Arizona | Lot 178
1931 Chevrolet Independence Canopy Express
Offered from the Mohrschladt Family Collection
$35,200 USD | Sold
| Phoenix, Arizona
19 January 2017
- Offered from the Mohrschladt Family Collection
- A rare and desirable commercial body style, in fine condition
- Formerly of the famous Ron Pratte Collection
- Features a full complement of faux produce
Series AE. 50 hp, 194 cu. in. OHV inline six-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, front and rear semi-elliptical leaf spring suspension, and four-wheel internal expanding mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 107 in.
Chevrolet’s attractively styled, modern AE Independence series of 1931 was available as both a passenger car and with light commercial bodies in a wide variety of configurations, suiting almost any possible need and purpose.
Among the available body styles was the Canopy Express, which featured a 72-inch long by 45-inch wide, pickup truck-like bed and a fixed frame-like roof with open sides, which could be covered by scroll curtains tucked under the roof. The Canopy Express allowed an owner to drive his truck up to the market, pull up the curtains, and vend his wares—usually produce—directly from the back of the truck, without unloading. It was therefore an economical and attractive choice for small farms.
The example offered here received a high-quality restoration in former ownership, in which its bodywork was refinished in an elegant red-orange, with green synthetic leather upholstery to the driver’s compartment. The wheels are finished in black with blackwall tires, a wonderful utilitarian touch. The dashboard and gauges seem to be original, and the underbody and under the hood show driving use and enjoyment, while the finish of the body is holding up quite well. Completing the “Quality Produce Co.” livery, the bed is fully stocked with an attractive variety of high-quality faux fruits and vegetables, encompassing everything from peaches to peppers, packed into wooden crates and suspended from strings. The offering is very convincing and attractive, and it truly completes the presentation of this unique truck.
Mr. Mohrschladt acquired the “huckster,” as this style is known to enthusiasts, from Ron Pratte’s renowned Arizona collection, known for the depth and quality of its offerings. It has remained a favorite of visitors to his own collection, as it wonderfully evokes a bygone time and age. One can imagine the possibilities of it as an advertising vehicle for one’s business, as a conversation piece, or as the centerpiece serving station of one’s next garden party.