Could this be the oldest Coke truck on the road today? Bought from the estate sale of Gordon Elson. His family owned the Coke franchise from 1906-1987. Older restoration, from the days when you found used parts, no mail order catalog parts, so not all parts are period correct. It has a Parry Carriage MFG Co. body. Have documentation going back to new.
Really hard to prove it was used, unless there is a paper trail or photographic evidence. Gordon Elsons estate was raped to the tune of 30 million that went missing or was looted, so it may be next to impossible to prove.
I have a photo of the family in it new. Coke check from the Co.
elson.bmp (157.6 k)
I'll try the check
trying truck again
Awesome truck !! Did you acquire it?
In the link Ed provided - if you scroll down a bit - the back half of this vehicle can be seen in one of the images I assume was taken at one of the estate sales.
If you compare the photos, those are two different trucks.
Some major differences in the bodies.
Theres no question the truck is from the Gordon Elson estate sale, (see pic) and that adds value. However, an era picture of the exact truck adds even more. Its a neat truck none the less .
There are differences in the trucks. but remember they probley ran the wheels of it and it was restored by Gordons men the best they could with what was left. the windshield aera is different but the box is original. I changed the back light.
Here is a backstory on the Elson state sale shenanigans is on youtube. I remember hearing about this story and the mystery surrounding missing property prior to the actual unadvertised sale.
Maybe there is a record of the engine number to compare to, it may be the same chassis from the car in the old picture. Does it have the original plates or chassis number to compare to narrow it down. The wood body was probably replaced at some point, or it may be off another truck he owned or a spare.
The sides of the seat are different - in the period photo, the sides of the seat are flared.
There are other differences but I'm not going to waste any more of my time pointing them out.
If I took a picture of you when you were young and I took a picture of you now I to would say there not the same , to many differences but we won't waste time on that anymore. It's a older restoration of what was left of the truck to work with at the time they restored it.
I know of a Bugatti with a claimed known history back to racing in the 1920s. I do NOT know the owner, but have known a few people that do. What is well known among some collectors is that the car is about 90 percent reproduction, using only a few scraps from a few original cars (including a couple pieces from the known historic car). That seems to be good enough for the claims to be allowed a partial pass, and the car has been included in some prestigious shows. (Kind of like a "worst-kept-secret"?)
Your coke truck sounds like a good historic vehicle to me. I would document as much as I could. Chalk some of the differences off as results of bad care and restoration. And be as open about those realities as you reasonably can. I have had several cars over the years that I have said were the victims of "bad restorations" (the '16 center-door I used to have was first restored and badly in the late '50s). While I call my '15 runabout a "spring '15", I also usually add that it was not an intact survivor.
Most of our cars have had nearly (or over) a hundred years, some world wars, the great depression, and many scrap drives to survive in order for them to get to us today. That there should be some ambiguity in their provenance should not be surprising for most cars of that era. I envy you having one that you can know that much about. (My '24 T coupe was restored by some fellow in the '70s. Nothing is known about its history before that.)
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Gary, you get all types on this forum. Some mean to do good, some are just plain insulting (example on the Copperthwait (SP?) Pie Company van being called a fake when it was in the family from new)so just enjoy your truck and continue to post pictures and history.
Yes it is sad that an estate looted, a will faked and yet no one goes to jail - even the MI BAR Assoc. Disciplinary folks ran like afraid rabbits.
Both local and federal prosecutors are afraid to take on white collar crime.
One of the reasons we have been pursuing this is because by all accounts Mr. Gordon Elson was a kind and generous man - making it even worse that people he trusted stabbed him in the back in the name of money.
But the end of this saga has not yet been written.
There are 2,000 pages of documents - and countless DVD files that will provide more.
Plus have been waiting for the inventory to be filed.
Plus - there is one update you won't believe but we will be updating everything.
In my opinion truck in the period photo is on a 1911 or 1912 Ford chassis based on the following:
- hard rubber knobs on spark and throttle levers (1912 and earlier)
- brass Rands windshield (equal halves) with filler board (early 1912 model year and earlier)
- E&J 666 headlamps (1911, 1912 and 1913 only - however, the black knobs on the spark and throttle levers and the Rands windshield with the filler board rules out 1913)
If I had the original print in my hand, I could pull out more details with a magnifying glass. For example, a determination of the style of rear wheel hub could eliminate 1911.
I would agree that the period photo was taken in 1914, as Michigan license plates had dark over a white background for these years:
-1910 black on white porcelain (truck has already lost its lustre so this rules out 1910)
- 1914 red on white porcelain
- 1916 dark blue on white, stamped/embossed sheet metal with aluminum disk on left side. (In the photo, there does not appear to be a disk on the plate so that rules out 1916. However, because the disk is aluminum, in certain lighting it can blend into the white background of the plate.)
I have no problem with the current version of the truck being a Parry body. However, I do not think that the body in the period photo is a Parry. Even if there were liberties taken during restoration, there seems to be too many differences.
Examples of some Parry bodies below:
The Express Bodies below have many similarities with the Skeleton Seat body above
To get back to the car. I'm certainly not an expert here, and I hesitate to ask the question because no one else has, but does it look to anybody else that some parts appear to be earlier than a 1914? Maybe there is a reason for calling it a 1914, but at least parts of the front look earlier? Just curious.
Sorry, just saw Erik's post above. Was away from the 'puter before I posted it. Thanks Erik.