1919 Oldsmobile Model T Farm Truck – In 1919, Oldsmobile decided to jump into a new consumer market by manufacturing a great line of trucks aimed at delivery-focused businesses such as dry goods, bakeries and even as a firetruck. It is often and mistakenly assumed that the Olds brand only made trucks during the 1990s with the popular Bravada and other SUV’s. Its first truck, however, came much earlier in the company’s history with the Oldsmobile Economy Truck. It should also be noted that Oldsmobile, before the Economy truck series was built, had manufactured a light and heavy delivery vehicle as well. The vehicles were generally designed for use by dry good stores, shoe stores, florists and the retail trade. The Oldsmobile delivery van was sold during the same time as the Curved Dash Runabout in 1904. The 1919 Economy Truck was powered by a four-cylinder engine and the models were available in a variety of bed styles. The advertising slogan for that time stated, “There’s the truck for my business.” In 1919, a record annual production gave Olds Motor Works a healthy $7.5 million in total sales which bolstered the company for the future. Consumers in every state and many foreign countries used the Oldsmobile Economy Trucks for their businesses. The standard express truck body became suitable for many lines of business and was very popular among consumers. They were well built and well designed trucks – for example, the floor and side panels were constructed of heavy hardwood stock, and the standard cab offered protection for the driver when driving. From farmers to florists, along with the popular Coca-Cola bottling company, all used Oldsmobile Economy Trucks. Oldsmobile’s early foray into commercial trucks was nationally recognized and successful simply because it had provided business owners with a great value and low operating cost. It also presented a great investment. Not only was it an outstanding dollar-for-dollar value and the cost of its maintenance among consumers was very affordable, but most people liked its styling as well. In conclusion, the adaptability and range of usefulness for the Oldsmobile Economy trucks made it the logical truck in a wide variety of fields within the consumer market, which today is a part of our American truck history.
It’s hard to image that 100 years have passed since these remarkable trucks helped business owners grow the economies here and abroad. Although apprx 3,200 of these trucks were built in 1919, we can only surmise that a minor fraction are still in existence today. This rarity and the amazing originality are what pushed the late truck enthusiast and historian, Don Chew, to save and resurrect this beautiful Oldsmobile Model T. Don pulled this truck from a barn where it had been stored from 44 years and and purchased it from the original owner’s widow. Additional info on Don’s experiences with this great truck can be found in the link below (copy-n-paste into your browser if not linkable). We were very fortunate to purchase this Olds from the estate of Don Chew and now have it stored safely here in Texas. As you know, the trucks available in 1919 don’t have any of the bells-n-whistles we are spoiled with on trucks today. In fact, the dash plaque notes that driving this truck over 22 mph would void the warranty! But the lack of creature comforts and the originality of this truck are a great representation of our American history. We hope the next caretaker of this exceptional vehicle will take special care to maintain it for years to come. Contact us today to become an owner.