Dad’s Homemade Tow Truck

My brother asked if there were pictures of Dad’s tow truck in Mom’s photo albums. We only found one, with Bing the service station dog inside.

It was an International pickup, 1941 I think, blue. He rebuilt it to take the wrecker.tow truck and bing may 1963

It had a 3 speed transmission. He put in a 4th speed. He mounted dual wheels on it. The fenders had to be extended. The strips welded in them never got painted. It wasn’t welded too good either. I can still see the holes, but it worked.

Dual exhaust coming out up behind the cab. The smoke would stream out of there. An orange flashing light on top. He put a switch for that under the dash.

For the wrecker, he started with a gearbox affair – small gear going to George's Esso Oxford and Wistow London ON July 1959a bigger to a bigger, about 4 sets of gears in there. Then he welded all the angle iron to put the cable on, the crank, all that stuff.

The cradle for hooking up cars was his own invention. It changed over time. First, it was a hand crank he welded on the side. You’d stand there and crank and crank and crank. The cars weren’t that heavy, it just took a lot. Eventually you’d get her up.

Then a Briggs & Stratton lawn mower engine took the place of the George Anger in station July 1959crank. But that was a pain in the ass too. It had a pull start. Awkward and hard to start, but it was better than cranking.

The last one was a power take-off on the side of the transmission. That drove the gears that lifted the vehicle. It was the best deal. You could shove the lever forward and back and up she went.

Vacuum Snowplow

He built a snowplow for her. The plow was made out of an old culvert. He hooked it up to a vacuum system. He got that off a transport truck.

w-d-brown-1959 vacuum plow -www.google.gg_patents_US2867921
My brother found this vacuum attachment at www.google.gg_patents_US2867921. He says Dad put the vacuum under the hood, not out by the plow as here. (click to enlarge)

There’s a drum with a vacuum system to lift it. The engine creates a vacuum in the cylinder. The cylinder would lift the plow and gravity would lower it. The cold air hitting the hot valves would cause engine problems down the road. But it worked good. She barked though, loud!

I’ve never heard of anybody else ever doing that. I remember Dad and Jack talking about it, and the next thing I knew it was done. I never saw them working on the truck. I don’t know how it got done. I likely saw, it just didn’t register.

She was a thing of beauty. If I had any idea where she was, maybe parked someplace, I’d have her back home and I’d be working on it.

Dad would be 99 today. Happy birthday, Georgie.

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