Road Trip Outtake: 1939-1949(?) Diamond T Takes a Ferry Ride

As I mentioned the other day, the road trip my son and I went on took us down Whidbey Island, where we caught the ferry to Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula. We got in line for the 7:30 PM ferry, and after a few minutes I heard a big diesel pickup pull into the lane next to us. I looked out the window and saw that it was pulling a trailer upon which sat this splendid old Diamond T truck. What a face!

The brass name plate on the side of its hood needs a good polishing; that’ll buff right out!

Here’s how it looked in better days. Quite the contrast from the plastichrome badges on recent vehicles.

It’s very difficult to pin down the exact year for this Diamond T, as this cab was first used in 1938 and went to about 1950. The ’38 had a more delicate grille, but from 1939 on it gets difficult. There are variations of the trim on the side of the hood, but there seems to be overlap, and maybe it has more to do with the model than the year.

It’s a timeless gem, regardless of the exact year. We did a CC on the successor to this generation and some Diamond T history here. It has often been called “The Cadillac of Trucks”.

At first glance I thought it was just a typical single axle straight truck, but a closer look showed that it was once something more than that.

The first tipoff was the fact that it obviously once had a tandem rear axle based on the springs.

But the frame has been rudely torched off, and the rear-most axle removed. That’s pretty odd, as it’s a bit hard to imagine both why and how well this truck functioned without it. Apparently it did though.

My guess is that for one reason or another, someone wanted a shorter truck on some back-country logging operation or such, and took a torch to it. But that’s a mighty crude operation. And it undoubtedly diminishes this truck’s value to one degree or another. But then I wouldn’t be surpassed if this ends up as a rest-mod truck, as so many other old trucks have. In fact, I’d pretty much bet on it, as it’s not really restorable as is.

I can just make out “Bulldozing” on the door. This truck undoubtedly hauled a big CAT up into the endless virgin woods here in Washington back in its day, to carve out logging roads.

Despite the pretty stiff chilly breeze, I went up to the observation deck as we pulled out and headed for the Olympic Peninsula.

Less than an hour later, we were pulling into Port Townsend. The ferry system is very efficient and well run, and it’s always a pleasure to ride on one.