An Entire Museum of Pristine Vintage Trucks Is for Sale

Trucks from 1906 to 1953, including a one-off 1915 Breeding, are in the catalog.

byKristin V. Shaw|
For Sale photo


In the heart of the Midwest, 37 museum-quality vintage trucks have been meticulously dusted, shined up, and prepped for sale after decades on display. At the end of March, buyers from all over will have the chance to bid on these vehicles in the same city where John Deere is headquartered. Marrying truck culture, history, and farming, the collection includes trucks from as early as a 1906 Packet Open-Cab Express up to the only 1953 Sterling White Cabover truck known to exist. They’ll all be sold, one by one, on the auction block through Mecum Auctions.

All of these vehicles were originally restored by retired trucker A.W. “Pop” Hays, who built his own truck-related Field of Dreams in Woodland, California. More than four decades ago, Hays started to collect and restore old trucks as a hobby to pass the time. Once he had amassed several examples, he opened a museum called the Hays Antique Truck Museum and people came from all over the country to see them

Mecum Auctions

In 2013, a portion of the museum was relocated to the National Automobile Museum in “The Biggest Little City in the World:” Reno, Nevada. Another segment of those original vehicles are the ones for sale. I’m particularly fascinated by the 1910 Reliance Model G3 2.5-Ton Stake Truck, which is an ancestor several times removed to modern GMC trucks. Its massive radiator and International Harvester 135 cubic-inch (2.2-liter) four-cylinder engine are hallmarks, and it lived an easy life in its later years as a parade vehicle. Now it will be sold with no reserve.

Even before the Reliance, the 1909 Sears Model K Runabout was available through Sears-Roebuck mail-order catalogs. Those of a certain age will remember circling the Christmas presents they wanted in Sears catalogs but may not recall seeing a car as an option. The Runabout was delivered as a crate full of parts, all assembly required, batteries not included.

The 1930 Chevrolet Universal Roadster Pickup has me completely besotted, though. Finished in a vibrant blue with black fenders, the Roadster Pickup has a tan soft top, wooden steering wheel, and a Boyce Moto-Meter. Under the hood, a 194 cubic-inch (3.2-liter) Stovebolt six-cylinder engine is mated to a three-speed manual transmission. Interestingly, while it’s styled as a convertible, the top doesn’t fold down. That’s a mystery.

It's hard to say how much cash these will fetch when the gavel strikes for the final time, but you can be sure that these are going to end up in the hands of serious collectors who are likely to take great care of their investments. Each one of these examples is a valuable slice of American history that show not just how far we’ve come but how creative these automakers were even then.  

Got a tip? Leave a comment or send a note to

CultureFor Sale