Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S Too Common? How About This 1928 Walker 10 Light Delivery Electric Truck?

If you ever want to tell if someone is new to the concept of electric vehicles or a hardened long-time fan of them, ask them how long electric cars have existed.

If they give you a date some time within the last twenty years, the chances are they’re fairly new to the concept of plugging a car in.

If they look at you quizzically then tell you electric cars have existed just as long (or longer) than internal combustion-engined vehicles, the chances are they’re been an electric vehicle fan for many years. Because while most people think of electric cars as a reasonably new phenomenon, electric vehicles roamed the streets in a time when those driving internal combustion-engined vehicles had to visit their local chemist for just the right grade of petroleum for their vehicles.

This beautiful truck could be yours for $40,000. (Photo: Greg Gunkel)

This beautiful truck could be yours for $40,000. (Photo: Greg Gunkel)

In addition to being easier to drive and far less bothersome to maintain, these early electric vehicles mainly carried out duties as taxis, early horseless carriages for the wealthy, or delivery workhorses, delivering everything from wood to fresh vegetables from the local store to its customers.

And now, if you’re so inclined, you can own just a vehicle in the form of an all-original, unmolested, working 1928 Model 10 Walker Light Delivery Electric Truck.

You just need $40,000, a way to get it from its current home of Palm Springs, California to your chosen destination, some restoration skills, and most importantly a love for classic vehicles.

Even after five years of outside retirement, this 88-year old truck sprung to life with new batteries.

Even after five years of outside retirement, this 88-year old truck sprung to life with new batteries. (Photo: Greg Gunkel)

As our friends at Autobloggreen note, the vehicle originally entered service back in the 1920s with Gentile Bros. Co., a food distribution and packing company based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Founded in 1881, the company continued trading for many years, closing its doors due to financial problems in 2013. While in service there, the vehicle would have spent its days delivering goods to and from the store, recharging overnight from a large static recharging station located somewhere in the warehouse itself. Being electric, it could easily travel indoors as well as out, and the high-torque electric motor would have made light work of whatever Gentile Bros. Co. decided to put in the back.

To put this all in context, this beautiful electric truck was built just a handful of years after filling stations were invented and entered service the same year that a certain green-over-green Rolls Royce convertible was gifted to Mr. Allen Swift by his father as a graduation present. The same car, owned by Mr. Swift until his death in 2005, earned his car the title of the longest-owned vehicle in history.

The cab could use some work. (Photo: Greg Gunkel)

The cab could use some work. (Photo: Greg Gunkel)

We digress. Unlike Mr. Swift’s beautifully-kept Rolls Royce, the Walker Electric Truck above seems to have passed through several owners over the years, finding itself transported from its home in Cincinnati to Palm Springs, California. And it was there that Grek Gunkel — the current owner — rescued it. Having spent at least five years outside in all weathers, the truck itself looks pretty beaten up, but with a new set of tires and 36-volts of new deep-cycle lead-acid batteries, the truck had no problem moving under its own power, as the video above clearly shows. While that won’t be enough to give the truck its original range, it’s certainly enough to show that this vehicle has plenty of potential (if our sources are correct, the Walker Electric Truck originally shipped with Edison-brand Nickel-Iron batteries).

It’s currently being offered by Gunkel on his local Craigslist site at $40,000 or best offer, and would probably suit someone with a healthy respect for historic vehicles who also happened to be perfectly fine with electric drivetrains.

While there’s clearly some rebuilding to be done to the truck itself — the cab looks pretty rotten in places —  the rest of the vehicle certainly looks salvageable and its original signwriting shows its proud heritage.

What can you expect for your money in terms of range and performance? While we can’t give you a 0-60 mph time (we doubt it could even get that far) this weekend the following excerpt from the 1916 issue of “Electric Vehicles” happened to drop into our email inbox by coincidence, courtesy of the Oregon Electric Vehicle Association.

Electric Truck Makes Record

Will Spalding, Portland, Oregon, agent for the Walker electric truck, recently drove a loaded truck to Salem on a single battery charge. Before the truck was put on charge for the night in Salem more than 60 miles were covered. While mileage records like this are common in city delivery this is believed to be a record in the Northwest over country roads.
The car used was a one-ton Walker equipped with 64 cells of A-6 Edison battery. At the end of the day’s run the meter showed that the battery had delivered 42 per cent over its rated capacity.
The start was made from Portland at 10 a.m., the trip being made over the West Side route via Newberg and the Wheatland ferry. A stop was made at Newberg for lunch and Salem was reached at 4 p.m. The return journey was made over the East Side route, which is declared a much easier trip for an electric.
This is the first electric truck to be driven to Salem. While electric trucks are built primarily for city delivery this trip proves that they can be used over almost any kind of roads and hills when occasion demands.

Being as we’re complete vintage car nuts and into our electric vehicles, we’re wishing that the price tag was an order of magnitude less than it is — because then we’d be tempted to buy it for the Transport Evolved fleet. But as it stands, we just hope this wonderful bygone relic lives to charge — and drive — another 88 years.


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