1937 REO Speed Delivery Pickup - SOLD
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  • Overview & History
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The paint and bodywork are excellent, with typical REO fit and finish throughout.

Long-term ownership. Very high-quality frame-off restoration. One of only a handful known to exist. Beautiful colors, functional bed, runs and drives beautifully. A rare, unusual, and fun truck that has a lot of style.

Thanks to a certain rock-n-roll band, everyone has surely heard of the REO Motor Car Company and its most famous vehicle, the Speed Wagon, but its origins are perhaps a little less familiar. After being ousted from the company that bore his name (Oldsmobile) in 1905, Ransom Eli Olds started a new company using his initials as its name. REO became a full-line manufacturer, offering mid-priced cars to compete with Oldsmobile and even some higher-end cars to compete with Cadillac and Packard. But by the mid-1930s, it became clear that survival meant building trucks, ranging from this handsome Speed Delivery pickup to large heavy haulers capable of moving freight. REO was known for high quality and rugged construction, but their passenger car roots made vehicles like this 1937 Speed Delivery pickup a bit more user-friendly than some of their peers. They were still slightly more expensive than the competition, but the quality was tangible.

That quality still shows today in this lovely little pickup, which has been lovingly restored by a fellow who owned a heavy truck repair business, so he knows a few things about heavy haulers. This Speed Delivery was ordered new with a steel cab and interesting wood bed, which was completely re-created using the original hardware during the restoration. Stylish metal fenders give it a suitably sleek look for the late 1930s and the V-shaped windshield actually gives it a bit of a sporting look. The paint and bodywork are excellent, with typical REO fit and finish throughout. The color is accurate, taken from a hidden section of paint and matched exactly, and it has a definite working-class look that’s appealing in its own way. The tall, narrow grille is topped by the original radiator cap, and a front bumper was standard equipment. All the chrome was refinished during the restoration and looks fantastic, and it appears that most of the glass was replaced, along with the weatherstripping, so it looks crisp and feels substantial when you slam the door.

The interior is commercial vehicle basic, of course, but the red alligator skin seat cover (which is how they were originally delivered) adds a bit of contrast. There’s some scuffing on the outer edge of the seat that’s probably unavoidable given the material and its location, but that’s really the only demerit inside. Once you’re there, you get a big steering wheel that makes the REO feel light and agile, as well as a set of gauges that certainly would be at home in an upscale passenger car. They are all functional except the gas gauge, and an accessor Trico fan can provide come cooling on hot summer days. Additional cooling comes from swing-open windshield frames and side vents on the cowl, so the REO is actually a fairly pleasant place to be. The center stack houses an ashtray, ignition, plus throttle and choke knobs to help on cooler days. A durable rubber mat protects the floor and the door panels are steel, although the window crank hardware is pretty ornate for a pickup. REO’s quality is evident everywhere you look.

The 209 cubic inch inline-6 was advertised as “Silver Power,” whatever that means. In reality, it was competitive with its peers offering a rugged flathead design, plenty of torque, and easy maintenance. It starts easily with a bit of choke and generally goes about its business without any challenges—if you’re familiar with pre-war cars, this truck will be a snap to drive and if you’re a newcomer, it will be easy to learn. It’s finished in green engine enamel with a single downdraft carburetor, and details like the cloth spark plug wires and wire hose clamps are nice period touches. It’s well detailed with a few signs of use, but nothing that an afternoon of detailing wouldn’t erase, and all signs point to this being the truck’s original engine. A big radiator keeps it cool and comfortable cruising speeds are about 40-45 MPH. The starter, generator, and water pump were all rebuilt during the restoration, and it appears that the wiring is new using correct cloth-covered wires. The transmission is a typical 3-speed manual with synchromesh on 2nd and 3rd gears, and once you’re in high gear it’s happy to pull even from very low speeds. That’s likely due to what we believe are 4.55 gears out back, which is pretty trucky but good for feeling lively around town. The suspension is standard truck fare with leaf springs and live axles at both ends, hydraulic drum brakes (which were pretty advanced for 1937), and tube shocks on the rear which was a real innovation. The single exhaust system has a pleasing truck sound that is little more than a whisper on the open road, and the gas tank was apparently re-sealed during the restoration. 16-inch steel wheels wear correct hubcaps and 6.00-16 blackwall tires for the perfect period truck look.

Experts suggest there are no more than about 20 of these handsome little trucks still in existence and this has to be one of the very best of them all. With a conscientious restoration, it presents extremely well and thanks to reliable mechanicals, it’s quite usable even in today’s world. If you want something unique that’s still perhaps a little practical yet always draws a crowd, this REO is a fantastic choice. Call today!

Harwood Motors always recommends and welcomes personal or professional inspections of any vehicle in our inventory prior to purchase.

Vehicle: 1937 REO Speed Delivery Pickup
Price: SOLD
Stock Number: 120113
Odometer Reading: 258 (since restoration)
VIN: 6501133
Engine: 209 cubic inch inline-6
Transmission: 3-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 4.55
Wheelbase: 114 inches
Wheels: 16-inch steel wheels
Tires: 6.00-16
Exterior Color: Gray
Interior Color: Brown vinyl
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