Dream Machine

| June 2008

Rare International Auto Truck keeps collector up at night

The night before Bob 'Fezzy' Hanauer drove to the central Minnesota town where he would pick up his newly purchased 1914 International Harvester Co. Auto Truck, he couldn't sleep. 'It took me 10 years to convince them to sell it,' the Albany, Minn., man says, 'so all kinds of things were going through my head.'

Fezzy is the fourth generation of his family to be involved with automobiles. His great-grandfather began the tradition, working first as a wheelwright in Albany in the late 1800s, and then graduating to service and sales. 'Through the years I've taken a liking to all the automotive stuff,' Fezzy says. 'The first time I saw that IHC truck was about 10 years ago when my dad and I picked up a 1954 Corvette to do some engine work before the car was restored.'

The owners of the Corvette had the 1914 truck in the same building. 'I saw the truck and fell in love with it right then,' he says. 'It's so different from the trucks of today and I thought it was so cool. It has the wooden wheels, hard rubber tires and an open cab, just for starters. Because it's so rare I realized I didn't have the money they might want for it, but after that I made sure I kept track of it.'

Patience pays off

The truck was purchased from a southern Minnesota implement dealer in the 1950s, restored and taken to a Montana museum in the 1960s. 'It came back to Minnesota in 1975 in that collection where I first saw it,' Fezzy says.

Through the years Fezzy repeatedly asked the owners if they were ready to sell, but they weren't. Ultimately the collector gave the truck to his grandson in Oregon. The grandson was also reluctant to sell the relic. Eventually, though, he realized getting the truck to the West Coast would be a real trial. Storage space also was a problem, and that was exactly the break Fezzy needed. 

One day Fezzy got the call he'd been waiting for: The grandson was ready to sell the truck. He went to look at it to see if it was still in sterling condition, found it was and made an offer. 'The owner in Oregon said he would get back to me,' Fezzy says.