The popcorn truck was based on a 1929 Ford Model AA, fitted with a rebuilt 'Cretor's' body that had a popcorn popper fitted, as well as a bun warmer and multi-pot steam table for hot dogs, sink, condiment tray, awnings, root beer barrel and soda dispensers.
Mechanically, the AA commercial featured a period accurate 40hp, 200ci four-cylinder engine, selective three speed transmission, four wheel mechanical brakes, and leaf spring front (transverse) and rear (semi-elliptic).
The overall condition of the AA vending truck was described as being very good. The history of this particular unit wasn't listed in the RM Auctions catalogue for St. Johns, but the vintage appeal of this unit would obviously make it a very interesting business opportunity. At least a couple of the assembled bidders agreed, as the '29 AA sold for a pretty impressive US$77,000 at St. Johns.
A 1922 Chevrolet 'Model 490' canopy express truck appeared to be in far better condition than the Ford AA, but sold for significantly less. Against a pre-auction estimate of $20,000 - $30,000, the Chev sold for only US$19,800.
Offered from the estate of noted US collector, John O'Quinn, the Model 490 featured a 26bhp 171ci four-cylinder engine, three -speed manual transmission, rear brakes only, solid front axle and leaf spring suspension front and rear.
Based on the '490' passenger sedans and tourers, the 490 canopy express was more powerful and better equipped than the equivalent Ford TT trucks of the early 1920s, although it was more expensive. Rated at half a ton carrying capacity, the 490 was the lightest of three Chevrolet factory-built trucks available at that time. The 'Canopy Express' name came from the fixed roof over the load area, as opposed to the usual open pickup-style load area.
Formerly from a Pennsylvania collection, and badged as a delivery vehicle for 'Zulick' Chevrolet-Cadillac, the 490 Canopy Express was presented complete with drop-down canvas side curtains, and a boxy cabin that was built in unit with the canopy body.
Despite being an older restoration, the Model 490 still looked in immaculate condition, so the low price achieved was somewhat surprising.
Images: Copyright Theo Civitello (Chevrolet), courtesy RM Auctions