The Kraus 1930 Model AA Dump Truck
A Part of “The GearHeaducation of a Young Man” Series
My dad has the most eye-catching vehicle I’ve ever seen, and trust me, it’s not because of some gimmick.
Pictured here is his beautiful 1930 Model AA with an enormous steel dumping mechanism dated for 1929.
Let’s answer some questions right off the bat: it runs.
In fact, this is the first vehicle I learned to drive a stick shift on, but more on that later.
The engine is the same inline-4 201 cubic inch you would normally see in a Model A, except for a few minor modifications installed by the guy who used to own it.
The modifications? Not much. There’s a fuse in there we had to bypass to get it running. That’s about it. Oh, and Dad had to duct tape something, so that’s not exactly spec.
That engine is why the Model A is so popular. Mike Eaton says the most beautiful sound in the entire world is a running Model A. It’s the sound of a pure, simple machine that gets things done.
It’s the sound of the same gas, spark, and air that has done everything from building the Hoover dam, hauling coal, and running farms to fetching ice cream on a Sunday, uniting auto buffs with auto novices, and yes, being the vehicle my father taught me manual transmission on.
A Working Truck
I could wax poetic about the yesteryear of this fine machine, but I’d rather point out how it still has a ridiculous amount of life in it.
As long as gas is in the tank, this truck will get up and go when you ask it to. It’s even done a bit of farm work lately, hauling wood around so Dad could build shelters for the sheep and rams.
Even the llamas find this ride enjoyable!
Like I said earlier, this was the first manual transmission vehicle I’ve ever driven (if you don’t count that time I accidentally launched a Viper in an herb garden, but that’s a different story.)
My dad taught me how during my sister’s baby shower. All the guys had been ‘banished’ to the pole barn out back and, naturally, our eyes started wandering to the truck.
We had to fiddle with the engine a bit (the fuse had to be bypassed), we filled it up with gas, then Dad and I went for a drive down the street and back.
When we got back, my Dad said “Want to drive?” I said I didn’t know stick shift and he said he’d teach me.
“The transmission is a four-speed manual gearbox, but first gear is worthless, so pop it into second. You need to pull the shifter all the way back and over to put it in gear, and this is always further back and over than you’d imagine, so make sure to be assertive about it.”
I cruised (lurched and puttered, really) up and down the street, with Dad coaching me the whole way, and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t better than any roller coaster. The sound of the engine revving, the feeling of this enormous steel machine coming to life and moving, all of this while being coached down the road by my father, is an experience I’ll always remember.
Have a great vehicle in Michigan or Illinois?
Then you could have your vehicle featured here! Submit yours to me and I’ll see if we can’t arrange something.