1937 Ford Tanker Truck

Ford trucks had a new look for 1937. While not startlingly different, there was an attractive new full-length grille which had a rounded bottom in place of the sharp vee of the 1936 models. The louvres on the hood side panels were shorter in height but extended further along the panels, while the headlamps were lowered. Visually, the vee-shaped windshield replaced the single‑pane flat glass of earlier models, while the instrument panel was redesigned. Although the fenders flared out and appeared more streamlined than in past models, the styling updates were evolutionary, as opposed to revolutionary. Minor changes aside, Ford’s 1937 commercial line was among the most attractive and appealing of the era.

Chassis were available in three wheelbases and with several load capacities. Engine choices were either the 60hp or 85hp versions of Ford’s venerable flathead V-8. These sturdy trucks received stake bodies, flatbeds, dump bodies, and many more types, including tanks intended for a variety of industries. The entire package must have hit its target audience with a bullseye because the ’37 Ford trucks outsold the competition in general, and specifically Chevrolet – much to the certain delight of Ford executives.

This particular ‘37 Ford 1 1/2-ton truck is a striking example wearing a high-quality restoration. It was built with Ford’s more powerful 85 horsepower V-8—as indicated by its serial number— and is fitted with a period fuel tank body by Morrison Brothers of Dubuque, Iowa. Other features include a dual-wheel rear axle, five-lug rims, period-style tires, and dual fog lights. Little is known of the truck’s specific history, but it has been lovingly restored and refinished an attractive bright red color scheme with black fenders and beautifully hand-painted Shell livery. The tanker body features oak-lined hose storage boxes on each side, and a rear locker for additional tools and equipment. The engine compartment has been carefully detailed and the 221-cid flathead V-8 is fitted with dual carburetors, chrome water pipes and 12-volt electrics for improved usability.

Inside the truck, the utilitarian cab is dominated by a huge black steering wheel, the long, slender gearshift lever and a wide bench seat upholstered in black vinyl. The door cards are simple and black, and two large dials take pride of place in the dashboard. The windscreen can be opened to allow flow-through ventilation. As photos will show, the interior reveals virtually no wear, and has a simple, businesslike appeal.

This well-detailed, great looking truck is ready to use, would make an eye-catching promotional tool, and will appeal to anyone who loves old Fords or unique commercial vehicles.

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