Yes, the road.

Yes, the road.
Eagle Nest, New Mexico. “People like to drive because driving is actually and symbolically an almost perfect mechanism for escape…there is probably no human being who does not have troubles, real or imagined, from which he at times feels the need to flee.” George R. Stewart.


My photo
Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and a 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of 1997 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 28 years--we're recycling. I've published 3 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), THE O'BRIENS (2012), and CARRY ME (2016). Also 2 short story collections: NIGHT DRIVING(1987) and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my literary life is at I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'm an adjunct professor at Colorado College and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In 2015-16 I was a Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Autoliterate office is in Car Talk Plaza in Harvard Square, 2 floors above Dewey Cheatem & Howe. SUBSCRIBE TO THE AUTOLITERATE DAILY EMAIL by hitting the button to the right.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Trucks (and a Greavette) For Auction

This just in from our intrepid Northern California correspondent:

Left to right:
1936 Diamond T fire truck; 1947 Studebaker stakebed; 1936 Diamond T; 1947 Diamond T flathead; 1924 Reo tow truck.

Dennis Gibbs with a 1950 Diamond T dump truck, with 32,000 miles. Behind him: a 1955 Chevrolet tilt-bed tow truck, with 454-CID engine; behind that is a 1951 Diamond T with Cummins diesel engine.
OAKLAND, Calif. – They’re not for the faint of restoration heart, these trucks, but come Tuesday (July 12) they will all be up for auction – trucks from Diamond T, (here's another Diamond T---Autoliterate) Dodge, Studebaker, Federal and Reo, among others – and by the end of the day the decades-long collecting world of Dennis Gibbs will be  largely diminished. I went out to the San Francisco suburb of Castro Valley Sunday afternoon to have a look at a few of the trucks during an auction preview.On a slight uphill slope, shaded by a few trees, six trucks – ranging from a 1924 Reo tow truck to a 1947 Diamond T flathead – sat side-by-side, their noses pointed out, as if they wanted to crank up and start rolling down the half-mile-long winding driveway that leads up to this 110-acre property. About 100 yards away from the line of trucks was a 1936 Diamond T fire truck, not far from a Greavette  power boat that had seen better days, particularly when it was a contender in the annual wooden boat show (read Hacker, Chris Craft, Riva, etc.) held on Lake Tahoe each August.

Gibbs has been collecting things – mostly trucks and old house trailers – for some 35 years and they are spread out all over California. He lives in Castro Valley, where nearly 70 of the 131 auction lots were on haphazard display today – by haphazard, I mean they’re sitting where they were parked years ago – and they are a Project Guy’s dream. If you could get any one of them for a low bid, you would end up with something that’s pretty dry and with little, if any, rust. All you need is time and money. Other parts of the collection are in other California towns and the “Monk Boat and Floating House” are in Seattle.
Dennis Gibbs with a 1929 Dodge roadster that had been exported to Australia, then repatriated to the U.S. it has right-hand drive.
The auction came about because Gibbs has recently suffered severe financial problems caused by the credit crunch, he says, and the sale is part of a bankruptcy proceeding. The cars have to go. I asked Gibbs if he was going to be at the auction. He said he didn’t think so.

The auction starts at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Clars auction house here in Oakland, and the catalogue and more details can be seen here:

--Michael Taylor
Dennis Gibbs pointing out the lines of the Greavette power boat (needs substantial restoration).
(Greavette speedboats were made in, and for, the lake country of Southern Ontario. Here's a link to a Ontario boatbuilder--inner bay boats-- producing contemporary versions of the Greavettes)-Autoliterate


  1. I purchased the Spohn roadster from the Clars auction. Now in Texas

  2. Wondering what happened to the old diamond T tow truck? if anybody knows.

  3. Thanks for the information about the auctions very helpful.