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Interesting 1933 Ford V-8 Truck Postcards

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This 1933 Ford postcard describes the truck and trailer unit as being a V-8 Semi-Trailer Coach. It had seating for twenty-six with room for twenty standees. The rig is quite uncommon as the drivers compartment is located inside of the trailer and the pivot point is at about the point where the driver sat. We would like to know more about this unique vehicle and its drivers compartment. Can any of our readers find any more information about it?

The 1933 Ford Truck and Tanker Trailer below got gasoline mileage of 13-1/5 miles per gallon, with no oil needing to be added between 1000 mile changes. The card also mentions the low engine exchange cost when a replacement was needed. The Car-Tyr Company Inc. that hauled its gasoline and oil drums with it was located, in Minnesota. The photos are courtesy of Alden Jewell.

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9 responses to “Interesting 1933 Ford V-8 Truck Postcards

        • Thanks to the information in the comments above, a court case was found which has many details about the Tri-Coach.

          SUBURBAN TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM, A CORPORATION, PETITIONER,
          v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, RESPONDENT.
          United States Tax Court.
          Promulgated May 15, 1950.

          Under FINDINGS OF FACT a few details of interest:

          “In 1932 petitioner designed and put into operation, experimentally, a new type of bus, known as “Tri-Coach.” It differed from the conventional type bus in that the power unit consisted of a Ford truck chassis, with the wheel base shortened, to which a trailer coach was connected by a single “fifth wheel” suspension mounted about 18 inches forward of the power axle. The driver’s seat was inside of the passenger coach. In 1934 the second Tri-Coach, embodying some improvements over the original model, was put into operation. The new type buses proved so successful that by the end of 1934 petitioner had decided to replace all of its conventional buses with them. It acquired three more of the Tri-Coaches in 1935, three in 1936, and four in 1937.”

          And:

          ” In 1937 the Washington State Legislature enacted into law a new traffic code which made it illegal in that state to carry passengers for hire in a trailer. Petitioner maintained that its Tri-Coaches did not come within the prohibition of the act, but it agreed, nevertheless, not to put any more of them into operation. Petitioner was permitted to continue and did continue using the 12 Tri-Coaches which it then had in operation through 1937.”

          Actual operating costs and other information are available in this findings of fact.

  1. Ford made a 112″ wheelbase milk truck in the 1931/1932 era. It appears that this chassis was used to haul this bus. The sheet metal is 1932 style. The 1933 grille is slightly canted.

  2. I can hardly believe that a truck with a 221 cubic inch engine, 65 HP, can pull a 12+ ton load at 45 MPH except on an absolutely level highway ( or heading downhill ). And on the level road, how long would it take to get up to speed? And, I think any slight upgrade would be a BIG problem.

    • I was thinking the same thing when I did this post, the only way it was possible was because of the gear ratio they used.

      The card also mentions “The New Engine Exchange Program” as there is a good chance the engine needed to be rebuilt every 25,000 miles.

      • More likely it was an exchange program, they would order a new – or rebuilt – engine from a local Ford dealer and swap out the old one and send in for a “core” allowance. Lot faster to swap out than to have the truck down for a day or two during rebuild, although these old-time mechanics could move pretty fast with a fairly simple engine like the Ford.
        A truck farmer in my home town was still using a 1929 Model AA until a couple of years ago to bring veggies etc. from his farm over to the main highway a mile or two away. It is the same truck used on the farm when I stayed there one summer in about 1944, my folks having “farmed me out” so my Mom could live in the nurses’ home at the hospital where she was working over in Lake Placid, about 20 miles away. ( With gas rationing, commuting back and forth was out of the question.)

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