1938 Dodge RE31 Truck and Tanker
In 1928 the Dodge Brothers acquired a truck line from the Graham Brothers who had been using Dodge engines in their commercial vehicles since 1921. By 1930 a mere two years later, they had America’s 4th largest selling truck, and found their corner of the market.
This tractor with tanker trailer, is a very nicely restored example of an early commercial vehicle, that was 5 years in the making being completed in 1993. It has some rare options that were just becoming available in 1938 with technology and engineering advances. Primitive by today’s standards, in the day this was the latest and greatest.
Sprayed in mostly white, we can see strategically placed blue panels on the top of the hood, and rear dual wheel fenders on the tractor, and side panels on the tanker. All paint is very nicely done and covers very straight panels. With its white rounded front fenders with forward and rear facing turn signals, and bullet style headlights nestled into the fender near the front clip, it has the old school styling which was about to get more art deco in the 1939 models. Also noted are the telescoping small round mirrors which have a lot to be desired when trying to navigate this truck in reverse! Bringing up the rear is a 1932 Kingham Quaker City 4 tanker trailer that has also been meticulously restored and can hold approximately 1,250 gallons in its 4 separate tank bays. These are topped with red painted 2 handled screw caps, and a hose and pump setup is in the rear of the trailer. The truck is sporting red steel wheels, and the trailer has silver outside with red inside dual steel wheels.
Extreme utilitarian would best describe the interior, with just the basics. From simple snap on vinyl with white stitching door panels, to the smooth plain gray bench seat, rubber floors, 2 shift levers, a simple painted dash with a mere 2 large circular gauges imbedded. The beautifully restored original steering wheel with turn signals and air brake gauges labeled Bendix are mounted on the column and front the dash. Looking upward, a new headliner is tight and clean, and some venting can be seen at the top of the windshield. Noted no heater, so it would be a cold delivery route in the winter!
Equipped with a rare 4-speed primary, and a 2-speed auxiliary duplex-type transmission, this truck is powered by a 241ci L head 6-cylinder gas engine which produces 85hp. Also noted are air brakes which was also rare for 1938, and these bring you to a halt quickly. This all runs on a 6-volt electrical system.
A glance underneath without the advantage of the lift, one can see just as much attention was paid here as the upside for this restoration. No rust, fully working air braking system, a heavy-duty driveshaft and large geared rear, transfers power to the dual rear tractor wheels. Air brakes have been installed on the trailer as well.
For a collector who wants something completely different, and certainly not seen every day, a vintage, beautifully restored example of early Dodge commercial trucking, in its simplest form. With styling cues from its cars, and from the front it looks very much like the Dodge sedans of the day, you just cannot go wrong with this investment.
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Location: Morgantown, Pennsylvania, United States