Divorce How to Keep Your CarMy project started on Mothers Day 1985. I set out with a car and trailer, and headed to Scottsbluff, Nebraska, to purchase my first of many International Harvester vehicles.
I purchased this truck after seeing a small picture in a trade magazine. It was a poor picture taken inside of a dark barn. As I hadn’t really seen her before purchase, her name became “Blind Date.”
Unknown to me at the time of purchase, while fueling up near Raton Pass, New Mexico, the sunlight hit the side of the bed, revealing the lettering McCormick Deering, Power Farm Equipment. Astonished, I immediately realized that this truck had been a dealer delivery vehicle known as a “Red Baby.” IH built these little trucks for their dealerships to help promote the IH name. They were all painted bright red, hence, the name.
Just as soon as I got her home, I started the disassembly. I removed everything down to the frame. Little did I know that Arizona requires an inspection of out-of-state vehicles before title can be transferred. Because I had disassembled her, a fine and a dismantling permit were required.
I spent hours wire brushing the frame, bolts, springs and other metal parts; everything was disassembled, cleaned, primered and painted. I reused all parts that were acceptable, repaired the ones that weren’t, and made the parts I needed.
One of the biggest challenges was getting flat-tip wood screws. Because the body and bed are wood, screws of every size were needed. I bought every screw the hardware store had just to keep up the supply needed.
Soon after the cab was rebuilt, we moved. Having to pick up the loose parts without losing any is a real chore; this move was the first of five for the little truck before completion. Not only did it survive five moves, it survived a divorce.
Next was the 1929 truck. My two children, April and Danny, came with me to Des Moines, Iowa, to purchase a 1929 two-speed truck that I needed for headlight assemblies. Tires became an important necessity, and after many months of searching, I found a company that still made the size I needed. I had recently met a woman (Cheryl) who offered to purchase the tires for me on her credit card. I knew than that I had met the woman of my dreams – and married her a year later.
Just before completion, still disassembled, Arizona had its worst forest fire, and my wife and I had evacuated our home. I had left Blind Date behind to fend for herself. The fire came within 300 yards of her shelter.
Through life’s ups and downs the little truck survived, again.
On Mother’s Day 2005, I finally finished the little truck. She is a real joy to drive; showing her at truck shows is very rewarding. In fact, she won the 2005 Arizona IH Rendezvous, Best In Show. I also took her back to Ohio, for the IH Scout & Light Truck Nationals, where she placed first in her category and Farthest Trailered.
This project truly was a labor of love, I never regret the time I spent rebuilding her, but would never do it again.
– Dan Fraley
Show Low, Arizona
1927 Specifications: Special Delivery Salesman’s Coupe
35 mph top speed
¾ ton capacity, 9 ½ gallon fuel tank
172 cid Waukesha engine
200 mile range
30 hp Flat Head 4 cylinder
3 Speed transmission
Electric start, lights and battery
Speedometer, electric horn, tools and jack
117” wheel base
Roll-up windows, space behind seat for salesman’s samples
Artillery spoke wood wheels
Extra Wheel Rim
Spare Tire Carrier