Wednesday, July 25, 2007

a ROCKIN' tour of the Golden Age of Trucking Museum (Middlebury, CT)

(above) Big fun at the Golden Age of Trucking Museum.
That's yer author, atop, with son Jordan and wife Jane below
(above) 1955 International Harvester model DFC 405,
known as "The Emeryville," also known as
the "wedding cake truck"( see below)
(above) Jordan, about to rock on down the highway
(above) the view from the cockpit (and we're talkin' HIGH UP THERE)
(above) the sleeper behind the drivers seat
(above) my wife Jane Eskilson, heading out for Chicago and points west
(above) now you can see why this model Emeryville is
known to be one of the tallest trucks ever built
(above) another size comparison, that with two classic Autocars.
(middle) 1974 Autocar model DC9364; (right) 1962 Autocar model DC75T
(above) Joe Beers' "Big Blue" Mack
(above) a classic ('30s?) Diamond T stakebed, kinda
reminiscent of the trucks in the George Raft, Humphrey Bogart movie
THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT
(above) 1940 Mack, a transitional model between the old and new styles
(above) the classic Mack model AC, which helped build the
great dams and the early major highways across the nation
(above) here's something very rare . . . a 1946 Hudson "Big Boy" pickup
(above) a 1954 Diamond T model 951S . . . lotta rollin' steel.
(above) one of the museum's great treasures,
a 1952 Diamond T model 950RS stakebed, the largest
Class 8 on-highway vehicle produced by Diamond T in Chicago
(some 80 may have been produced from 1951 to 1957).
(above) Museum Director Kathleen D. Jones, daughter of
the late Richard J. Guerrera, Sr., a major truck collector
and head of R.J. Guerrera Inc., a significant East Coast transportation company
in operation for thirty five years, headquartered in Naugatuck, CT
(above) This depicts all my childhood fantasies in one inspired picture.
(above) one example of the many stunning truck models on display
at the Museum, built by Ken Swingle of Huntington, CT.
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I'm proud to be a founding member of the American Truck Historical Society, of which there are now well over 25,000 members worldwide. I also support the work of the Hays Antique Truck Museum in Woodland, CA, about an hour from my home. So it's no surprise that on my recent East Coast tour of colleges and universities with my college-bound son Jordan (a high school senior this year at Salesian) and my wife Jane Eskilson, I finagled a visit to The Golden Age of Trucking Museum, located in Middlebury, CT (about an hour from New Haven).
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GATM was founded in 1998 by the late Richard (Dick) Guerrera of Middlebury (see picture to left). He passed away before the museum was fully built, but his widow Frances Guerrera and their children carried on with the plans, and the ribbon cutting was held in September, 2002.
-
Many of Mr. Guerrera's prized trucks are on display. Both he and I loved (and love) Macks, Diamond T's, and Autocars especially, and there are some absolutely outstanding examples, beautifully restored. A portion of what's exhibited is on loan, so the museum changes every year to some degree.
-
Kathi Jones, Mr. Guerrera's daughter, is the Museum Director. I asked her at one point in our tour if we could climb into one of the trucks and take pictures. She was so very kind to say yes, and without realizing that one of Dick Guerrera's favorites was the Emeryville shown here in many of the photos, I asked for access to that one. So we climbed up! And I mean climbed!
-
The Emeryville DFC 405 cabover was built by International Harvester in its Emeryville, CA plant in the mid-1950s. It's a legend all itself because of its height (only the Mack H-series would rival it).
Imagine being atop one of these beasts--you're indeed the king of the highway and all that passeth below and beside.
-
Some truckers call this model the "wedding cake truck" because to them it appears it was "built in layers." Few examples exist, although members of ATHS have brought them to their annual conventions, and jaws always drop. It's one of my absolute favorites too, so I must salute Dick Guerrera and Frances, their family, and especially Kathi, for founding the museum, hosting it so delightfully, and allowing Jane, Jordan, and me to poke around.
-
I commend this museum to you, and you can read more at www.goldenagetruckmuseum.com.
You must ask for permission before touching anything on exhibit--generally people are not allowed to climb into the trucks, as we did.
-
Thanks Kathi, it was a blast. And, thanks much for acquiring copies of ROCKIN' for sale in the Museum gift shop. There's a good truckin' story in there too (pages 130-131), so it fits!!

23 comments:

Dave said...

Great to see this truckin' museum Paul. I'll put it on my list for future exploration.
--Dave Rasmussen
www.showrods.com

Anonymous said...

quite interesting article. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did you guys learn that some chinese hacker had hacked twitter yesterday again.

Trucking Fan said...

Hi Paul,

I'm not sure if you heard the news - the museum is closing as of July 20, unless it can find sponsorship from organizations, companies, etc. Here's hoping for a miracle!

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