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SLIDER: 1937 Stewart 1½ Ton Truck

The Stewart Motor Corporation of Buffalo, New York was a small regional maker of light- and medium-duty trucks with its own high-quality bodies. The company never competed with volume makers like Ford or Chevrolet, or medium-size rivals such as Reo and International. It did, however, have some success against smaller rivals such as Federal, Brockway, and Diamond T.

Stewart offered a wide variety of innovative trucks, including the 1935-1936 Stewart panel and dump truck.

Details of the powerplants are sketchy, but they are thought to have been 6-cylinder L-head engines from the Waukesha Motor Company of Waukesha, Wisconsin, founded in 1906.  Good fuel economy was acclaimed in Stewart advertising.

By 1935, seeking light-truck sales in a depressed market, Stewart brought out a 1/2-ton line called the Buddy, with hydraulic brakes and all-steel construction, but with a four-cylinder Waukesha engine of only 35 bhp and mediocre performance.

Stewart trucks were good, but a company of this size had neither the economies of scale nor the dealer network to break into the big time. The company’s best year was 1930 with only 2,315 trucks sold, and the figures tapered off to 1,280 in 1936 and 1,148 in 1937.  Another business downturn in 1938 saw only 390 registered that year, followed by 70 for 1939.

Stewart president T.R. Lippard then defected to Federal, and new management took over, concentrating on heavy-duty models. Few were sold, and Stewart closed in 1942.

Picture courtesy of the Richard Roberts Archive

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