 ton pick up truck" from an 86 year old man who had used it for a welding truck for years.  It had a giant military generator in the back attached to a 6 cylinder Ford industrial motor.  He had bought the truck from a farm in Haxtun Colorado where it had been adapted with a large storage tank, a motor and a spraying system that was used for spraying corn fields. Who knows what work it did before that but it has been working hard since WWII.  Not many other vehicles could survive the hard treatment and abuse these trucks were subjected to, both during the war and after.  I drove that truck for 15 years and had a lot of fun with it. It would go almost anywhere in any kind of weather. It worked hard for me and it survived several wrecks.  Just as fighter pilots paint a symbol on the side of their aircraft for each enemy plane they destroy, I did the same thing every time I got into a wreck with another car, I used a stencil to paint another small car on the side of my truck. I eventually had 7 cars on the side of my pick-up truck and 3 on my carryall.  The funny thing was that the wrecks were all caused by the other drivers!  Most of them had been drinking.  Their vehicles usually had damage sometimes major damage but the old Dodge always drove away with only scratches to the paint.  My friends used to joke that it was magnetic, because other vehicles seemed to be attracted to it!   I've owned several other WWII military Dodge trucks and I still drive a 1941 WC-10 1/2 ton Carryall.  It was originally used as a radio communications truck in WWII. I've owned this truck for 23 years and its always ready to drive.

 The only things I don't like about the old cars, are the vacuum windshield wipers and the 6 volt electrical system.  Sometimes in cold weather or if the battery was low, they were hard to start but I never had to ask for a jumpstart. I would just get the hand crank from under the seat, stick it into the front of the vehicle and start it that way!  It would often start with a half turn of the crank!  Many people didn't believe it until I showed them.  Who needs jumper cables!  Even if your starter went bad, you could still start it.  I've had 40 different vehicles in my life and most were from the 30's and 40's.

 There were hard times with some of the old cars when they were new to me and I was learning how to maintain them. Doing my own repairs often meant working for hours outside in the cold and wet.  I could buy many parts in auto parts stores and found other parts in junkyards.  I often bought older cars or trucks just to stock up on parts, dismantle them, keep what I wanted and sell the rest.  That was how I kept them alive.  It was a labor of passion!  They've served me well for many years.   
Anyway here are a few photos taken over the years of some of my old cars and trucks.   Hard times and good times!

My First Old Cars
This was my first old Dodge, a 1936 Dodge pickup truck, I paid $300. for it in the early 70's. I later got in a bad wreck in this truck and it was destroyed, it almost destroyed me too!

A 1935 Chevy Coupe

My first 1937 Dodge sedan, photo taken at a WWII reenactment.
Bought this car for $350. in the early 70s and drove it for 13 years.

Getting a little hot during mountain driving.

I drove lot of miles in this old 37 Dodge.

1937 Dodge 4 door sedan

The retail price of this car in 1937 was $830.  I bought it for $850. in 1982.

My 2nd 37 Dodge!   Back in the 60's a woman brought this car to a garage for a repair, she never came back for it, the mechanic kept it behind the garage for several years and then moved it to his house nearby where it sat for several more years. Vandals broke most of the windows and mice had established a city throughout the whole car including in the gas tank.  The tire were all ruined and the upholstery was badly damaged. The paint was  worn through and rust was trying to eat it.  The mechanic finally decided to get rid of it.  He sold it as a junk car with no tile for $1.  That's right! One Dollar!  The new owner wanted to restore the car and he did several good things for the car but eventually lost interest and he decided to sell it. He put an ad in the newspaper offering the car for $850.  I already had my first 37 Dodge but I liked it because it was in pretty good condition.  I bought it and have had it ever since.  It didn't look like this when I first got it.  It was in pieces and needed a lot of things done but I was driving it 2 days after I got it.  It is not a totally restored example, just a great used car!

The rims are from a 1936 Dodge, the last year they used that style.
I have the original 37 solid rims too but I like the 36 style.

Paint removal   This is what it looked like when I first got it.
It was good mechanically but the body needed a lot of attention

1937 Dodge D5 Series 4 door touring sedan

Check out this cool 1937 Dodge
illustration by artist Don Henderson

My first Power Wagon
1941 Dodge Military 1/2 Ton 4X4 Pickup
This was my first Power Wagon. I paid $1200. for it in 1978 and drove it for 15 years.  The bumpers had extra reinforcement for mounting a large spraying unit used for spraying Corn fields. These bumpers were really tough and worked great in car crashes!  This is the truck that had 7 cars painted on the side. I painted over them after my insurance agent became curious about them. I didn't wasn't him to think I enjoyed getting into wrecks!  It was 52 years old when I sold it and it still ran great.  The 1941 WC-10 is in the background.

It didn't look like this when I first got it, I had it painted and equipped it for use in WWII reenactments but I drove it and my 37 Dodge all the time.  This was my work truck and my 37 Dodge sedan was my basic car.
 In those days I didn't even have a modern car, for about 16 years, all I drove was these old vehicles.

Some of my oldies

Dependable Delivery.jpg
Dependable Delivery
I used to deliver new Harleys to a local distributor in my WWII 1941 Dodge  pick up.

This truck had no body so I made a cab, doors and collapsible roof for it.

Power Wagons are always doing something interesting.

Captured and reissued by the Germans!  A reenactment photo.

Power Wagons.jpg
Some great old Power Wagons looking for a good home.
I adopted the green one.

the green one

the green one is feeling better!

I'm not the only one who drives an old Power Wagon!  
This is a yearly gathering of old Power Wagons and owners in Colorado.

1941 Dodge WC-10, 1/2 Ton 4X4 Carryall

According to the serial number on this vehicle, it was one of the first 350 of this model to be made for the US Army.  The 1/2 ton WC series trucks were only made in 1941 and early 42, all other 4X4 Dodges made during WWII were 3/4 ton models.  The panel body from the front doors back is a 1938 design.  This truck was originally used as a radio communication vehicle by the Army.  I bought this truck for $1100. in 1983.  The engine was damaged so I used one from another old Dodge truck. Dodge used the 6 cylinder L head motors from 1934 to 1972 in 100's of 1000's of vehicles.  Many of these motors are still in use so tune up parts are available and inexpensive.  It was a good old friend!

 The Old Truck about town                  Yard Work

The Old Truck about town and doing yard work

The "Cash Register building" in the background. A Denver landmark!
The building was owned by United Bank, then Norwest Bank, now Wells Fargo.

1942 Ford GPW Jeep
I really did a lot of work on this Jeep body. I made all the external hardware, the top bows, the canvas top and the doors.  It didn't have the original motor, it had a Buick 6 cyl. motor.  This was a fun vehicle to drive but I got it stuck a few times and I had to pull it out with the Power Wagon.  Both Ford and Willys made these 1'/4 ton Jeeps, they were almost identical and the parts were interchangeable.  GPW models were made by Ford and MB models were made by Willys.

WWII Reenactments

I used to be a member of the WWII Historic Reenactment Society.  In Colorado we portrayed 2 main groups, the 10th Mountain Division and the 5th SS Wiking Division recon unit.  The German unit had a 1941 Mercedes sedan and a 1943 BMW motorcycle with a sidecar but we still needed another vehicle  to carry all the  troops so we used my 1941 Dodge pick up.  The Germans did actually capture these trucks during the war and reissued them to their troops!

1941 Mercedes owned by Harry Conners, Our commander!  What a wonderful car!

The 1943 BMW motorcycle, also owned by Harry Conners.

This was not a political organization in any way, we were all history buffs and militaria collectors.

We used all the original equipment we could find. Uniforms were usually reproduction but we drove old vehicles and used real WWII German supplies and weapons including machineguns.  Even though we were using blank ammo, the machine guns were fully functional registered weapons. We always had to notify the local police and law enforcement agencies that we would be using machine guns so they would be ready for the phone calls from excited people who didn't know what we were doing.   Some reenactment battles involved as many as 70 reenactors and there was a lot of gunfire.  We really freaked some people out!   It was just a hobby!

Old Car Repairs
Switching motors, I used to stick a large pipe and a hoist into the bumper of my  Power Wagon for lifting motor from vehicles.  Such a handy tool!
 Notice the cow in the background, Moo!  Got Milk?

I've never rebuilt a motor, I would just find a cheap vehicle with the right motor and use it.  All these old Dodges from 1934 all the way into the 50s and even the 1970s in some military vehicles, all used the same kind of motors. The L head or Flathead 6.

Changing front axles on Power Wagons.

Dismantling Power Wagons for spare parts.

Gotta keep em rolling!
A dirty job but someone has to do it!

Scavenging old trucks for parts - Some parts are expensive or hard to find so now and then I would by a vehicle to cannibalize for parts.  I'd find an old trucks or cars for a few hundred dollars and dismantle them.  Use what you need, save some parts and sell or trade the rest.  Very little was wasted.  This photo shows a 1941 military Power Wagon that had a 1950's cab added to it.  I had no use for the cab so its going to the scrap yard.

save, use or sell almost everything!

 Confirmed car wreck symbols on the side of my trucks.
Like war pilots put on their aircraft for enemy planes they've shot down..

Naturally I was attracted by her beauty but only later did I realize her true qualities.
She is truth, she is loyalty, she is beauty,  She is machine art!  

1937 Dodge D-5  four door touring sedan

Take a trip back to the 1930's!

Ford Model A's at Denver's old Riverside Cemetery

Brent Berry Arts Denver 1937

We do our part


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