JULY 27, 2014 (AUGUST 2014): 1931 IHC 1.5 TON—COOL BREW HAULER WITH LINKS TO AL CAPONE

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1931 International Harvester trucks were designed for brute force hauling, not nights on the town.

 

There was nothing fancy about these trucks because they were built for work, not comfort.

 

Corn-binders were found on the farm, on the construction site, at the warehouse and occasionally at the brewery.

 

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Gerard Hermary is one of those lucky guys who found a 1931 IHC with two big factors in its favor – buy-in from his wife and an interesting history. The wife part of the story was easy to explain as Gerard recalled, “She loves it, she spotted it and told me to take a look at this old truck so I did”.

 

The history part of this 1931 International Harvester one and a half ton is less easy to verify but Gerard explained it this way, “There are claims that it was linked to Al Capone”.

 

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Regardless of the potential link to organized crime there is one certainty to this IHC’s biography as Gerard recalled, “It came out of Vancouver, BC and it was built in an Ontario plant”.

 

This old IHC was reasonably priced back in 1931 but that changed when it was rebuilt as Gerard explained, “It’s got 100K in it now, the motor was done and everything else is new and replaced“. Al Capone was a well-paid criminal thanks to Prohibition but he may have even blinked at those numbers back in ’31.

 

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Gerard bought the old workhorse with one thing in mind and it wasn’t work-related. This truck is an impact machine at every show because it exudes 1930s cool and Gerard welcomes the attention it gets from the public: “There are so many people around it, smiling, snapping pictures, that’s all part of the thrill”.

 

They are drawn to this old truck like magnets and Gerard is a great host – he’s even considered bringing some full kegs to add to the festivities.

 

The truck itself is interesting to see at a show but the leisurely pace makes the journey last as Gerard explained, “It does 36 miles per hour and it would probably do 38 but the book says it will do 42 miles per hour but I think it would top out at 40 down a hill”.

 

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These old IHCs from the 1930s are pretty basic machines so the maintenance is also pretty basic as Gerard explained, “All you have to do is set up the brakes occasionally”.

 

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This 1931 International Harvester truck is a former blue collar working machine but now it’s an expensive piece of history.

 

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Despite that daunting cost factor, Gerard is a firm believer in driving this old classic but he’s also realistic about its future so he intends to look after his investment, “I put it inside all the time because I want it to still look like this in five years”.

 

You could call this old beer wagon a rolling Mona Lisa. Gerard is well aware of his role as a caretaker of this classic piece of history but perspective is everything.

 

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You don’t mess with Al Capone’s ghost.

 

Jerry Sutherland

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