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Thread: A Museum Display Sedan-Delivery

  1. #1
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Ft. Wayne, IN

    A Museum Display Sedan-Delivery

    I live near Auburn, Indiana, home of the Auburn - Cord - Duesenberg Museum. The ACD Museum displays some of the finest motorcars produced for the rich and famous during the 1920 and 1930 Gilded Age of Motorcars.

    On the same property, in a series of buildings once part of the ACD manufacturing complex is a lesser known Museum, the National Auto and Truck Museum of the United States, NATMUS. A While the ACD Museum features cars of the rich and famous, NATMUS features the cars and trucks that real people drove. They also feature an extensive collection of model cars, old gas pumps, signs, literature and a sample of just about everything automotive. The jewel of their collection is a GM Futurliner, serial # 10. The GM Futurliners were a group of custom vehicles, styled in the 1940's by Harley Earl for General Motors, and integral to the company's Parade of Progress—a North American traveling exhibition promoting future cars and technologies.

    Over the years I worked (in our day jobs) with a member of the NATMUS Board of Directors and a while back, when considering how I would solve the question of which of my daughters ended up with the ’48 2WD Truck, he suggested donating it to NATMUS since they have no Willys-Overland vehicles in their collection. So, yesterday I went on a road trip and I took the truck up to Auburn to do a show and tell with the Museum Executive Director. It went well and the long term home of the truck will probably be at NATMUS.

    Now, in the Museum back yard, they have recreated a typical “tourist court” of the late 1930’s and a 1930’s gas station. As part of the gas station, they have a drive up service ramp and perched on that ramp is a Willys-Overland Sedan Delivery truck. In the course of conversation, I asked about the Sedan Delivery on display. The Executive Director admitted that he did not know much about the vehicle other than it is just a display item, so – being the ever curious one, I asked if I could look it over?

    I wandered over and poked about it. It is a 2WD truck, first cousin to my pick-up, with the “remote control” shifter on the column. The engine appears to be the original L-134, two-piece driveshaft with those weird ball and trunnion u-joints and a Timken rear end (probably 5.38:1 – I doubt if anyone put the 6.17 on a delivery truck).

    From the grille and windshield, it is a pre-1950˝ since it has the flat grille, not the later pointed grille and the original style flat-fenders. Since it was up on a rack, there was no opening the hood and looking at the VIN plate, so detective work had to be external. I was able to get the passenger door open and look at the interior. It’s ROUGH! From the split seat, it is a 1948 or earlier. The instrument cluster is the square cluster, but I could not tell if it has the engine turned or painted faceplate. An engine turned faceplate would make it earlier than mid-1948.

    As I later told the Director, the truck still has its original plastic arm rests – weathered and brittle though they are. Original plastic armrests are as rare as unicorn horns and no one makes a replica. My suggestion to him was to remove them to storage, find a computer geek to make a 3-D laser scan of them and offer the resulting software to anyone who wanted to make an armrest on a 3-D printer! The door panels are the embossed panels, not the plain smooth ones. Looking at the ’48 Parts Manual, it appears that the smooth or embossed door panels were trim options, not a production break-in as I had suspected previously. And, on the lower right corner of the glove box cover is the “Jeep Delivery” trim plate!

    The heater is the same heater I have in my ’48. In 1948 heaters were dealer installed items and it is not unusual that two Jeep vehicles from the same area and age would have the same heater. My truck originally had a Mississippi heater and it was not a heater that could match an Indiana winter.

    The Sedan Delivery is in worse shape than it looks to a first glance, lots of deep rust and eaten away floorboards – but there is still a Sedan Delivery under there and we’ve seen as bad or worse come back to life here on the Forum.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member TJones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Akron, Ohio
    Thats Very Interesting info. LarrBeard, I didnt know there was such a place I might have to take a road trip one day and go check it out.

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