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1936 Chevy 1.5-Ton SWB Wrecker

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Leonardtown, Maryland


Owned by Mike Massey
Valparaiso, Florida
09 June 2008
# 2346

From Mike :

           Here is a picture of my 1936 Chevy 1.5-ton short wheel base Wrecker. I have had it for several years and have done little more than drive it. It is completely stock, still 6 volt and mostly un-restored.     

         My late wife, Julie, and I were in Pensacola for a concert at the civic center. While walking from the hotel to the concert, I found this truck behind the hotel.

           Julie and I had been talking a few weeks earlier about looking for an old wrecker, since I am a wrecker driver part time and love tow trucks. Julie had recently given me a book on old wreckers which highlighted the Weaver Auto Crane. I noticed the Weaver instantly and tried to talk the owner out of it. He was not interested in selling.

           About three months later, after a sale of one of our hot rods, I went back to the hotel and the truck was still out back. I talked to the owner some more and he agreed to sell me the Weaver Auto Crane.

           Before removing it, I took a better look at the truck and then realized what I had found. Previously, I was just interested in the crane and never looked at the truck. So the deal was struck for the complete vehicle! Other than MY information about the truck, I have no history about it. The previous owner had nothing to share about it.

           Julie and I returned with a trailer and winched up the truck which had not run in years and had six flats.

           I spent a weekend getting it going. All that happened 2000 - 2001. I have done little to nothing to it since. It runs great and everything but the wipers work. I occasionally drive it to work and take it to car club meetings. I don't think it has ever had a complete restoration but everything is in such good shape, I decided to leave it like it is.

           Pictures: From the passenger side | The International and Chevy side by side / nose to nose | It's a Weaver Auto Crane | First site | Cool look - A Stovebolt working!

           I had the letters painted on it last year. A local artist did it and made them look as old as the truck.

           My '36 is a low cab short wheelbase truck which I believe makes it rarer than the rest of the '36 model line (please correct me if I am wrong). It has the original engine in it. The truck is titled to the block number and has been for as far back as I know.

           The Weaver Auto Crane is one of the first production Wrecker units ever made. It dates to the late 1920's. Completely hand operated, it takes a little more work than the wreckers we use today -- but still works perfectly -- 100% functional.

           The car I am towing in the "working" picture was one that I had and needed to move down the street so it was an actual tow. I normally do not use this vehicle for towing. Although it is capable of doing the job, I do not want to take a chance of breaking anything. If the hooks or block break on the old Weaver, replacements will have to be forged from scratch. It's just not worth the trouble when I have new hydraulic wreckers. Plus, why strain this old beauty.

           The unfortunate side of the story is that my lovely Julie passed away from breast cancer last year and since so much has changed, I am going to have to sell the truck. This is a decision I just came to a few weeks ago and am still trying to come to terms with. I just hope it gets a good home.

Mike Massey


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