Old Cars Reader Wheels: 1937 International truck

Old Cars spotlights a reader submitted 1937 International truck
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Curt Kindschuh was kind enough to share the story behind his awesome 1937 International. He had this to add...

I have been a reader of Old Cars for about a year now, and I thoroughly enjoy your fine magazine. It is read cover to cover on the same day I receive it. Attached you will find some “before” and “after” photos of my 1937 International truck. My Grandfather, Helmuth Tornow was a farmer near Poy Sippi, Wisconsin, and he purchased the truck in the late '50s from a man named John Scripp, who passed away in 1961. Mr. Scripp either worked for a butcher shop or owned a shop in the Chicago area, and the truck was used as a delivery vehicle. At one point there were folding steps on the back of the vehicle that my grandpa had removed, that, combined with the sloped bench type seats on the back and the original yellow color, lead me to believe that it could have originally been a school bus for a rural area. A few years ago I saw a very similar old school bus manufactured by the White Motor Company at a museum in Denver. 

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My grandpa used it as a farm truck until he had a tragic farm accident, losing his left hand, and four of his fingers and the tip of his thumb to a corn-picker. (attached is a newspaper clipping from 1972 showing him at Olsen’s feed mill in Auroraville). 

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My father, Calvin Kindschuh, bought the truck in 1974, and as a 12-year-old, I rode the 50 miles back home with him, and what a thrill that was! My dad had the truck in a number of parades on behalf of the South Byron 4-H Club and the local Grange, and I remember riding shotgun and handing out small containers of ice cream to kids on the parade route. He also used it as a runner, as he liked to buy and sell antiques; I went along on a number of occasions to help him carry the big stuff!

My dad passed away in 1979 at the age of 53, way too young. He never made any changes to the truck, and you could still read the name of the butcher shop on the door and “original sweet nut hams and bacon” on the side panels. Sadly, another member of the local Grange borrowed the truck for a parade and painted over the original graphics on the doors. 

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My younger brother, in 1982, was hauling wood with it, and there was a mechanical failure with the clutch. He and his friends pushed it into the shed at the farm, and there it sat. I have always appreciated antiques and those that came before us. My grandpa passed away in 2001 at the age of 93, and nine years later I decided to spend the money and create a tribute truck to my grandparents, Helmuth and Clara Tornow. 

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In the fall of 2010, I reached out to Mark Kemmel of Muscle Car’s by Mark, located near Brownsville, WI. Mark is a one-man show, and you will find him in his shop seven days a week. I had first met him when he drove into the local post office parking lot driving a Mayberry squad car that he had done for his dad, Gerry, and I mentioned the old truck to him. We had some mutual friends, and they gave him a thumbs-up, and thus started a three year journey of bringing the ’37 back to life. I asked my mom, Joyce, to give me the truck as it was, and I said I would spend whatever it took to bring it back to life. There were dead mice in the engine block and the skeletal remains of two cats under the seats. Mark tore it all down and did a complete rebuild. We kept the original engine, which Mark had taken elsewhere for repair. As a history buff and a man that likes to have fun and see people smile, the photos will show my additions to create a one of a kind truck. My grandpa’s farm had a huge rock on the side of the hill in the woods, and they called that spot “Old Baldy.” With the name of the butcher shop being lost to history, the doors now read “Tornow’s Old Baldy Farm, Poy Sippi, Wisc.” My wife, Shelly, and I call the ’37 The Time Machine because if you are going somewhere, it takes extra time to get there! My top speed is 47mph and I am OK with that. I do not participate in car shows, and to date it has only appeared in one parade. I drive it, running errands, meeting friends for a meal, taking back roads and such, and my mom, who is now 90, loves riding in it. The old man in the rocking chair in the back is a huge hit, every time I drive it, I see people smiling and taking photos. 

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A few years back, I was at a pizza joint with some friends, and observed two older ladies with smiles from ear to ear as they walked around the ’37, looked inside, and then shook hands with the old man as they left! We have a lot of fun, the ’37 and I. 

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