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What is it? Converted tow truck


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Here is a tow truck that was converted years ago. It belonged to Doc Smith's Garage in Kingston NY and was auctioned off with all the other assets after owner Clayton S Elmendorf died and the business was closed back in the 1970's. If anyone has any detail on Doc Smith's I would appreciate it. One of the other cars auctioned was a big Minerva sedan but I have no other detail on it. Would love to know more about it. Meantime, please help me ID this car/truck for some fellow Kingstonians. Thanx.

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Some higher end makes with large cars made tow trucks. I don't think it's been converted. If the photo was a little better we might be able to identify it better.

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Aren't those drum headlights? That would peg it to be not later than ca. 1927. Am I imagining that I see a vertical line to the right of the word "night"? If that is what it is, it could be the outline of what once was a rear door, and a clue that this wrecker was nicely converted from a passenger car. That was most often the case. The front bumper doesn't seem to look right for a Lincoln, but could have been changed. These vehicles were commonly seen with a hefty plank up front in place of the original bumper, a modification for push-starting.

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I am pretty sure it was a conversion from a 4-door sedan. There appears to be the back end of a rear door showing as a vertical line. Also, the molded line along the roof top ends abruptly at the rear and probably would not look like that if it was originally designed as a truck cab. I remember this truck in service when I was a kid back the 1960's. I believe it was painted green. Can anyone determine from the details just what it might be and a year?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Pretty sure it is Lincoln as defined in the previous posts. Appears to have biflex bumpers, and the little eighther (well, they use the term quarter windows) windows angling

from the windshield are quite definitive. I am still not 100% certain about it, though.

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The truck is a 1927 Cadillac .It was converted to a tow truck at doc smiths on Clinton Ave. in Kingston N Y before ww2.It had two transmissions that allowed it to crawl up any hill and winch anything from anywhere. sadly after the truck was Bought by Michael leopold owner of Michael Chevrolet in Kingston ,It was being transported south and the transporter flipped and the truck was destroyed (as I was told by a long time doc smith& michaels employee Ken Blankshan who has since passed). I will post clipping about the Minerva that mentions auction and tow truck at a later date

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Shawnk - how do you know so much about Doc Smith's? And please send me any info you can on Clayton Elmendorf's Minerva. I have been looking for details and a pic of this car for over 30 years. I was at the auction when it sold back in 1974 or so.

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I started in the autobody business in Kingston when I was 14. I knew and worked with all the old timers that had worked at Doc Smiths ,in the mid 70s.The auction was 11/4/72.The newspaper clipping was given to me by one of the guys I worked with before he died.

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Here's one unaltered. This was my first car... purchased in 1970 for $1500.

1926CADILLACINTEDSYARD.jpg

It was registered as a '26 and I only learned it was officially a '27 years later.

Aside from a paint job done in the early 60s, it was completely original and often disparaged by the local old car "experts" because I declined to restore it.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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Thank you Shawnk. I used to deliver parts for Schaller's and later for H.F. King. I will bet our paths have crossed somewhere. I remember a rather short guy who was the painter at Doc Smith's, I think his name was Tuttle or something like that. Please feel free to message me if you have any more info on Doc Smith's and the Minerva.

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I thought I'd add a few more that had the "pinters" windshield windows.

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1921 Birmingham Sedan, 1922 Washington Deluxe Coupe, 1925 Luxor Taxi, 1927 Pierce-Arrow 7 Passenger Limo, 1927 Pierce-Arrow Model 36.

I'm still looking, but have run low on time.

Thanks everyone for the opportunity to learn about these neatly optioned cars.

Chuck

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Edited by Woodfiddler
Add forgotten info (see edit history)
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