Unic L2 Truck

1924 Unic L2 Boulangère

Offered by Aguttes | Paris, France | June 25, 2023

Photo – Aguttes

French manufacturer Unic set up shop in 1905 and continued producing passenger cars through 1938. They produced military vehicles during WWII and concentrated on trucks after the war, soldiering on independently until Fiat took them over in 1966. The brand was phased out after being merged into Iveco in 1975.

But this L2 from 1924 proves that Unic had a hold on commercial vehicles well before the end of WWII. It’s powered by an inline-four of unknown displacement but apparently rated at 10 (presumably taxable) horsepower.

The body style is listed as Boulangère, which is kind of a French huckster wagon. The driver’s compartment is quite nice, and the wagon has a fold-down tailgate for the cargo area, a solid roof, and roll-up side curtains. The estimate here is $10,000-$16,000. Click here for more info.

Stegeman Truck

1914 Stegeman 1526 Stake Bed Truck

Offered by Mecum | East Moline, Illinois | March 24, 2023

Photo – Mecum

The Stegeman Motor Car Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was founded in 1911 and produced heavy trucks through 1917. The actually offered at least six models of varying capacity – up to seven tons.

You can tell this is one of the heavier trucks because it utilizes solid rubber tires. Lighter trucks used pneumatic ones. It’s a three-ton truck powered by an inline-four engine. It’s also got a three-speed manual transmission and an open-cab body with a stake bed.

Later Stegemans could be had with a six-cylinder engine and electric start. This particular example is one of three from the manufacturer in the U.S. known to exist. You can read more about it here.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $25,300.

Smith’s Milk Truck

1989 Smith’s Milk Float

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | February 11, 2023

Photo – Brightwells

Smith Electric Vehicles was founded in 1920 in England. They moved to Kansas City, Missouri, in 2011 and were out of business by 2017. Their main product over the years were electric delivery vans.

Which is what we have here. Basically, this is the electric, 1980s British version of a Divco milk truck. It doesn’t look all that interesting, and it probably isn’t too interesting to drive. Even Brightwells couldn’t come up with more than a sentence for a lot description. And that description ends with a question mark. It may as well just say “Well, why not?” (Can we also talk about how fresh milk deliveries are still happening in England?)

What I find interesting about this truck is that it comes from a manufacturer of commercial vehicles that most people have never heard of. And here is someone’s opportunity to have a relatively low-maintenance “historic commercial vehicle” for very little cost: just $3,000-$4,000. Click here for more info. Or less info.

Update: Sold $4,317.

1918 Peugeot Truck

1918 Peugeot 1525 Flatbed

Offered by H&H Classics | Buxton, U.K. | November 30, 2022

Photo – H&H Classics

Peugeot set up a commercial vehicle plant in 1912, and from that factory they helped France’s WWI effort by producing trucks like this. This particular example was built as a troop carrier. After its military career ended, it was converted to civilian commercial use.

The Type 1525 was produced from 1917 through 1920, with about 4,084 produced. It’s powered by a 4.7-liter inline-four that made 22 horsepower – enough to get it to about 19 mph.

Used at the end and after the war by the French Armed Forces, the truck has since been bodied as a dropside pickup and flatbed. It was refreshed in the last three years and now has an estimate of $23,000-$28,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold.

Pre-War Divco

1931 Divco Model H Milk Truck

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 5-6, 2022

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The classic milk truck, the Divco milk truck, was introduced in the late 1930s. It had a streamlined design with a waterfall-ish front grille and would be produced into the 1960s with a few design tweaks but the overall profile remaining essentially the same. That’s what most people picture when they hear “Divco.”

But the company was actually founded in 1926 by George Bacon, an engineer at Detroit Electric who wanted to try a gasoline engine in their delivery vehicles. The company balked so he set out on his own with the Detroit Industrial Vehicles Company. Earlier Divcos, like this one, featured a snub nose design but looked much more similar to other trucks and cars of the era.

They still had a step-through design with a flat, low floor. This one is powered by an inline-four and has had its rear cargo area converted to bench seating. It’s selling without reserve. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $36,300.

C.T. Electric Truck

1916 C.T. Model F 5-Ton Flatbed

Offered by Mecum | East Moline, Illinois | March 25, 2022

Photo – Mecum

Perhaps the photographer should’ve stepped back 10 feet. C.T. electric trucks were produced by the Commercial Truck Company of America, which was based in Philadelphia. The company built, well, commercial trucks, many of which looked like this, from 1908 through 1928.

Power is from four General Electric electric motors, with one stationed at each wheel. They had a range of 40-50 miles, and this one was one of 20 used by the publisher of the Saturday Evening Post… into the 1960s! I once bid on one of these trucks, but that’s a story for a different day.

There are some of these funky trucks out there (pretty sure NATMUS has one). You can check out more about this one here.

Update: Sold $26,400.

Kelly-Springfield Truck

1914 Kelly-Springfield Model K-40 3-Ton

Offered by Mecum | East Moline, Illinois | March 25, 2022

Photo – Mecum

Kelly-Springfield Motor Truck Company sounds an awful lot like the Kelly-Springfield Tire Company. And that’s probably because both were founded in Springfield, Ohio, by Edwin S. Kelly. The trucks were sold under the Kelly marque from 1910 through 1912, when Springfield was appended.

Kelly actually started his truck company in 1910, 15 years after selling his tire company, after having purchased the Frayer Miller Auto Company. The K-40 was their biggest offering, launching alongside the smaller K-31 and K-35 in 1912.

This K-30 is a bare-chassis example powered by a 6.8-liter T-head inline-four of the company’s own design. It’s got chain drive and was a well-regarded truck when new. You can see more about it here.

Update: Withdrawn.

Winther-Marwin

1920 Winther-Marwin Model 459 1.5-Ton 4WD Stake Bed

Offered by Mecum | East Moline, Illinois | March 24, 2022

Photo – Mecum

Well, this is some pretty terrible photography, but you get the idea. The Winther Motor Truck Company was founded in Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, in 1917. The company was founded by Martin Winther, who used to work at Jeffrey, they of the famous four-wheel-drive truck. Rear-wheel-driver Winther trucks were produced until 1926 (although 1927 trucks were branded as Winther-Kenosha).

Between 1918 and 1921, the company sold a line of trucks under the Winther-Marwin marque, and they had a four-wheel-drive layout. Power is from a Wisconsin inline-four.

Trucks from this era are so hard to find, and so many manufacturers just simply don’t have a single example remaining. This truck is like a needle in a haystack, being a rare offshoot of the much more common (in period) Winther. You can see more about it here and see more from Mecum here.

Update: Sold $72,600.

Bedford Motor Coach

1948 Bedford OB Coach by Plaxton

Offered by Bonhams | Bicester, U.K. | December 11, 2021

Photo – Bonhams

Bedford Vehicles was founded in 1931 when General Motors shifted production of Chevrolet commercial vehicles to a Vauxhall plant. The Bedford marque was born and remained GM’s main British commercial vehicle manufacturer until 1986, at which time the heavy trucks were branded as Isuzus. Light Bedford vehicles carried on until 1991.

The OB was a single-door bus manufactured between 1939 and 1951. Most of them carried between 26 and 29 passengers, and this one is fitted with a Plaxton body. It’s got a great side profile and is powered by a 3.5-liter inline-six rated at 72 horsepower.

This one was restored between 2006 and 2008. In all, 12,766 examples of the OB were produced, with just 73 of those coming before the war. The pre-sale estimate is $51,000-$60,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $51,308.

1951 Kenworth

1951 Kenworth BC 825-C Conventional

Offered by Mecum | East Moline, Illinois | November 11, 2021

Photo – Mecum

This is a pretty awesome-looking semi. And it’s from 70 years ago, yet it doesn’t look that much different from today’s semis. It’s pretty crazy actually, not to mention the fact that it survived this long, although the restoration certainly helped.

Kirkland, Washington’s Kenworth traces its roots back to a dealership owned by the Gerlinger brothers. They started producing their own truck called the Gersix in 1914. Bankruptcy followed in 1917, and the company’s assets were acquired by E.K. Worthington and Frederick Kent. They combined their last names to form “Kenworth” in 1923.

This truck is powered by a 262-horsepower Cummins diesel. The auction catalog is light on info, but the truck looks pretty sharp and is probably still fairly usable. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $46,200.