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SNAPSHOT 118: A circa 1919 Garford Motor Truck

One could be forgiven for believing that this photograph represents an advertisement for house removals, but in fact the image was part of an advertisement for Goodyear Balloon Tyres. The commercial vehicle is a 1½-ton Garford Motor Truck, built in Elyria, Ohio, USA.  Garford grew out of the Federal Manufacturing Co., which had made components for the motor-car industry since 1903, and also supplied complete chassis to several manufacturers, including Studebaker.  Early Studebaker vehicles were known as ‘Studebaker-Garfords’ but the business association was broken in 1911 after Studebaker took over EMF, and Garford’s car-manufacturing operation was taken over by Willys-Overland. However, Garford started manufacturing commercial vehicles in 1909, and continued as an independent operation. Garford sent a large number of vehicles to Europe during WWI, and in 1919 based on the experience, introduced the 3.4-litre Model 25, ‘the huskiest truck ever built’. In 1925, the company changed its name to the Superior Body Co., and moved its operations to Lima, Ohio, where it occupied a new factory housing a large manufacturing facility and administrative offices. The company diversified, introducing a line of hearse and ambulance bodies known as professional cars and becoming a major producer of school bus bodies for the U.S. and Canada, as well as export markets.


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