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Double the Fun: 100th Birthday Party Set for 1919 Trucks

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum will host a 100th Birthday party for two of its 1919 trucks on Friday, July 12th at 2:30 pm; a 1919 International Model F1 and a 1919 Pierce Arrow The event will coincide with this year’s Walcott Truckers Jamboree, July 11-13.  The public is welcome to attend the celebration.

“The 1919 International is the first truck Bill Moon ever purchased”, says Dave Meier, museum curator. “He kept the truck at his house under the car port. His kids played on it and Bill drove it in many parades. It was the truck that started his love of collecting.”

It’s important to note that that same model of truck was the first to climb Pike’s Peak.  1,591 of these trucks were produced. The truck has a top speed of 17 MPH.

Then the 1919 Pierce Arrow was purchased, it looked nothing like it does today. The truck has been completely restored. It is a crank start, has solid rubber tires and a worm drive. The dump bed is hydraulic.

According to Meier, “By 1919 Pierce Arrow already a history of building luxury cars, but there was nothing luxurious about this 1919 Pierce Arrow truck. It performed well and held up under heavy use, but there was definitely no luxury involved.”


Phantom 309

Red Sovine released the song “Phantom 309” in 1967, almost a decade before CB truckin’ songs became super popular. It’s about a haunted 18-wheeler. The song is a first-person narrative by a hitchhiker who’s trying to return home from the West Coast. After three days, at a crossroad in the pouring rain, he flags down a tractor-trailer driven by a guy named “Big Joe.”

Big Joe drives through the night and drops the narrator at a truck stop, flipping him a dime for a cup of coffee before heading off into the darkness.

The narrator walks into the truck stop and talks to the waitress about Big Joe’s generosity. She lets him know that he was picked up by a “ghost driver,” and that ten years earlier, at the very same intersection where he was picked up, Big Joe swerved to avoid hitting a school bus full of children. He lost control of the truck and was killed in the wreck.

Tommy Faile wrote the lyrics to Sovine’s single in 1966. The song was covered by dozens of artists afterward, including Jack Bond, Dave Dudley and John Waits.

Whether or not you believe the urban legend part about being picked up by a phantom trucker is up to you, but the story of the crash itself is true.

On January 29, 1963, John William “Pete” Trudelle drove a tanker truck to the Chelsea River Bulk Petroleum Facility north of Boston to load up on 4,600 gallons of gasoline. Trudelle turned around and started to make the several-hour trip back to Keene, New Hampshire, near the eastern bank of the Connecticut River, just across from the state of Vermont.

He started up Route 1, just north of Boston in Saugus, Massachusetts, on the Newburyport Turnpike.

The intersection of Route 129 and Route 1 in Saugus was treacherous. Trudelle passed under the bridge, where a blind spot impeded drivers as they went into a dip. Little did Trudelle know that there was a car stopped under the bridge, where it was waiting for a school bus to pick up children.

There was no way Trudelle could stop. Rather than plowing into the back of the two vehicles stopped, he crashed the tanker into the bridge abutment. Trudelle was unable to escape the cab as the 4,600 gallons of gas erupted. The driver of the car, Robert Mayer of Stamford, Connecticut, tried to escape, but was overtaken by the flames.

The bus was engulfed in flames, but the six children and the driver on board had time to escape. About 10 seconds after the passengers and driver got out, the bus burst into flames. The heat of the fire was so intense that steel girders on the overpass buckled from the flames.


Quad Cities Museum Week

The Iowa 80 Trucking Museum is participating in the Quad Cities Museum Week, June 8-15.

Learn more about Quad Cities Museum week and the other museum participating.  

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum to Expand Truck Exhibit Hall

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum is currently expanding the museum by adding on to the current truck Exhibit Hall.  The expansion will add an additional 26,400 square feet; nearly doubling the Truck Exhibit Hall space.  When complete, there will be space for over 130 trucks to be on display in the museum.  “We are excited about this project,” says Dave Meier, museum curator.  “We will have the ability to share so much more of our truck collection with visitors.”

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum expects the expansion to be completed in late Spring 2016.

Local Man Gets Hole-in-One at Iowa 80 Trucking Museum Golf Tournament and Wins Car!

John Randle of Iowa City, Iowa, achieved something yesterday that no one has done in the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum’s Golf Tournament 11-year history; he got a hole-in-one.  That feat in itself is impressive, but coupled with the fact that the particular hole was a prize hole for a 2-year lease on a Ford Mustang made it even better.

“The judges stood up and were looking in the hole, then looked at me, the suspense was killing me!” says Randle. “I yelled, ‘Did it go in?’ then everyone started yelling and jumping up and down, and I was yelling.  People said they heard me up at the clubhouse from Hole #8!”

John Randle is the first person to ever make a hole-in-one shot during the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum tournament; though he humbly admits it’s the third hole-in-one he has made since taking up golf 20 years ago.  Mr. Randle is an employee of CAT Scale Company, Walcott, Iowa and has played in the tournament for several years.

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This year’s tournament was held yesterday at Glynn’s Creek Golf Course where it has been played since its inception 11 years ago.

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum Dedicates Flag During Ceremony Earlier This Afternoon

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum held a Flag Dedication ceremony today at 1:30 PM at the museum.  The 25’ x 40’ U.S. Flag is now flying proudly on the Museum’s newly installed 100-foot tall flagpole.  It is the largest known flag in the Quad City Area.


American Legion Post 548 of Walcott, Iowa, performed the official ceremony.  The flag was presented to Carolyn Moon and Delia Moon Meier.  Delia Moon Meier also spoke of the reason for the newly installed flag.  “We dedicate this flag today in honor of my father, our employees, professional truck drivers and all others who have served and those who continue to serve in the U.S. Military.  We are proud to be able to live and work in a land where freedom is still valued and protected, said Meier”

The flag and flagpole were donated by the Iowa 80 Truckstop to the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum in honor of all of the men and women who have served and continue to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum to Host 100th Birthday Party for 1913 Rambler

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum will host a 100th Birthday party for its 1913 Rambler truck on Friday, July 12th at 2:30 pm.  The event will coincide with this year’s Walcott Truckers Jamboree, July 11-13.  The public is welcome to attend the celebration.

“This Rambler is a rare piece of trucking history.” says Dave Meier, museum curator. “Not many Rambler trucks were produced and this is the only one we’ve come across.  We purchased it from a gentleman in Geneseo, Illinois.  The truck had been used as a plumber’s truck in the Moline-Rock Island area.”

Thomas B. Jeffrey built and sold Rambler bicycles from 1878 to 1900.  He was one of America’s first men interested in building automobiles. His experimental prototypes in the early 1900’s included such radical ideas as steering wheels and front mounted engines.  A wide variety of styles of cars were built under the Rambler name, including trucks.  Upon Jeffrey’s death in 1902, his son Charles took over the business and in 1914 renamed it Jeffrey, which became the world’s largest producer of trucks during WWI.

1955 Mack LTL Restoration In Progress

The Iowa 80 Trucking Museum is currently in the process of restoring a 1955 Mack LTL. There were only 2,009 of these Mack LTL’s built from 1947 to 1956.  This Mack was built in 1955 for Downey Trucking in Downey, California.  A 34” aluminum sleeper was added by the Los Angeles Mack branch, and later removed for the truck’s conversion to oil field use.   When Iowa 80 acquired this truck, it was used on tough wrecker calls that required three wrecker trucks.  This truck has a 235 hp Cummins NT-6-B Engine and a 5-speed Mack TR720 and Brown-Lipe 8035 G Auxiliary 3-speed transmission, with a top speed of 60 MPH.

This Mack came to us looking like this:

The restoration is coming along. Here are some pictures of our progress so far:

Paymaster Truck Now On Display!

The Iowa 80 Trucking Museum now has a Paymaster Truck on loan from the American Truck Historical Society for a limited time. There were only 14 Paymaster Trucks produced from 1970 to 1980. This specific truck is one of 10 that were produced for Ryder, between 1974 and 1975. The Paymaster was designed to be more versatile, improve the ride for the driver, and reduce labor costs through a simpler engine design with easy to replace components. The unique look of this truck was designed to be more aerodynamic and succeeded in reducing fuel costs by 40%, over other work trucks of the same time period. The Paymasters only had two axles but could do the same work and haul the same payload as a standard 3 axle truck. The low numbers of Paymaster Trucks produced makes this truck extremely rare, and the Museum is so glad to have the opportunity to display it.

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum to Host 100th Birthday Party for 1912 Saurer & 1912 Mack Jr.

WALCOTT, IOWA —  Iowa 80 Trucking Museum will host a 100th Birthday party for its 1912 Saurer and 1912 Mack Jr. trucks on Friday, July 13th at 2:30 pm.  The event will coincide with this year’s Walcott Truckers Jamboree, July 12-13.  The public is welcome to attend the celebration.

“It’s very fitting that we are celebrating both the Saurer and Mack Jr. trucks, since both nameplates were forerunners to the Mack trucks we see on the road today.”  says Dave Meier, museum curator.

Both the Mack Brothers Motor Car Company and the Saurer Motor Company  were governed by the same holding company; International Motor Company.  The company was originally founded as the Mack Brothers Company by John, Augustus and William Mack in 1900.

The Mack Jr. Model was the first one that Mack produced that had the steering on the left side.  Prior to that, all trucks had the steering wheel on the right; the same side horses were driven from.

“The truck was in disrepair when we acquired it.  The restoration took over two years and this truck is only one of three Mack Jr. trucks known to still exist,” says Meier.

Saurer trucks were first imported in 1908.  United States assembly started in 1909 in Plainfield, New Jersey.  According to Meier, this particular Saurer truck is the only American made Saurer known to exist.




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