Updated – After streamlined designs produced for automobiles in the early-1930s became accepted and popular with the public by the middle of the decade, designs for trucks soon to followed. The styling departments of the larger automobile companies that produced trucks and the smaller independents soon joined the movement. Some truck builders hired freelance designers.
The White Truck Company and Labatt’s in Canada hired Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky to produce custom designs that attracted a large amount of attention. Brooks Stevens also designed the Western Clippers and one-offs like the Zephyr Land Yacht. On the west coast, Wellington Everett Miller produced custom bodywork concepts for regional truck body builders.
Update – Reader Michael Leicher has informed us that “Tugboat Annie” was built at a body shop in Sleepy Eye, MN (40-miles west of Mankato) that was run by a friends family. The shop also built similar trucks for breweries in the area.
- Full-sized enlargeable image of “Tugboat Annie” a Miller Motors tow truck based in Mankato, MN.
Miller Motors was a DeSoto and Plymouth Distributor an hour and a half SW of Minneapolis, located in Mankato, MN. The management was wise enough to have an eye-catching tow truck built that served as a rolling billboard for the firm. “Tugboat Annie,” built in 1937 on a cab-over-engine International truck chassis and was apparently constructed by a truck body builder.
Miller Motors is still in business today, 88-years later, operating a Continental tire store, oil change facility and parts and accessory store. The business began in 1927 as a repair garage and later expanded into car sales later during the thirties.
This large-sized photo from the Detroit Public Library was found at Automobilia via Ron Clark. Many have wondered for years who designed it, and what company constructed it? Can any of our readers unravel this mystery?