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Moving the Metal – Part I

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  • An Automobile Shippers, Inc. 1940 Dodge COE filled with 1940 Plymouths

As highways began to improve in the 1920’s and 30’s, it became more viable to ship cars from the factory directly to dealers by truck rather than by rail as had been the custom. Detroit businessman Eugene Casaroll was one of the first to recognize this opportunity and, by the time our photos were taken, his company had become one of the main contractors for Chrysler. Most of the car carriers in this post are from the A.S.I. fleet, but we have included a few others to show some of the different trailer styles that were used. All of the automobiles in these photos are Chrysler Corporation built products.

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  •  A.S.I. Dodge Rigs in Detroit – An Eastern Auto Forwarding Dodge with  a Whitehead & Kales trailer – A Dodge tractor with an A.S.I.-built trailer

The postwar boom years allowed Casaroll to indulge his other automotive interests. He sponsored Championship Series cars and Indianapolis 500 entries from 1946 to 1954, having his best result in that last year when Troy Ruttman and Duane Carter finished fourth and fifteenth respectively in the Memorial Day classic. He is perhaps best known for the Dual-Ghia, the exclusive Chrysler-based personal luxury car that he was able to develop and sell largely due to his success with A.S.I.

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  • A Robertson Truckaway Dodge with load of postwar Plymouth P15’s

Other companies like Cassens also got in on the ground floor, but a concerted effort by the railroads to recapture a portion of the business in the 1960’s made for lean times for some haulers and their numbers were thinned out. Today, railroads handle most of the long distance domestic work, with trucks generally not running more than a few hundred miles at most. You’ll find more than 100 pages of trucks, buses and equipment on The Old Motor. Today’s photos courtesy of Dick Copello.

8 responses to “Moving the Metal – Part I

  1. Really a neat series of photos. Interesting to see how things changed in a few short years! Like the Dodge and Fargo COE’s from the ’40’s. Arguably the BEST looking Cabovers of the era. (At least from the Big Three).

  2. For anyone who might be interested, I am the owner of the 1952 Kurtis 500A that Troy Ruttman drove to fourth in the 1954 indy 500. He might have won, but Casraroll offered the young driver $1,000 for every lap he led in the race. Troy being Troy, he stood the on the gas and burned through several sets of tires trying to catch Jimmy Bryan and Billy Vukovich, the eventual winner.

  3. As my family were an original Dodge dealer I remember quite well the trucks hauling the new cars. Being in upstate New York after the War all our vehicles arrived by train. There were 4to an enclosed car and it was at least 6 hours to unload them. The top2 were let down by chain fall(manually) and floor jack was the most important item, Soon after Howard Soberdelivered our vehicles they would be put on a boat in Detroit unloaded in Buffalo and loaded on carriers and delivered usually only 4and to the same dealer . Soon Eastern Auto Forwarding had the Chrysler account from theBuffalo docks “Dependable as the rising Sun” was their message on the cab doors the trucks were all orange A Mr Woolverton was the owner and they used only Dodge trucks They were later bought by M&3G Convoy. More later

  4. Another Eastern Auto Forwarding comment. From the time Eastern Auto Forwarding had the contract to deliver the Chrysler vehicles to all of the New York State dealers they purchased all their own tractors and trailers except one. I think his name was “Doc” and he had a 1934 Dodge tractor, with suicide doors!!!! do not know the make of the trailer but maybe Eastern Auto Forwarding owned it. Anyway the tractor had over a million miles and I think he was the only one to drive it. I remember it well and he could tell you his stories if one would listen. I think it was about a 12 hour drive from Buffalo to Malone NY where we had our dealership. Am wondering if anyone else remembers this truck and operator?????

  5. Forty years ago I had an older friend who had worked as an auto haulaway driver in Canada taking Chrysler products from Windsor to Toronto – about 230 miles. He drove a ’39 Dodge cabover and between the speed limits of the truck (35mph) and the highways (no more than 50mph) with most highways travelling through the middle of the cities along the route, a one way trip was about 10 hours. If the weather co-operated.

  6. My Dad, John E. Altman was the Chicago Regional Manger for Auto Shippers from the early days until his untimely death in 1965. Gene Casaroll was an incredible American entrepreneur. Our family’s move to the middle class can be solely attributed to my Dad’s career there!

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