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Naked Truck: 1919

Naked Truck: 1919

San Francisco circa 1919. "Sandow motor truck." Latest entry on the Shorpy List of Lapsed Lorries. 5x7 glass negative by Christopher Helin. View full size.


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A Strong Name

Probably named after Eugen Sandow (1867-1925), the pioneering German bodybuilder and legendary strongman.

[That would be an excellent guess. - Dave]


No greasy t-shirt for this truckie! (Yes, I realize it's a publicity shot, and he's probably the regional sales manager, trying to look like he's doing real work)


Radiator; very distinctive and memorable. Regarding windshields and such, sure most of those items would be part of the final vehicle design as specified by purchaser.

BTW, wonder if Sandow was the same strongman featured by Flo Ziegfeld and depicted in the movie The Great Ziegfeld. Probably so, interesting factoid.

Pretty awesome

There is virtually no information extant these days on this Sandow truck, which is a pity. The rear suspension is very advanced for the time, and better than what you get on a five-ton truck today!

The springs are not required to do anything but be springs. Location of the axle fore and aft is by huge trailing arms, and a Panhard rod locates it laterally. The usual arrangement is for the leaf springs to do both as on brand new Ford and Chevy pickups and medium duty Navistars, and it isn't elegant mechanically.

The rear axle itself is a worm drive from an outside supplier, quite common at the time. Nice photograph by Helin, the Hearst motoring and travel writer from 1915 to 1929, who seems to have done quite well for himself.

Seatbelts ON!

Just think, this truck has solid rubber tires, providing no cushioning that pneumatic tires would provide, has no shock absorbers to speak of, and no seat belt. The beefy leaf springs don't look as if they would flex much on each pothole. The only cushioned thing is the horsehair he's sitting on. The driver must have had to hang onto the steering wheel to stay seated. Lacking a windshield, if that bowler is not jammed on tight, it might take flight, but driving at night must have been difficult by kerosene light.

But each wheel spoke has pinstripes.

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