Restoration of my 1940 Diamond T Model 201
My father worked as a dragline operator for a road building contractor when I was 11 or 12 years old. A fleet of dump trucks shuttled back and forth from the gravel pit and rock crusher out to the job site. I would often spend summer days riding with the truckers as they drove these powerful monster (at least to me) rigs. One of the drivers had a Diamond T truck that he kept looking like new. This rig was my favorite and began my appreciation of Diamond T trucks.
In 1972 while bicycling to work one day I noticed an old Diamond T 201 service truck parked in a residential neighborhood. The lift boom had been removed, but to me it was a beautiful truck. Every day as I passed it I would slow down or stop just to admire this great little truck. Just at the time I had scraped up all available cash to purchase a hobby farm, a “For Sale” sign was posted in the window. What a way to hurt a guy. After a couple of weeks, the truck was still for sale. I had to stop in to ask its price. Too bad, way out of reach with my cash already spent. A week or so later I stopped again and asked if I could take a test drive. The owner rigged a plastic jug on the fender for a gas supply because the tank leaked. This vintage truck is without a synchromesh transmission so it takes good timing and “double-clutching” to shift without grinding the gears. I grew up driving similar trucks so shifting it was almost second nature for me. I think the truck didn’t sell because potential buyers could not shift it so they lost interest. Against any fiscal responsibility I made an offer that the seller accepted so I was the new owner. I used the truck to move from St. Paul to the hobby farm in western Wisconsin and continued to use it for another seven years until the clutch gave out. I promised myself that I would fix it someday.
After more than 30 years, in the fall of 2009 I finally got around to fixing the truck and decided to do a complete “frame-off” restoration. As I got more involved in the process I wondered if the former owner would like to know of the trucks fate. I knew that his family was from western Minnesota. After some unsuccessful searching of the net looking for Robert Westacott, I simply checked the Minneapolis phone book and there he was. I wrote a note to confirm that I had the right person and to let him know that I still had the truck and was in the process of restoring it. He was really pleased to hear from me and that the truck was spared the junk yard. He sent me pictures of the truck from when it had been used on his family’s farm.
Robert Westacott passed away October 11, 2011 RIP