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Freeman A. McKenzie's City Garage long beach CA Model TT Ford Service Truck

Freeman A. McKenzie’s City Garage Model TT Ford Service Truck

Since the early days, service and tow trucks operated by garages and sales agencies have long been a rolling billboard for such businesses. Freeman A. McKenzie’s City Garage in Long Beach, California used this stylish Model TT Ford service truck to assist its customers.

The truck is equipped with a body of the type normally seen on service vehicles at the time. An unusual feature on this one was the addition of a “California Top.” This type of accessory top was made coach builders and smaller companies, and many were removable for summer use. The shift lever seen next to the pedals indicates that it was fitted with a Ruckstell two-speed rear axle.


  •  Ford “TT” chassis images from an article written by J. Edward Schipper shortly after the introduction of the truck by the Ford Motor Company – “Automotive Industries” July 26, 1917.

The earliest record found about McKenzie was a notice in the July 1906 Horseless Age stating that he was having a garage erected at 212 Locust Ave. in Long Beach. Motor Age reported on June 18, 1914, that the garage was handling the Menominee Truck that was manufactured in Wisconsin.

The next reference found pointed out that McKenzie knew the value of advertising and had hired a firm to handle it. The February 1919 issue of the Western Advertising magazine, also mentioned that City Garage Inc. had two other branches operating in Los Angeles and San Pedro. And finally Motor West reported in 1923 that Freeman A. McKenzie, Inc., Ford and Lincoln agency, was under new management.

The image is via the MTFCA and is posted by Jay on the Club’s forum.

  •                Ruckstell two-speed axle advertisement – “Automobile Trade” Journal December 1924.


11 responses to “Freeman A. McKenzie’s City Garage Model TT Ford Service Truck

    • Hi Gene, the tires on the back of the truck look bigger than the front, and speaking of tires, the poor Model T (?) has a flat on the LR and no tire at all on the RR. I don’t see a lift of any kind, and perhaps, this was just a service truck. ( tire and wheel in the back). Is that a jack on the left running board?

      • The Ford Mode TT trucks were manufactured very similarly to the Model T automobiles. Because of the much higher loading provided by the trucks, the entire back of the truck was build much more strongly than the automobile. That included a heavier duty rear axle (with worm drive,) heavier duty spring, heavier duty wheels and tires and possibly a stronger frame (in the rear, at least.) The front remained the same as the automobile with the same front suspension, engine, tranmission and all that. If you look closely at the “Ford Ad” photo, you’ll see that the rear wheels appear to be similar in size to the front, but the spokes are heavier and the tires appear to be solid. As an option, I’m certain that heavier duty pneumatic tires were available as shown in the “City Garage” photo.

    • Hi Tinindian, actually, Menominee Motor Truck appears to have been made in Clintonville, Wis. from 1911-1928 when FWD ( also of Clintonville) acquired Menominee in 1928, and renamed it Unity Supply Co. from 1928-1937, as a bus. I know we can’t list links, but I got that from a site called “Coachbuilt”. There is information about a “Menominee Truck” built by D.F. Poyer of Menominee, Mich. to produce light delivery vehicles. Anybody know the scoop on that brand?

      • Here are the details on this. All my research. No comment on what Coachbuilt has but maybe I’ll have time to check that out later.

        Manufacturing of the “Menominee” by “D.F. Poyer & Company” was reported to begin in 1911.

        Look at the g()()glebooks website for “Automobile Topics, Volume 21”. Go to March 11, 1911 issue page 1454. Details with the possible origin of the WI, MI confusion. “D.F. Poyer & Company”reported to be located in Menominee Wis( but this is in error- Menominee Mi and Marinette Wi are sister cities located either side of the Menominee River which divides the two states). Poyer’s partner was the president of a bank in Menominee Michigan.

        Look at the g()()glebooks website for “Motor Age vol 29”. Go to Jan 27 1916 issue article starts on page 46. It describes and shows 3/4 ton, one and two ton “Menominee” trucks from “D.F. Poyer Co. Menominee Mich.”

        Same book-Go to page 52 Jan 27, 1916 issue for exit of D.F. Poyer and “withdrawn his interest” from “D.F. Poyer Co.”

        Same book May 18, 1916 page 88. Report of name change. “D.F. Poyer and Co.” of Menominee ich. manufacturer of “Menominee” trucks now known as “Menominee Motor Truck Co.”

        Go to same website look for “Motor Truck: The National Authority of Power Haulage”, Volume 11. Go to April 20, 1920 issue page 185 for the details of F-W-D- Company taking over the “Menominee Motor Truck Co. ” of Menominee Mi.

  1. Thanks for the info about the two-speed axle. I never knew they been around that long. It also explains why the old timers used to call two-speed axles ‘roxells.’

  2. Thanks so very much for this information regarding Freeman A. McKenzie. He was a relative of my Mother’s, and we greatly appreciate the picture of his vehicle and the information regarding his dealership.

    • Hi Laurie. I am actually working on a case right now involving Mr. Freeman Mckenzie. I was hoping that perhaps you might be able to assist me.

  3. This is a photo of my grandfather, J. Ellsworth Hixson, I posted to r/TheWayWeWere on Reddit about three years ago. Kind of surprised to find it here.

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