1. 1929 Essex Dover U.S. Mail Truck

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Lot Number
22
1929 Essex Dover U.S. Mail Truck
Hostetler's Hudson Auto Museum Auction

Offered Without Reserve

CHASSIS NO: MVIN309707IND
• Extremely rare Essex-based commercial vehicle
• Located in Wyoming by the Harrah Collection
• Complete “Gold Star” restoration at Harrah’s
• Accompanied by Harrah’s Verification Certificate
• Purchased in 1993 by Eldon Hostetler

161.4 cid L-head inline six-cylinder engine, 55 BHP at 3,600 RPM (19.4 HP N.A.C.C. rating), single downdraft carburetor, three-speed manual transmission, solid front and semi-floating rear axles, leaf spring suspension, four-wheel mechanical drum brakes; wheelbase: 110.5”


For 1929, Essex made a foray into the commercial-vehicle market with its line of Dover models using the basic Essex chassis, running gear, frontal bodywork, running boards and fenders. Dover radiators used horizontal, rather than the traditional vertical shutters of the Essex line. Ranging in price from the basic ¾-Ton Chassis priced at $595, the new Dover line of commercial vehicles included the $895 Panel Delivery, $885 Screenside Express, and $835 Cab Top Express (Pickup). Dover production began July 1929 and Hudson’s main coachbuilder, Biddle and Smart, manufactured most of bodies for Dover commercial vehicles. The list of Dover Super-Six standard equipment was comprehensive, including Trico vacuum windshield wipers, cowl ventilator, useful instrumentation, rear traffic signal, John Brown Lamp Co. combination tail and stop lights, Stewart-Warner speedometer, ignition lock, horn, Monroe hydraulic shock absorbers, and more.

A coup was scored during 1929, when the U.S. Postal Department ordered 500 Dover Mail Trucks from the Hudson Motor Car Company to transport and deliver the mail. Being so durable, many of these vehicles remained in service well into the1950s, yet few survivors remain today. According to history compiled by the Hostetler Collection, this example was found in a Wyoming field during 1970 by representatives of the famed Harrah Collection of Reno, Nevada, and subsequently given a total “Gold Star” restoration there with the frame off, including painstaking and complete replacement of the wooden body. Thereafter, it was displayed at Harrah’s until the famous series of dispersal auctions held during the 1980s, when it was purchased in 1986 by George Crocker, a resident of North Carolina. Mr. Crocker retained the rare and distinctive Dover truck for several years, eventually placing it on long-term display at the National Auto and Truck Museum (NATMUS) in Auburn, Indiana, before advertising it for sale in Old Cars Weekly during 1993. According to his autobiography, Eldon Hostetler saw the sale ad for the truck, asked Mr. Crocker to allow him first right of refusal, and once the museum confirmed the arrangement, Mr. Hostetler was able to view and purchase it. Along with a Verification Certificate issued by Harrah’s Automobile Collection Director and General Manager, Clyde Wade, dated 6-27-86, this wonderful 1929 Dover U.S. Mail Truck includes a copy of the 1993 For Sale ad. An eye-catching and usable conversation piece sure to bring continued enjoyment.

1929 Essex Dover U.S. Mail Truck
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