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 40°.
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
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