What Happened to the Model-T “Roadster”

The “roadster” started out as a Model T truck, which the two older Wilson brothers drove to Des Moines to join the Navy in early 1934. They’d just graduated from high school and even their dad had no job, and there were five more children still at home. The two older boys had enough to eat, were kept busy, and could even send $5 or $10 home to help with overalls for school and food.

When Clabe took off the top of the truck that fall, they called it their roadster. One of the photos is on the cover of Leora’s Dexter Stories. Junior is looking at their pet squirrel Rusty on the fender.
In this one, Dale is in the driver’s seat, Junior on the hood, and Dale is eyeing Rusty who is perched on the windshield.
By the end of 1934, Clabe needed to sell the roadster. He never had another vehicle until after finding work as a tenant farmer, about 1940. (They had a “smoking Buick” for a while, then were able to pool their money to buy that brand new 1942 Plymouth.)



  1. It would be tough to do without a car in the suburbs. No public transportation, no sidewalks, and nothing nearby in walking distance. I love the old photos.

    • I thought about that. Sometimes Clabe would get on a WPA job and just pay for a ride. He was chosen for one in Waukee but the ride cost so much, he had to turn it down. When Leora had that hand surgery, I think they rode with the doctor! Other times he’d hitchhike. They all get plenty of exercise!

  2. WP keeps telling me that I’m following your site, but I don’t seem to be getting your posts – my apologies, Joy!!!

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