(first posted 6/14/2014) Yes, I like dump trucks, especially of about this vintage and size. Just the thing to haul some gravel or a really big load of compost, or with which to pull a rented excavator. And they look so good, especially a vintage Reo. I can Dig It.
I shot this in Cottage Grove last February, a bit south of Eugene. In doing some research on these just now, it turns out to have been for sale. Good thing I didn’t know that then.
I might well have bought it on the spot, slipped behind the wheel and had Stephanie follow me home; a bit slowly, undoubtedly.
Love that two-tone dash. Even Stephanie agreed.
This major redesign first appeared in 1941, and it’s always been one of my favorites. It’s a got a bit of a forward cant, not unlike the 1940 Graham shark-nose. Reo used this for some time well into the fifties, including the legendary Reo Speewagon pickup, which I also found and wrote up here. It was called “Moreload”, as it shifted the cab a bit forward, leaving more room for the payload.
I love it when there’s no question as to what model an old vehicle is; makes the research so much easier.
Let’s lift the hood and check out the legendary “Gold Comet” engine. If I got it right, it had 331 cubic inches and 128 hp. That should get me down the highway at about 50-55, depending on the gearing.
No doubt about it being a Gold Comet. I do wonder if that’s the original carb; looks a wee bit too modern.
Looks like it’s tuned up and ready to work. An alternator has replaced the old generator; good call. They might have taken the paper label off the radiator hose before clamping it; bad form.
This is a Gar Wood three-yard dump bed, just about right for my use. Except of course that I’ve sworn off building any more new houses. Oh well; I could have really used it back in 1997.
But I can still dig it, eh? How about you?
This old girl is hitting a lot of the right notes with me. My appreciation for trucks has grown considerably the last four to five years and this one is a real sweetie.
I’d say she’s good for another sixty odd years!
I’m not familiar at all with “civilian” REO dump trucks, but I sure know the REO military trucks converted into dump trucks, like this 1961 6×6. (Photo: mr. Baars)
This kind of trucks (re)built the country after WW2. Off-road specialists Ginaf and Terberg used GMC and REO 6×6 military trucks to build their dump trucks. The trucks got a steel cab, a diesel engine swap and (obviously) a dump bed.
So these trucks were in fact the starting point of Ginaf’s and Terberg’s current 10×4 and 10×8 dump trucks with a 110,000 lbs GVW rating.
I’m talking to my Father right now, who used to drive a REO truck when he was in the Army, assigned to Germany in the early 50’s (1950-1952 or so). What he remembers is that the trucks had automatic transmissions, but they were in the shop a lot.
He also remembers taking a chance and doing the deal where they attached their canned rations to the exhaust manifold during the winter (to heat them up of course)…the problem was, they didn’t get to pick where they stopped, and you guessed it, they went too long between stops and the cans exploded, along with their contents (beans, I would guess) all over the engine. They found out about it of course and my Dad had to clean up the mess from the engine compartment…maybe that’s part of the reason they were in the shop a lot?
Didn’t REO stand for “Ransom E Olds” the founder of Oldsmobile? Wonder if GMC made similar trucks at the time?
Zwep, here’s a link to the history of truck builder Ginaf.
The text is all Dutch but there are a lot of pictures of their older trucks. Ginaf used GMC and REO military trucks, the “small REO” was the M34 military truck and the “big REO” was based on the Diamond T M52 chassis. Ginaf learned that the REO chassis were more heavy-duty than the GMC chassis, so from that moment on they only used the small and big REO trucks. A diesel engine swap was pretty much standard procedure, mostly a Leyland-DAF engine, ordered directly from the DAF factory.
I remember those 6×6 trucks with the evident military roots very well, they drove around way into the seventies.
My New York State Class D License does not let me drive vehicles with a GVW over 26,002 Lbs and/or with air brakes. Cool truck, but why does the Intake Manifold say Gold Comet and is that German on the mudflaps? I love how moss grows everywhere in Pacific Northwest, makes the place much greener and since I am a renter I do not have to worry about the damage as much.
The mud flaps say FRUEHAUF, it’s a trailer manufacturer.
Teddy, it’s a German name but the firm is an American manufacturer of trailers, no longer in business. See here: http://www.singingwheels.com/
The mud flaps say FRUEHAUF, it’s a trailer manufacturer.
I still see Domet Fruehauf on Trailers here truck bodies and trailers.
Thats because Fruehauf NZ is still in bussness.
Love it, the inlet manifold says Gold Comet so is that more powerfull doesnt matter Ive driven petrol Bedfords with less hp and they work just fine not quickly but road speed is not a primary concern with such vehicles especially laden, yeah you shoulda bought this old yella would be thanking you as would your back a tipper saves a lot of shovel work.
Love your truck, I have a 1964 diamond T p-2000 dump. With a White 6-130 OHV inline six like this, one not sure if gold comet but close. need a water pump or kit super hard to find, same pump as this one. I have looked all over if anyone knows a supplier let me know. Thanks. Phil
Yes, that is a Gold Comet. The author probably got it confused with the Continental Red Seal, a popular truck/industrial engine of the same time period. REO was noted for their well designed OHV engines, in fact White bought REO out in the late 50’s primarily to use REO’s engines to replace the ancient flathead 6’s in their own trucks. REO even developed a very modern (and large) OHV V-8 in the mid-50’s.
No mention of where the ‘REO; name came from? None other than the initials of one Ransom Eli Olds, early automotive pioneer and founder of Oldsmobile. After Olds sold out to GM, he started REO as an independent manufacturer of trucks and luxury cars. The cars were discontinued in the early 30’s, but REO continued on as a truck manufacturer in Lansing MI., a short distance from Oldsmobile.
Sometimes I amaze myself: writing “Red Comet” while looking at that manifold with “Gold Comet” on it. Fixed now.
Olds was actually forced out several years before the sale to GM, and started REO in 1905.
One of the original R.E.O Speedwagons! I checked Wikipedia for fact checking and this particular one was there too! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/REO_Motor_Car_Company#mediaviewer/File:Cottage_Grove_Dump_Truck_(Lane_County,_Oregon_scenic_images)_(lanDB2094).jpg Maybe by the same original post author? 😉 P
I’ve always liked vintage dump trucks. I’ve never seen or heard of an REO before.
You must have heard of REO de Janeiro.
REO De Janeiro? Or is it Rio De Janeiro? That I have heard of.
Country Group “Diamond Rio” went with “Rio” to avoid the copyright infringement with “Diamond REO” but apparent REO Speedwagon had no legal issues with their name.
And then Diamond multimedia just happened to come along and name their MP3 player “Rio.”
If this truck was for sale, what was the asking price? What should one of these go for?
It is an intriguing design, absolutely eye catching. Certainly cooler than having a 20 or 30 year old F-150 for trips to the nursery section at Lowes. My neighbors would love to see it parked on the street in front of my home and I know just exactly where I would position it.
This truck must have had a lot of torque but with a gas engine, how? Gearing alone? Comments, please?
I think he was asking about $6k.
Really big trucks in the US used to mostly all have gas engines, and some gas engines into the 60s. A naturally aspirated diesel doesn’t make more torque than a comparable sized gas engine; in fact the opposite is true: the Olds 350 V8 made 275 ft.lbs as a gas engine; 205/220 ft.lbs as a diesel.
Forced induction of course can drastically increase the torque and hp of either gas and diesel engines, but not many US truck diesels had turbos until well into the seventies.
In fact, back in the 40s-50s, gas engines were preferred by truckers for their greater torque and speed, and some truck firms out west kept using them, like the legendary Hall-Scott gas engines, because they cut down times on long runs, although of course they were less efficient.
Diesel engines in mid-size trucks like this were almost unheard of until well into the sixties. There almost weren’t any smaller sized diesel engines, except for the Detroit Diesel 4-53.
Very true. The Hall Scott soldiered on for some years after it fell from favor with western long haul drivers, as it was also a popular engine for fire apparatus. Easy starting and quick acceleration endeared them to many fire departments. I believe the last examples were built in 1970.
…”after it fell from favor with western long haul drivers”…
The rise of Mr. Clessie Lyle Cummins or were there other causes ?
Coming from a vehicle repair background and still involved in transportation business, it’s easy to see why gas engines lasted as long as they did. They were much easier to drive since they had much greater powerband. A Chevy 366 big block made good torque right off idle to 3000 rpm. A Screamin’ Jimmy had a powerband of like 1000 rpm, so there was lots of shifting and speed variations.
These REO engines were famous for being over engineered and strong. Most gas heavy truck engines could take just massive abuse and could literally be fixed with coat hangers. Total idiots could, and often did, wrench on them and they’d even still run most of the time. With any kid of service, a big block Chevy gas motor was pretty much unkillable. Fords and Internationals were almost as good. I can’t ever remember back in those days anyone complaining of engine failures on these big gas motors, unlike these days when engine failures are a lot more common than the car makers would like to admit.
These were good trucks but not fast ones. A Chevy 366 Big Block dump with three yard box could maybe hit 80 km/h loaded on a flat road. All the ones I drove had no power steering or brakes and had a two-speed rear end. They were about as simple as a vehicle could be, and very intentionally so, the truck was designed for payload costs. Driving one for a day in and out of job sites, dumping fill, top soil, gravel and the like, was like being beaten up by Mike Tyson. But in those days it was all young farm boys bombing around in these things and we usually made pretty good money doing it!
There is no way these trucks could be on today’s roads. The brakes are simply not up to standard and they would have a hard time keeping up with traffic. Modern trucks are all common rail and high techy things and they really do use a lot less fuel than the old gas stuff. The trucks are much easier to drive, often automatic, more comfortable and result in fewer insurance claims. All wheel disk brakes, ABS, traction control and stability control are a real boon for safety.
But if you lived out in the boonies and needed a truck to move stuff around during harvest time, this old REO would fit the bill nicely. Or a vintage Chevy C60!
A 510hp DAF gives 350rpm of useable torque 1850 ftlbs@ 1100 – 1450 rpm then shift running into where it makes horsepower just creates noise and extra fuel consumption it wont go any faster, a 18 speed splits perfectly to remain high in the torque band changing up when loaded. Whole gears changing down when pulling on hills uses the whole torque band.
In reality, it was for sale on craigslist intermittently for over a year, for I think it was $3,000. I think I remember that it needed some brake work? It was surely a fair price– maybe it changed owner or upped the price? Not cheap to move it any significant distance, tho.
Nice truck. I most definitely dig it.
I love trucks from this era. That glorious front end reminds me of another fine art deco classic:
Ahh the Rochester 2-jet carburetor, I think it debuted in 1955, and finally was phased out in 1980. I’ve rebuilt a few of them, but the larger later ones, not the smaller earlier ones like the one on this one.
I found this 1935 Dutch ad showing a REO dump truck.
American gasoline trucks were very common and popular here before WW2. After the war they disappeared very quickly, only Mack and International did hold on much longer.
Both truckmakers had assembly plants here and did come with diesel engines.
(Diesel became the norm after WW2 for anything bigger than a car)
If I saw that front end coming up behind me in the rear view mirror, I’d feel like Dennis Weaver in “Duel”. The steps in the bumper must be great for easy access to the engine compartment.
Fantastic old truck; love the lines, the way the two-tone falls along body contours, and the “WE CAN DIG IT” livery. It’s a shame you don’t see more vintage heavy trucks on the roads as they are invariably fascinating.
Is that a 60’s International pickup in the background of the first shot?
Here is a REO that is for sale. Not a dump truck, but could be converted.
1952 REO E-20 @ collector car ads.
I drove a F-26 (I think) converted into a wrecker with a Holmes 650. Weighed over 22,000 lbs empty. Top speed was about 60. Great old rig
This Diamond Reo appears to have made it’s way from Cottage Grove to Coos Bay, OR and is now “owned” by, or at least listed for sale by Brandon Este. I’m not sure if this is a scam or a flip as he’s asking $3500.00 for it. Does anyone have the history of the previous owner in Cottage Grove?
My Great Uncle Vinny drove a REO 28XS semi all through WW2. He drove in Italy, he drove in France and right into Germany to end the war. The very few times I heard him talk about the war, he told me the big REO was able to haul very heavy loads for the time and not break down, ever.
He must have had a lot of horrible experiences as he was admitted to one of the very many psych hospitals that were erected after the war. He was in the hospital until 1948. He could not hold a job and drank heavily. But he was a very kind man and he sang traditional Irish songs to me at the age of five years. I always looked forward to seeing them, but that goes for everyone in my large Irish family.
This post is a but off topic but it is tied into the REO truck. It also shows that war deeply affects not only the infantry, but anyone who saw the mass destruction.
No, not off-topic. It’s the sort of interesting side-bar this site prompts. And that’s logical really, when you think that the “product” here is nostalgia, whether the curbside vehicle involved is seventy years old or seven.
Now, whether or not war should ever be waged or what the meaning of a just war might be is something entirely contentious, and IS rightly off-topic here, but it’s not controversial to note the whopping impact upon those who do the legwork in war. Particularly because they are us, at any given time – it might be tomorrow, who knows – as we aren’t the ones in power.
And we have too long lived with the Greatest Generation myth, yet from the bravest to the slightest of those men, they suffered immensely from what they saw and had done: probably more importantly, their wives and kids had the impact flow onto them. It is a hidden story, but entirely real. It’s part of the story, and for you, it’s part of a REO story. At minimum, I certainly get where you came from.
To put it on a more prosaic level, the old machinery we all love here was often lethal, and from time to time, we need to be realistic about the dangers to the environment and the users that these old lovelies represented.
All through university (1985-1988) I drove taxi in Esquimalt, a smaller municipality . It is were Canada’s west coast naval fleet operated.
When I started driving in 1983, there were six ex-service clubs. The so called “Greatest Generation” all loved to smoke and drink.
They started dying off in droves circa 1985, when most were in their early 1960’s. By 1990, most of them were dead. Now there are no veterans’ clubs anymore.
There were a couple of this model REO on display at Transport world when I visited, Cool old trucks but I wouldnt want to work one in modern traffic, its not keeping up thats the problem its the slowing and stopping that those old jiggers dont do very well without exhaust or retarders or jacob brakes.
Does anyone know if the disc wheels are standard on that vintage of REO, or if it’s been converted from spoke wheels at some point?
Most U.S. truck manufacturers offered both cast spoke or disc ‘Budd’ wheels optionally as far back as the 30’s. Generally speaking, cast spoke wheels were more popular in the east, while disc wheels were more popular in the west. The 10 hole Alcoas on the front of this REO are much newer than the truck, but this truck could very well have been built with 10 stud disc wheels.
Thanks–I did not realize disc wheels were available on the commercial market that early.
I recall as a child seeing lots of spoke wheels on trucks and then it seems like I looked around one day and they were all disc.
This post is now nearly older than the truck, and the truck herself is likely even brighter in green from more moss, but I have to comment and say, she’s simply a beaut.
Imagine, a Tonka toy you can drive around in. Oh, yes please.
I’m a late digger, but REO, I digs you too.
Kaf, if your question is specific, as in you are now the owner of the Reo, then I have an observation to add.
Otherwise Bob B covered it nicely.
Thanks, but I was just curious.
As I said replying to Bob B., it seemed that all the old big trucks had spoke wheels when I was a child.
The 6 cylinder gas engine in the REO truck is a 331 c.i.d displacement (OA-331) and GOLD COMET was REO’s patented name for their line of OHV engines, both 6 and 8 cylinder. The operationg RPM “band” for the 331 c.i.d. 6 cyl engine was about 2200-3400 RPM. It was a “wet sleeve” engine so individual cylinders could be replaced without removing the engine block from the engine compartment if there were a piston or sleeve problem.
My Father owned (he bought it used) and operated a 1954 REO F-22 highway tractor, 331 cid engine and 5 speed trans (direct in 5th) with 2-speed Eaton rear axle and full air brakes at 56,000 GCW for several years. The truck had cast spoke wheels and 10:00×20 tires. The engine was underpowered when loaded to the licensed GCW, however road speed limits for trucks in Wisconsin at that time were only 45mph, so that was adequate and economical (5.5 mpg) until interstate roads became common with truck speeds of 55 mph allowed. I rememmber the truck as hard to start (6vDC system) in cold winter weather and to have a pretty small/inadequate cab heater. Guys driving GMC (Give Me a Cummins) trucks teased my Dad that REO meant Run Empty Only and that FORD meant Fix of Repair Daily.