Tow Truck Operator
Updated: Feb 15, 2022
In 1946, with the war now over, Chrysler has a large surplus of Dodge 4 wheel drive Powerwagons.
They were made available to their dealers for purchase. (Please remember that we were Chrysler dealers from April 1929-January 1962.)
My father purchased 2 of these. They were sitting on the dock in Halifax, NS waiting to be shipped overseas for the war effort. One of the purchases was for our use as a tow truck; the other was going to be a dump truck, that was purchased by Cayley Hill and Ross Patterson for a business venture of their own. I am only 6 years old when they arrive in huge crates. They were referred to as ‘knockdowns’ and had to be partially re-assembled, fluids added, etc. to have them up and running. This new wrecker was to replace an early ‘30’s Cadillac V16 car that father had cut the back off of, and added a crane operated by a 4 cylinder Whippet Car engine – Hard to imagine now!
We were doing enough towing business that I put a phone in my bedroom at home at 17 years of age to handle the night calls.
Some experiences that I vividly remember:
Once towing a vehicle in a snowstorm, that had slid into the ditch where the drive-in Burger Stand is now on Hwy 21 N. – I had put out all the flares, had the trucks’ flashing lights on etc. I was laying underneath the back of the car trying to get the chain on when I heard a vehicle coming at a fairly high speed. The speed never lessened and I remember pulling my legs in as hard as I could. When I laid my legs back out, they were on top of that speeding cars tire tracks! Talk about close call!
Another Police call was to get out Hwy 21 S. (near where the motel is now on the left) – Instructed “Don’t stop for stop signs” When I arrived a big Packard Sedan was upside down in the ditch with the male driver underneath it. I immediately went to the doors, put down the windows and wrapped a chain around the door frames and with a big tug pulled the car off the man. He later died.
The one last one to share that should give you a chuckle was a call at night, near Benmiller, where a Hudson was in the ditch with some young people inside. I got the car towed out onto the roadway and as I had learned long ago – you leave the chain attached ‘till you got paid. When I went to the door to get my $20 tow bill paid, a young lady had laid back the seat (Hudson seats made into a bed) and asked if I would forgo the bill for a little fun. I had to smile, tell her I was deeply in love with a local miss and wanted my money, which I then got.
Sure would be interesting to know if any of them are reading this now!