The Charlie Thomas Collection of Texas holds some of America’s most significant antique cars, and it’s a remnant of Mr. Thomas’ long-standing automotive career that started in 1950 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Thomas started as a parts runner for Public Oldsmobile, eventually moving his family to the Lonestar State to learn the car business in San Antonio under the guidance of Red McCombs and Austin Hemphill.
Since that time, the antique auto collection has accumulated all sorts of intriguing examples of motoring history, but our latest find is probably one of the Thomas Collection’s most fascinating. Our featured ride, a 1930 Cretors popcorn truck based on a Ford Model AA, is a half-ton that’s more than served its purpose and is now predicted to sell for between $45-65k.
The story behind the Cretors truck is that after Ford’s half-ton lineup was introduced in 1928, the Model AA came to replace an early horse-driven popcorn carriage that later was replaced by steam-powered versions. Powered by not much more than a 40-horsepower 4-banger chasing a manual gearbox, the Model AA proved to be the most efficient for banking off of the popcorn’s movie theater success to bring the snack to the general public.
Twenty years ago, the Model AA was restored and has since incorporated not only the popcorn making equipment for which it was originally conceived, but has been retrofitted with an electric fridge and freezer to store ice cream.
In its heyday, the Cretors popcorn truck brought the tasty snack to the likes of many, along with stocking a soda fountain and goods store.
Now currently up for auction, the truck stands not only as evidence of America’s early automotive heritage, but as remnant of the entrepreneurial spirit that formed our country and made it into a land of possibility for anyone who came and was willing to work hard following their dreams and ultimately achieve business success.