Vintage Car Carriers: 1949 DeArco – Another Shop-Built Tall-Boy Freak

Until the late ’50s or so, Illinois had the most extreme length restriction on trucks, 35′ feet total, as a consequence of a very strong railroad lobby. I’ve shown you a couple of other home-built custom car carriers creatively designed to haul five cars within that limit. Here’s one more, the 1949 DeArco, built by Arco Auto Carriers in Chicago. Seeing this monster next to one of their conventional trucks really puts it in perspective.

Here’s the patent drawings for it. The patent wasn’t issued until 1956, by which time it was irrelevant. But it shows how it was essential to get one of the cars all the way to the front in order to make it work. What’s curious are the very large front wheels and the small rear wheels, suggesting it was FWD. But as the lower drawing shows, it had RWD, but presumably to small wheels to facilitate loading. The truck was based on a Ford F8, including its 145 hp flathead V8, a five speed transmission and two speed rear axle.

It’s essentially the same approach used in the CCI “Skyscraper” carrier, except that it had two cars in the truck and three in the trailer.

The third approach was the most ambitious one, the FWD La Crosse Carrier. It didn’t need to be tall because the lack of a rear driving axle allowed more room in the back for one of the cars to sit low.

This was the result. Not exactly pretty. To the best of my knowledge, only one was built, as a proof of concept. That’s the gas tank up there, right behind the cab; no need for a fuel pump.

Because drivers complained about the terrible visibility, especially down low in front of the truck, the cab was cut up, widened, and a second set of lower windshields installed. The grille was donated by a Nash.

Windows were also added to the bottom of the cab doors. Must have been fun to get in and out of.