The VanNatta's have frequently had a truck around in case they wanted to haul something. This classic 1938 International D35 served their purposes well when farming was the order of the day. Equipped with a scissors hoist, and a 15 foot flat bed this truck found service with the VanNatta family from 1954 to 1964 when it met a tragic end. It hauled thousands of bales of hay, thousands of tons of hog feed, and cow feed all with a 260 cu. in. engine and a 4 speed transmission. It was never driven over 45 MPH because it went through the sound barrier if you tried. By carefully stacking the bales one could get 155 bales on, which served our needs well as they all had to be hauled 25 miles from Clatskanie.
The VanNatta Family was the third and final owner of this vehicle. It was sold new to Standard Oil and served until after World War II as a fuel delivery truck. When Standard retired it after the war, some farmers in Clatskanie converted it to a farm truck before selling it the VanNatta's for $500. It went out will class when it was lost in a barn fire in 1964. It was fully loaded with 5 tons of cow feed when it, and the barn burned. The basic Black Diamond engine block in this truck continued to be a standard for International Harvester into the 1960's. In the earlier versions such as this model, the engine had dry sleeves, but in later years the replaceable sleeves were left out and the displacement increased to the famous 308 cu. in. which everyone now remembers as the engine that you couldn't quite wear out. This engine continued to be available from International by popular demand even after the IH LoadStar series was introduced which was designed for a V-8 engine. It was particularly popular in school buses. After the War, IH first produced the "K" series of trucks. They had the same cab and interior and even the same instrument panel (a flat dash with square appearing instruments all in a single cluster), however the "K" series had a completely different fender and grill combination.
Although there are some fond memories of this vehicle, one must also wonder why its drivers and passengers are among the living. The gas tank, for example, was under the seat, all 20 gallons of it. Moreover, the filler spout for the tank was in the cab in sort of a hollowed out spot in the back corner of the seat. If you overfilled the tank, the gas would slosh on the seat of your pants. The speeds in the various gears of the 4 speed box were 7.5 mph, 15 mph, 30 mph and some higher speed which we never attained in high gear. There were plenty of highway hills that put you in second gear and a few that called for first if you had a load. The next problem after you got moving was to get stopped. Hydraulic brakes were the automotive invention of the 1930's, and this vehicle had a fairly modern vacuum assisted set of hydraulic brakes. The real problem was braking capacity. The shoes were only 2.5 inches wide and as was common with trucks of the 1930's, these brakes, even when in good working order wouldn't stop or hold the vehicle on a steep grade with a full load. Every load we hauled on this truck had to go down about 300 feet of 22% grade and up an 18% grade. Going down the steep grade was a fairly straight forward process. You got in first gear, and grabbed the steering wheel with both hands and stood on the brakes as hard as you could till you got to the bottom.
One modern convenience we added when we got the truck were turning lights. Previous owners had used a mechanical arm signal, that was common in trucks of the '30's and 40's. This proved helpful for safety in a number of ways, as the issue electrical system was all on one fuse, and when we added the turning lights we put them on a separate fuse, so when the main fuse went and took every light on the truck with it, you could turn on a turning light and get a glimpse of the road now and then until you could get stopped, and replace the fuse.
There was no heater or defroster, but, of course, you could keep the ice off the windshield in the winter by propping up the butterfly hood a bit on the back with a stick of wood. Of the other goods and bads a good was the windshield wiper. IH used an electric wiper, which was vastly better than the vacuum models used by other manufacturers. They even worked going up hill, which the vacuum models didn't. One of the most hated features of IH trucks (which continued into the mid 1950's) was a combination of the IH engines and their 6 volt electrical systems. IH engines were famous for getting tight if they were shut off hot. You learned right away to leave the engine idle for 15 minutes to cool out if you wanted to restart it again right away, because otherwise the engine would get tight, and the starting motor wouldn't turn it over until it did cool out. Of the truckers that I know of this era, this start hard characteristic is the most hated of all. Lots of people put 8 volt batteries in their IH trucks just because of this problem, but this had the down side of screwing up the voltage regulator and causing other electrical problems.