Panel trucks were the workhorses of most urban and suburban areas from the 1930s through the early 1960s. They delivered nearly everything imaginable from groceries and consumables, to parts and equipment, and everything in between. The idea of being nostalgic for one of these trucks during their heyday would be like us being nostalgic for a Ford Transit Connect, HHR Panel, or even Econoline or Express van. While those ideas seem odd now, who knows in fifty to sixty years what may prove to be popular or nostalgic in this hobby.
Due to their abundant usage just like the delivery vehicles of our time many of those panel trucks of yesteryear were driven until they were in extremely poor condition or various states of disrepair. As such the majority of what used to be an icon of industry and business have been long lost to the scrap yard and crusher. Survivors are often converted into something else, and while we see no problem with hot rodding almost anything, it’s pretty cool to come across something restored back to period correct specifications such as this one.
RM auctions will be selling this beautiful ’37 Ford Model 77 half-ton panel truck on October 20th. The truck is part of the Charlie Thomas collection and making this truck even more nostalgic is the classic Coca-Cola livery and vibrant red paint scheme.
Period correct details appear to have been high priority on this restoration as there’s the flat floor throughout, with the only seat being the one for the driver. It would seem that on this panel the driver’s side received most of the standard equipment. The only windshield wiper is obviously for the driver’s half of the split windshield and there’s also a period correct single tail light mounted on the driver’s side as well.
The truck is powered by a 221 cubic inch Ford flathead V8 which is backed by a floor shifted three-speed transmission. The half-ton suspension is solid-axle front and leafs in the rear. Braking is done via drums at each corner.
This panel truck appears to be meticulously finished and perhaps hardly driven. We expect that it should bring decent money at the RM auction as pre-sale estimates are between $40,000 and $60,000. While it’s obviously nice enough to go in a museum we think it might be cooler to see it go to a local distributor for occasional use at car shows and special events or even straight to the Coca-Cola company themselves with similar purpose in mind.