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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Truck Amok: 1958

Truck Amok: 1958

Oakland, California, circa 1958. "Wrecked Autocar reefer." Latest entry in the Shorpy Archive of Motor Mayhem. 4x5 acetate negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Lucky Maybe

At least it was not a wood cab A-Car (AutoCar). There were still a lot of them still in use in the Midwest in 1958. I was working at a truck stop then as a pump jockey and tire man. There were several drivers with the wood cabs that made regular stops for fuel and food.
David Fry

Re: Strength

Dave, your parenthetical is akin to the comment by one comedian who suggested aircraft be made entirely of the same material as those indestructible "Black Boxes". Fascinating.


This picture almost gives me enough information to identify the situation, but not quite. The trucking company's logo on the driver side door is obscured, the location is unremarkable and the exact date is unavailable. Hopefully some west coast Shorpy readers can shed some light on the story.

Bad accident

And yet I can't stop wondering about 'red front' with the upside down 'der' on the auction house in the background.

Hope the driver survived

My father's sister, the last survivor of ten kids, rolled an 18-wheeler two and a half times about the year of picture. (She was a full-time housewife and mother of five kids, and a part-time trucker, but never wore Army boots.) As a result of the accident, she had one leg two inches shorter than the other--until about five years ago when she got a replacement knee and hip and they evened 'em up. For the first time in my whole life I got to see her walk level at the age of 82.

I wish I had a picture to post here of the '56 Pontiac my parents used to challenge a telephone pole on New Year's Eve 1960. The pole won that one, too. Which was fine by me as I hated that car, only slightly more than the '59 Starfire that replaced it.

(I have to confess, when I was 15 and leaving my after-school job, I backed into a telephone pole with my '65 Cadillac. In that case, the pole lost. It fell over and the nearby hotel went pitch black. The car didn't have a scratch. I still have it and polished that still-perfect bumper just a few weeks ago.)


The diesel driven cooling plant for reefer trailers invented and built next door to me in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

This crash doesn't look good.


They must have pretty strong utility poles in Oakland to put up with the abuse I've seen in Shorpy lately.

[After having scanned dozens of these negatives over the past few days, I can attest that cars would be a lot safer if they were made of telephone poles and lampposts. - Dave]

Reefer Madness

Despite having several family members in the trucking industry, including my father and uncle, I had NEVER heard the term reefer (at least not pertaining to refrigerated trailers...wink wink). I learn something new regularly thanks to Shorpy.

Quite an impact!

Wonder if the driver survived the accident.


That takes the prize as being the worst wreck so far in this Shorpy Archive of Motor Mayhem series.

I can't imagine the driver surviving this, and adios if some poor soul happened to be walking on the sidewalk when that trailer tipped over.

I'll be doing 25 mph on the DC Beltway for tomorrow morning's commute.

To quote Chris Elliott in Groundhog Day ...

He might be okay.

Well, probably not now.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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