Trucks, Trucks and more Trucks


Ray Graham, after graduating from the University of Illinois in 1908, becomes interested in designing lightweight trucks. He invents a special rear axel to convert Ford Model T cars into one-ton trucks for $350.00. Owens is looking after the glass business, so Joe and Robert join their brother in the truck business. They establish a factory in Evansville. Their success attracts the attention of Dodge Bros, and in April 1921 they are making Dodge Trucks exclusively. Under the Dodge brand they become the largest exclusive truck manufacture in the world, producing 37,000 units in 1926. By 1925, the Graham Bros. are running Dodge.

Then in April, 1926, all three resigned. Nobody knows why. They find a floundering car company, Paige Detroit, and buy it in 1928. The brothers announce: “…we’re in the automobile business as manufactures to stay.” Looking back, maybe their timing in getting out of Dodge was great, but not so great in getting into business with Paige. History stands still, doesn’t it? Here comes the car story next.

(T.G.P in front of Tom Jr.’s Model T one-ton truck.)

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From pop bottles to the NHL.


An interesting story about a car. This story starts on a small farm in Washington, Indiana where brothers Joseph, Robert and Ray Graham were born and grew up. Father Ziba and Joe buy shares in a small start up glass container company, Lythgoe Bottle Co. Joe, 19 at the time, creates and patents a new process for blowing better bottles so they wouldn’t break so easily. It becomes so successful that they ended up owning the company by 1905 and change the name to the Graham Glass Company. They buy out their major supplier of raw materials and merged with the Owens Bottle Company in 1916. The base product started with the manufacture of canning jars however the money started poring in with the bottle patent, Coke bottles in particular and the merger with Owens to Libby and then with Edward Ford becoming the giant Libbey-Owens-Ford in 1930, the first company to create safety glass for the auto industry. A steady stream of money for the brothers. Back to the glass chapter later trucks next.

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What were you doing in 1877

Jethro William Hobbis (17 years old) was running an oxen freight train from Mafeking to Kimberly, a 232 mile trip with his 16 oxen team. He emigrated to South Africa with the influence of Cecil Rhodes. Rhodes, while at Oxford working on his bachelor degree in 1877 wrote his will titled “Confession of Faith” challenging all Anglo-Saxons to take over the world. It took 5 years of African unrest until the disillusioned Hobbis family (with Mary and son) returned to England to take up other interests; Publican (Blue Ball Inn, Kintbury) and then Baker (Benham’s Grocery Store, Pamber Heath). Together they would have eight more children. Emigrating to Canada in 1908 and taking over a very small piece of the world, 160 acres, homesteading in Alberta. Danika’s Great Great Great Grandfather passed away in 1941, Mary two years earlier.

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Granddad Buys a car




In his own handwriting (see March 5th post), T.G.P. informs us that the purchase date of his 1929 Ford Model A is August, 1932. At that time he was a month from his 50th birthday, with four children at home between the ages of 11 and 18. Granddad and eldest son, Tom Jr, celebrate the milestone with a road trip to Vermillion to visit his parents, Jethro and Mary Hobbis (Danika’s Great-Great-Great Grandparents).

It’s safe to assume that if you drive that far to visit your parents, you likely drove them around a bit in your car. This car has the amazing histories of six generations. T.G.P. will continue driving this car for the next 30 years. (The image is T.G.P. on that trip)

Just got word from Brad – it’s running. Now the bad news. It needs a muffler, exhaust pipe and battery. The worst news: it going to need to be rewired. But it’s got to be safe, even at night.

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Now a word from our sponsor

While breaking from the Granddad project I’m going to take you on a journey into car art. It’s been my pleasure at the garage to represent a fine artist, David Chapple for the last 10 years. Let his words describing his work.

“Electric, colourful and glitzy are my first impressions when I think of my paintings. I’m intrigued by the view of a city when seen with an automobile’s perspective. Automobiles are an important part of my paintings as they are very important to America’s nostalgic culture. Painting a stimulating street scene shows the colourful impact of how I see a city. My creative hunger for color is fed when I absorb the vivid scenes of a mighty metropolis. The power and energy generated is exhilarating. Viewers are pulled in and mesmerized as the painted images explode from the canvas.”

Check out his site at At Hollywood’s his work on display include Chappy’s Diner, Majestic Glory, Sunshine in the City, Times2 , Fremont Hot, Era of Nostalgia, Vehicle City, Vintage Vegas, Java Joe, Mint, Art of Las Vegas, and Bel Air Bleu. (examples in bold) “What a Boss” is his latest print. Let his perspective stir you as it has me each time I view the colourful world of David Chapple. They are limited edition prints and some are quite pricey. Now back to the Granddad Project.

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Race connection





While Brad is spinning his magic and with nothing to report, there is however a race connection with Granddad’s Model A. It has to do with Juan-Manuel Fangio. The greatest car racer ever. His first ride was a 1929 Ford Model A. He had it modified and started his racing career in 1934. Here is another. Granddad attended Ardingly College at the same time as Walter Clifford Earp. Clifford was an early pioneer in auto racing having finished eighth in the Gordon Bennett Cup in 1905 driving a 90-h.p. Napier in France. He drove the same car in the inaugural Brighton Speed Trials completing the flying kilometer in a blazing fast (not) 23 seconds. Six months later at Daytona beach set a new record for the 100 miles of 1 hour 15 minutes and 40.4 secs. Doing that while driving the last 65 miles on tireless rear rim, he shredded a tire at the 35 mile mark. He went on to set four more world records in 1907. The Napier was a British car manufactured until 1924 with a total of 4258 built. It originated the British racing green colour. Napier gained notoriety in 1904 by being the first car to cross the Canadian Rockies in a 3536 mile trip from Boston to Vancouver. In 1905 renowned pioneer of female independence Dorothy Levitt drove a Napier to a ladies land speed record making headlines as the fastest girl on earth and the Champion Lady Motorist of the World. In 1902 Dorothy was labelled a Scorcher. Where is this leading? Fangio, Earp, Gordon Bennett Cup, Napier, and Dorothy Levitt’s colourful history that seems to be a little “Hollywoodish”. It leads to Danika (not Patrick) Poland in her Poppa’s 1941 Graham Hollywood. She is crazy for cars.

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The rear end is in.



Jock and Brad installed the rebuilt rear end in Granddad’s car. The wheels look great. The Corvette, Graham, Triumph, Matchless and Harley all had to visit the great outdoors when the Model A was pushed out and loaded on Brad’s trailer to make the journey to his shop. The rain held off just long enough for all to return to the garage safe and dry. The moving crew Andy, Donnie, Greg, and Attila have to be congratulated for a job well done, no dents. Thanks to the lunch crew, Chris, Lesley and helper Danika.

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The Granddad Project—Voyaging west, then east, then west again.

A quick explanation of T.G.P.’s emigration to Canada. He emigrated in 1905 on the Liner Victorian, returned to England on the Mauretania to marry Ellen Staniford and then returned to Canada on the Empress of Ireland. “So What” you ask?
Victorian: The first large civilian ship propelled by steam. This ship would have been brand new. Maiden voyage March 23. T.G.P. left April 27. Mauretania: Held the speed record for crossing the Atlantic for 22 years. Sister ship to the Lusitania. Empress: Launched in 1906 sank May 29/14 taking the lives of 1012. Canada’s largest peace time maritime accident. His voyage March 11/10. Interesting transportation choices. Three important vessels for a emerging nation. Why own only one car for 30 years? I don’t have that answer.

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It’s my conjecture that Granddad, Thomas Guscotte Parker Hobbis, knowing that his failing health was limiting his ability to drive, looked to the car’s origin, the Ford Motor Company for a new home for his beloved Model A, writing two letters first in 1959 and again in 1961. The respondent both times, William Schoen. When researching Mr. Schoen I found his resume very impressive.

Highlights; (please read)

1938-40 Attended Princeton University 1940 Primary Flight Training Honourable Discharge (medical) 1946-52 U.S. State Dept. Truman administration speech writer promoting the Marshall Plan. 1952-74 Ford Motor Co. Speech writer for Henry Ford 11, Robert McNamara and others. Stockholder Relations. Director of Urban Affairs. In 1964 he worked with Disney developing the Ford exhibit at the 1964 world fair in New York (where the Mustang was introduced) During his Ford years worked with the Pentagon and NASA. Managing Aerospace Technologies on the Saturn 1 moon rocket. He is credited with writing the speech Henry Ford 11 gave to support GATT. It had epic media news and editorial coverage and the biggest Ford story since Henry 1 announced the $5-per day, 40 hour week, in 1914. That speech set the business standard in the US for the next 20 years. 1966-67 Speech writer for President L.B. Johnson. 1974 –2010 private public relations consulting practice. Working with labour unions, and human rights organizations advocating for seniors, minorities and women. Mr. Schoen was a very influential and respected spin doctor and he had the time to write my Grandfather, twice.

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The Granddad Project. con’t.

Car Pride, TGP had a lot, adding to and upgrading his car. These are the additions I have found so far, heater, clock, front and rear side running lights, front model T running lights, fire extinguisher, seat covers, clothes rack, masonite covered door interiors, compass, rear blind, exhaust pipe tip, back up light, two horns, two rear view mirrors, rear luggage carrier, side screens, steering wheel knob, spare tire cover, headlight visors, and a front mounted tool box. Then he changed the wheels to 1933’s and painted them red. He was so proud he offered it back to Ford writing two letters. After being rejected in 1959 he tried again in 1961. Read the letters. More on the letters author to follow.

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