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A rare find in the woods

By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Trainer
I can remember a time when it was not uncommon to go for a walk or hike in the woods and stumble upon some old abandoned rust bucket.  Some type of old car or truck, sitting deep in the woods, left there long ago and forgotten.   Perhaps it was left there years before by some kids who broke down after a joy ride, or someone that didn’t want to pay for removal, or maybe a thief leaving their getaway car.  Could it be our new sense of environmental responsibility, or maybe the price of scrap that has caused people to clean up these old junk piles?  Either way, they just don’t seem to be as common as they once were.
This is why I was so surprised to see what we came upon this past weekend when riding enduro motorcycles in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.  Max, the leader of our ride this day, took us to a place where he remembered seeing these two old trucks, so of course we had to stop and check them out.  Now, this was a few days ago, so I’ve had a chance to go online and do some research about these trucks, and I think I’ve narrowed it down a bit regarding what they are.  Keep in mind, that neither truck had a frame, engine, or any drive train components, which even though it would have been great to see them as well, the fact they were missing did not detract from the intrigue of these antiques.
The first truck was a Ford, built somewhere between 1942 and 1947.  This was by far in the worst condition of the two, as most of the passenger side of this truck was rusted away.  Now of course being an HVAC guy, I’m looking all over this truck for any remnants of climate controls.  Unfortunately there were none to be found on this truck.  The most noteworthy finds were the Ford nameplate across the nose of the hood, the Ford logo stamped into the side of the hood, and the remains of the instrument cluster found on the floor boards.  Did you know they used to call it a distometer?  There was also a nameplate near the driver’s door which says “TRANSPORT, Model 158-1314, Transport Equipment Co., Philadelphia”.  A bit more internet research shows that this used to be a truck body company on Race Street in downtown Philly.  I can just imagine the mechanic at the end of assembly, screwing this identification plate onto a newly completed cargo truck.  Very cool.
The second truck was a 1950 Dodge.  Unlike the Ford, this truck was missing its bonnet, but still had most of the cab intact.  I think this may have helped me, because when I went peeked inside, it wasn’t difficult to find the controls I was looking for.  Four knobs mounted right on the center of the dash.  Read from left to right, they are HEAD, PANEL, CHOKE, and THROTTLE.  A bit more searching, and I found an auxiliary panel, with two more knobs labeled HEATER and DEFROST.
It is also lucky that this truck still has the identification plate attached to the driver’s door jam, indicating the model as a B-2-G152. What’s that mean?  B-2 trucks were made between 1949 and 1951.  The “G” indicates a 1-½ ton chassis, and the 152 is the wheelbase.
Can’t wait to see what I find the next time we go out off-roading!
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