The 18th Annual Orinda Classic Car Show focuses on trucks; supports the elderly in the city
|Posted on August 31, 2022|
|The 18th Annual Orinda Classic Car Show focuses on trucks; supports the elderly in the city|
|By Sora O’Doherty|
|Theme, Keep On Trucking, entry, 1948 Diamond T one ton pickup truck owned by Lawrence and Sarah Siegel of Orinda. Photo Sora O’Doherty|
BC Forbes once said, “There is more merit and satisfaction in being a top-tier truck driver than a tenth-tier executive.” Fortunately, Lawrence Siegel doesn’t have to choose, being the very satisfied owner of a business, Cuesta Antiques, and a vintage truck: his prized Diamond T. ‘Orinda, you’ll have another chance to see this sleek truck at the 18th Annual Orinda Classic Car Show on Saturday, September 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The show will feature vintage pickups (stock and custom or resto-mod). There will also be all other types of vehicles, including some exotic electric vehicles.
This year’s theme, “Keep On Truckin’!” is epitomized by Siegel’s lovingly restored vintage vehicle. Siegel acquired his truck about a decade ago. At the time, he saw it advertised in the vintage Hemmings Auto Trade book. The truck, which was in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, was approximately 60% restored, but had no wood or hubcaps. The man who started the restaurant was dead, and his son needed college money. Siegal bought the Diamond T for $35,000 and feels he invested as much and more in completing the restoration, although, he notes, the restoration of a vintage vehicle is still in progress. .
Siegel and his wife own and run Cuesta Antiques in Lafayette, and you can often find the Diamond T parked near Whole Foods. Siegel says the truck is attracting a lot of business for the store. Siegal has always had a vintage vehicle of a certain type. He has been to many car shows, including all of those held in Orinda. “We love participating in the community,” he said. Siegel and his wife have lived in Orinda for 35 years.
The truck stays pretty close to my house. The farthest Siegel drove was to Napa to work on the truck’s unique bed made from wine barrel slats, which he installed over the original steel bed. The bed is in French oak, while the wooden sides are in Sapele mahogany from Brazil.
Siegel retained the original commercial license plates on the Iowa farm truck. While Ford and Chevrolet had pickups back then that hauled half-ton or three-quarter-ton loads, the Diamond T hauled an incredible ton. To cope with this heavy load, the truck originally had springs so firm, says Siegel, “your teeth would chatter.” He made adjustments to smooth out the ride. He was able to find replica original Coker tires and restored the original rims and hubcaps. The Diamond T now has a 1995 Chevy Corvette engine, which replaced the stock Hercules engine. It runs on premium 91 octane gasoline and the tank holds 15 gallons.
Siegel loves the art deco look of the truck, which he proudly says is “a chick magnet!” Truly, the truck is a people magnet, with people always stopping to admire the beautiful truck. Most don’t remember Diamond T trucks. Siegel’s Model 4116 was manufactured between 1939 and 1948. The company was later acquired by Freightliner in 1969.
Diamond Ts were farm trucks and are therefore rare in California. Siegel says there are maybe 15 or 20 in good condition in the United States. He has received offers, but is not ready to part with his Diamond T, “the Cadillac of trucks”, as it was called. The T in the truck’s name is for its designer, the founder of the Chicago company, CA Tilt.
Most trucks were painted fire engine red, but Siegel’s truck had the California option, which includes moleskin (tan) and Rootbeer (brown) paint. Siegel, who for many years had a successful luggage business, made a leather suitcase which he strapped to the truck’s running board for additional storage. It adapts perfectly to the look of the truck. The old truck has unique features that are no longer found on modern vehicles. For example, the split windshield opens for ventilation, in addition to the side vents.
Siegel grew up in Piedmont and met his wife Sarah at Piedmont High. Sarah is an artist specializing in outdoor style. When he was young, Siegel and his friend would go to Emeryville and look at all the truck dealerships. “I saw the Diamond T there,” he said, “and thought it was the nicest truck of them all.”
The car show is the Orinda Association’s primary fundraiser for Orinda Seniors Around Town, which provides a variety of services to Orinda seniors. The show also raises funds for other local charities, benefiting local seniors and the wider community. Funds come from vehicle entrance fees, as well as donations. Even if you don’t enter your vehicle at the Orinda Classic Car Show, you can support the work of the “Seniors Around Town” program by making a donation.
More details about the auto show, including how to donate, can be found on the auto show’s website: www.orindacarshow.com