Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry's

| September/October 1997

  • 1935 Ford 1 ton truck

  • 1935 Ford 1 ton truck

P.O. Box 1021 Palmer, Alaska 99645

The Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry is a nonprofit corporation devoted to the collection, preservation, restoration, exhibition and interpretation of artifacts relating to Alaska's transportation and industrial history. It has a large collection of tractors and other farm machinery.

Included in the museum's collection is a 1935 Ford 1 ton truck. The information I have is that the '35 Ford probably came to Alaska via the dealer in Valdez. It was taken to a homestead/mine at May Creek, two rivers east of McCarthy and about 52 miles west of the Canada-Alaska border.

The Copper River and Northwestern Railroad, which carried the copper ore from Kennicott to the coastal port of Cordova, was the lifeline for the many people in the area.

When the price of copper dropped, the mine was closed. As the people moved out, a lot of material was left behind. Individuals have, over the years and at considerable expense, brought out cars, trucks, tractors, machinery, crashed aircraft, and many other items important to the lives of people and labor.

In December 1986, a crew of men left Palmer with trucks and trailers loaded with tracked vehicles and provisions and went to McCarthy. The next leg used the tracked vehicles to ford two rivers and return with the '35 Ford and a Model T truck on the back of the '35, plus a lot of spare parts that had been collected the previous summer. The temperature in the area was 40Ā°.

Restoration was started a year later. A volunteer moved the truck to his shop at Kenny Lake. He removed the engine and shipped it to Denver for rebuild. New tires, tubes, and flaps were ordered from California. Because of other commitments and family responsibilities, the project lost momentum. At the same time it was being moved to a permanent home next to the airport of Wasilla. The truck was returned with the engine and tires in the bed.

Two years ago the project was given top priority. The '35 Ford came to us with 24,000-plus miles. It was equipped with an extra cooling radiator and a governor. The generator/fan and left water pump were missing.

The engine being stuck needed new pistons, valves and springs. There were a lot of other details also that needed attention. Very little was needed for the running gear, except tires. The doors and the front fenders had the most dam -age. All of the wood in the bed was replaced with red oak, and wood on the stakes was replaced with white oak. Epoxy paint was applied to all parts prior to reassembly.

The radiator was re-cored. The 1935 model year had a one-of-a-kind design. No spare cores were available. The custom built core was very expensive.

I lost track of the hours I spent on the project. My partner spent hundreds of hours sandblasting. For more information, call me at: (907) 745-4962.

Editor's Note: The Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry address is P.O. Box 870646, Wasilla, Alaska 99687, telephone (907) 376-1211, fax (907) 376-3082. Their color brochure shows a fairly extensive collection of a wide variety of equipment, including a number of gasoline engines and tractors, boats, aircraft, etc. If you are visiting the Last Frontier, it might be a great place to stop by I


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