2015-05-24 / News

Rare Buick truck on display at the Hadley Mill Museum

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com


Flint businessman Albert Koerts painted his 1910 Buick Model 2-A himself shortly after acquiring it in 1951. He had the General Motors Institute replace the truck’s brass radiator cap and Fisher Body reupholstered the bench cushion. In 1975 his widow donated the truck to Flint’s Sloan Museum and Buick Gallery. It will be on display at the Hadley Mill Museum through September. 
Submitted photo Flint businessman Albert Koerts painted his 1910 Buick Model 2-A himself shortly after acquiring it in 1951. He had the General Motors Institute replace the truck’s brass radiator cap and Fisher Body reupholstered the bench cushion. In 1975 his widow donated the truck to Flint’s Sloan Museum and Buick Gallery. It will be on display at the Hadley Mill Museum through September. Submitted photo HADLEY — “Sure doesn’t look like a Buick!” says one septuagenarian, while another chimes in with “That’s not a Buick!” in General Motors’ latest self-deprecating attempt to convince buyers that the brand is not your grandfather’s car.

They may be the kind of comments that are likely to be heard a lot around the Hadley Mill Museum this summer since, as it turns out, Buick was not only your grandfather’s car. It was your great grandfather’s pickup.

The Hadley Township Historical Society will play host to an extremely rare 1910 Buick Model 2-A pickup for the summer.

Jeremy Dimick, curator of collections at Flint’s Sloan Museum and Buick Gallery, and his crew are set to deliver the white and red-colored truck to the museum at 10 a.m. Wednesday. It’s the third vehicle Sloan has loaned to the museum since David Beckley and Kent Copeman convinced the Sloan’s staff to loan Hadley a very rare 1919 Patterson to put on display for the 2013 season.

Society members were excited to have one of the rare luxury cars on display at the mill for the summer because at the dawn of the 20th century three prominent Hadley area families — the Cramtons, Sutherlands and Johnsons — owned one.

Last summer the Hadley Mill Museum displayed a 1907 Pontiac.

Copeman, the society’s president, said a six-page cover story in Vintage Truck magazine last winter prompted him to call Dimick to ask him to loan the truck this summer.

The Sloan has 100 vehicles in its collection, but only has room to display about 35 to the public at any given time. Dimick said he’s always happy to have an additional opportunity for the museum’s vehicles to “get out and get seen.” He said, “It does people much more good than to have them sitting in the basement.”

The last time the 1910 Buick Model 2-A pickup was on display was for six months in 2013-14 when the Sloan put on a truck display to mark the launch of the third-generation Silverado pickup.

The truck was one of 2,500 built at Buick’s Hamilton Road plant in Flint. “In those days manufacturers made cabs on chassis,” Dimick said. “You had to outfit them yourself or take them to a coach builder.”

Copeman said the fact the truck was built in Flint was one of the things about it that caught his eye.

The truck has been part of the Sloan Collection since 1975 when Albert Koerts’ widow donated it. Writing in Vintage Truck, Erin McCarty said the truck was the only vehicle in the gruff Flint businessman’s collection to survive a 1966 warehouse fire.

Koerts, who owned a well-known glass company, obtained the truck in 1951 from a Battle Creek collector, who in turn got the truck from a Chicago man who was an early collector of historic vehicles and a one-time president of the Antique Automobile Society of America.

Dimick said he doesn’t know how many Buick pickups still exist. In addition to being built in small numbers in the first place, trucks “just don’t survive,” he noted.

When it was new the Model 2-A sold for about $950. It came with a 22 horsepower horizontal- ly-opposed twin-cylinder motor under the seat that turned a two-speed transmission that provided power to twin chains that powered the rear axle.

Dimick also didn’t know why Buick stopped making the truck in 1912. However, when Alfred P. Sloan went on to create General Motor’s “ladder of success,” in the 1920s Buick was positioned just below Cadillac in prestige.

Albert Mroz, author of “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks,” wrote that Buick continued offering light trucks through 1918 and reintroduced a light truck chassis in 1922, but GM dropped it years later in favor of trucks with the Chevrolet and GMC badges.

The museum will be open from 1 to 3 p.m. June 6, July 25, Aug. 8, Aug. 21 and Sept. 10. It will also be open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 4. Groups can also get special tours by appointment.

For more information about the museum and historical society, email Copeman at krc@centurytel.net or call him at 810-797-4026

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