Our Old Farm Truck Was Truly One-of-a-Kind

Originally a sedan, this ’28 Chevy earned its keep as a farm truck during and after the Second World War.

1928 Chevy Sedan farm truck in black and whitePhoto: Courtesy Val Leiding
Val next to the Chevy, with Mom seated inside.

I was born during the Second World War on December 27, 1942, in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. My dad had obtained a 1928 Chevy sedan that had been converted into a truck. We had many adventures with that vehicle and I’d like to share a few with you.

Remembering the Old Farm Truck

Back then, the war effort needed all the help it could get. Rubber was one of the necessary items, so inner tubes were unavailable. To solve this shortage problem, Dad was a little inventive, especially in cold weather. All the tires and rims were removed from the Chev and brought inside. The tires were then positioned with the valve holes up; next, Dad filled the tires with water. The tires were set outside until morning to freeze solid. If you could afford it, you could buy inner tubes but they were made of synthetic material that didn’t stand up. Morning came and the frozen tires were put on. Dad said the ice tires were okay until you hit a bump, then you could hear the ice slosh around as you drove.

To keep the truck running when gasoline was low, sometimes kerosene was put in the tank; it may have been cheaper than gas.

Most farmers at the time either shipped or delivered cream to the Swift Current Creamery. That has an interesting side note: Sometimes mice ventured on to the cream can lid and fell in, because someone had not closed the cream can tight. Many a mouse probably drank itself to death—no way of telling whether or not the butter tasted any different though! The main thing was that selling cream gave the farmers some money for gas, groceries and other essentials.

The incident I’m about to describe possibly happened on just such a cream run. Dad, Mom and I were driving past a garage on Cheadle Street in Swift Current when what to our wondering eye should appear but the Chevy’s driver-side door as it parted ways with us. It landed in the street with a crash. A garage attendant saw it happen and hollered, “Hey, mister, you lost your door!”

Dad was too embarrassed to stop and pick it up. We made another pass around the block and there stood our door propped against the garage wall. Dad never went back for it and hung a gunny sack over the opening from then on. A missing door, sloshing ice tires and kerosene in the gas tank, yes sir—that old farm truck of ours had character!

Next, check out this Alberta farmer’s collection of vintage John Deere tractors.

Originally Published in Our Canada