Donated by Allen Vandekerkhove Victoria BC
Not only did Diamond T's have high quality, they were styled like no other truck and often had flowing lines and rich chromed details. According to Diamond T founder C.A. Tilt, “A truck doesn’t have to be homely,” Diamond T built around a quarter-million trucks over a 56-year history.
Building their first car in 1905, two years later Diamond T started production of 3 passenger cars and they built their first truck in 1911 at a customer's request. Soon cars were phased out in favour of Trucks and Diamond T built many for the war efforts once WWI started. The cars were extremely high quality and some models had up to 70 hp.
1936 was Diamond T’s best year with sales well over 8,500 trucks. Mid way through that year they joined REO, Mack, Federal and International who all thought they could make money in the light truck business. Diamond T built the 3/4 ton Model 80. The Model 80S for standard and the Model 80D for deluxe with an electric clock and jewel cigar(cigarette) lighter. A few thousand were guessed to have been built over just two years.
Replacing the Model 80 with the Model 201 Diamond T one-ton claimed to be unique, " all-truck specifications and exceptionally rugged construction set it widely apart from most trucks in this classification because they are commonly passenger car adaptations, which include the use of many units originally designed for passenger car service.” It came as pickup, stake truck or Panel and resembled no automobile at the time.
The Model 201 had a super tough heavy-duty frame, Lockheed hydraulic brakes, extra-rigid front I-beam axle, cast-iron spoke wheels, 16"standard or 20" optional. Regarding the frame the company wrote “The exceptional rigidity of the X-type frame promotes longer life for cowl, cab and bodies by its freedom from weaving and distortion.”
That beefy frame meant more weight. In base chassis form, Diamond T’s one-ton pickup weighed in at 2, 750 pounds. “Model 201 is necessarily built heavier than the usual competition,” continued the Diamond T brochure, “but this additional chassis weight is required to provide its long life and low maintenance cost. It will do its job at a lower cost per mile and per day and for a longer useful life by far than any of the lighter and less rigorously designed vehicles commonly offered in this market.”
Around 7,000 Diamond T Model 201's were built until 1949 with a grille variations and some mechanical upgrades.
The Model 222 was announced 1950 as a bigger pickup but had very poor sales. The post war era was very different for light pickups, with lots of competition. Almost every manufacturer had added 3/4 ton and one ton models to their 1/2 ton trucks and priced them suitably for tradesmen, but with long option lists to suit almost every customer.