1898 Daimler Truck
1898 Daimler Truck
“The Machine” designed as a successor to the first truck of 1896 was intended as a replacement for the horse drawn delivery wagons carrying beer and other goods to outlying areas. Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach worked together to produce a horseless delivery vehicle, a faster way to get products to market, and definitely keep the beer cold!
One day two “time traveling” gentlemen from 1898 Germany dressed in traditional garb, and one donning a big beard and the other a handlebar mustache, drove on to a concours event in Connecticut. They proceeded to awe the crowd with their hand-built version of a replica of an 1898 Daimler truck with no horses attached save for the two in the internal combustion engine under the hood. The consigner, a former finish carpenter now retired, had spent countless hours in his basement workshop fabricating this replica for all to enjoy. We use the word replica because unlike the original reproduction sitting in the Mercedes Benz museum in Stuttgart this one is powered by a modern Kohler (yes, its German!) 2-cylinder engine. Quite the timepiece that could be picked up and utilized as a marketing magnet for a Benz dealer, or even a beer distributor, and it works and drives.
Fabricated mostly of wood for the exterior panels, bead board, and painted wood panels make up the body. They present in green and cream and have the Daimler signature on the front of the mansard shaped hood, along with a faux engine crank. Metal curved fenders, and exterior hardware, in black adorn the exterior as well. Two copper tanks (formerly used as a fuel tank upfront and a coolant tank in the back) are hung onto the body, as well as some custom fabricated lamps made by the Amish in Pennsylvania are upfront and flanking the hood. Handmade spoked wheels with a hard rubber exterior rim are seen on all 4 corners and are just beautifully crafted from shiny black painted metal and brass with hand blown glass. A pair of old oak beer barrels are strapped to the bed which is in excellent unused display condition.
We can use the word interior loosely, as it truly is an open carriage much like a stagecoach without the cabin, and just a single high perched leather seat. This fronts a custom fabricated steering wheel made from brass billet, and a smoothed over walnut exterior wheel ring. A metal clutch is the only pedal, and a brass throttle protrudes from the bead board next to the steering wheel. A brass knobbed, long metal shaft shifter moves the transmission from 1st to 2nd to reverse and neutral, while a handbrake is just behind on another long lever which pushes a curved pad into the rubber on the large spoked wheels to stop this truck (stagecoach style shoe brakes). A storage bag for the passenger is in front of the left side, and a copper oblong tank for gas (display only) is mounted to the dash.
674cc's of Kohler modern day power in the form of a Command Pro Engine are beneath the hood. A 1-barrel carburetor and a top mounted modern gas tank feed the dual cylinders. 2 speeds of manually shifted power plus reverse can be selected for the chain driven drivetrain.
Literally we are under a carriage for this one, all metal with Amish fabricated leaf buggy springs, gears, and the underpinnings of the steering. Keep it simple is the mantra, and certainly no rust involvement as it has low miles on her.
A key start right on the engine, with a short warmup and with a pull of the throttle, and a lift of the clutch I was off to the Oktoberfest for my delivery. Steering is very responsive, shifting easy, and breaking a bit tenuous, but it did the job. Not seen every day, we took her through the McDonalds drive through, and attracted a lot of attention to say the least. Certainly not a static display for this replica.
Painstakingly crafted, utilizing many different woodworking tools, some metal fabrications and exacting standards to the original plans, and we have a beautiful replica in working condition. A one of a kind as I know of no other vehicles as such in existence. A hen's tooth if you will.
Classic Auto Mall is a 336,000-square foot classic and special interest automobile showroom, featuring over 600 vehicles for sale with showroom space for up to 1,000 vehicles. Also, a 400 vehicle barn find collection is on display.
This vehicle is located in our showroom in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, conveniently located just 1-hour west of Philadelphia on the I-76 Pennsylvania Turnpike. The website is www.classicautomall.com and our phone number is (888) 227-0914. Please contact us anytime for more information or to come see the vehicle in person.