Issue: 2016-07-21, PHOTO: Teresa van der Meer-Chassé
The big yellow truck still runs
“It’s a 1942 International,” Sid tells me as we are standing by a truck whose yellow paint is slowly chipping away with age. The truck’s original grey colour has been exposed underneath the bright yellow. Its large body and tires tell us it was a truck built for working in rough terrain.
“It’s a six cylinder, small, short wheel base with its original military knobby tires.”
Knobby tires are so named for the knobs that are present on the tires, used for grip. “The tires still hold air! And the truck still runs, believe it or not,” my grandpa says.
“International is the maker, they still make big trucks for highways.”
The International brand for commercial trucks (Navistar International, formerly the International Harvester Company) was created in the early 1900s and to-this-day specializes in heavy duty trucks. The former International Harvester company produced an M-series of military trucks during World War II. The truck currently resting in Sid’s yard is an integral piece of International M-series history.
We walk around the truck from front to back, looking at it from all angles. Confused with the truck’s box I had to ask Grandpa why it looks like it could detach.
“That’s because it lifts up, it’s a dump truck,” he says. “It was used to help build the Alaska Highway. Then in its last few years it was used at Snag Airport for the Royal Canadian Air Force.”
I had to stop Sid and ask, “So, this truck was American and then Canadian-owned?” “Yes, it was owned by the US Army and then the Royal Canadian Air Force.”
Not only does this truck hold a history with the M-series, but also with American-Canadian relations during World War II and post-war. After her work was done assisting in building the infamous Alaska Highway, she worked for the Royal Canadian Air Force at their base in Snag, Yukon just outside of Beaver Creek and thereupon she retired to Sid’s backyard.
Come and visit Sid and his yellow truck this summer in Beaver Creek, Yukon!