Residents of Rimbey and other communities in central Alberta will be seeing a new promotional item on the streets and in parades this coming summer in the form of a 1934 International truck.
In a collaborative effort between the Town of Rimbey, the Chamber of Commerce and a number on no-profit groups including the Kinsmen and Lions clubs, the truck was purchased and is currently in the process of being shipped by rail from Chicoutimi, Quebec and is expected to arrive in Rimbey some time before Christmas.
“Actually, a number of years ago we were looking for a parade float,” said Mayor Dale Barr in explaining how they came up with the idea of purchasing the truck. “There were a few ideas thrown around between the Chamber, the Town of Rimbey and some organizations, and we thought in following with the theme of the day – which was the International truck collection, that we’d try to come up with a truck idea that would represent the collection.”
He added that the plan is a bit of a natural progression from the People Mover truck idea initiated by Pas-Ka-Poo Park a number of years ago as a promotional tool for the community that was also featured in parades throughout the area. As the new International truck is already road-worthy, the truck is seen as an enhancement of the People Mover, which is currently part of the exhibit in the Smithson International Truck Museum and is intended to play off the idea of Ponoka’s stagecoach as an instantly-identifiable symbol of that community.
“Some of our trips are as far out as an hour away so we needed something that was safe and reliable on the road so we don’t have to trailer-haul it,” Barr said. “I guess that’s kind of where we kept working on the theme of the International truck.”
With the first International trucks being produced in 1934, he said the original model should make for a great attraction not only in the community but also at the estimated six to eight parades it will be part of in other communities throughout the area.
With an estimation of being 95 per cent completed, Barr said he has already seen the truck but admitted it needs a bit of minor work including a few touch-ups to the body, but otherwise, it’s ready to go.
“We have gone and seen it,” he said. “It does need a bit of work yet, to be honest, but considering what year it is, it’s in fairly good shape and certainly meets safety standards for normal, summertime driving so we know we have something that can get from Point A to Point B with very little work right now.”
In offering sponsorships to non-profit groups at a cost of $2,000 each in exchange for signage on the vehicle, Barr said not only will the truck be promoting Rimbey, but it will also promote the local non-profit organizations as well.
As for whether the public will see the truck at the local drag strip or in the annual 100 Foot Shoot-Out this summer, he said it very well could be, but it’ll all come down to sponsorship.
“That will certainly depend on the sponsorship that comes forward,” Barr said. “Right now it’s not really a race unit at all – it’s a show unit, and that’s certainly what we were after. Not saying that if sponsorship comes forward and they want to do something on that end of it, we may look at it.”
He said the decision to pursue an International truck as a promotional item was made a number of years ago with the support of the public and that by sharing the cost of the truck – which was originally $25,000 but negotiated down to a landed cost of just under $20,000 to Rimbey, between all the organizations involved, lightens the financial burden for all by spreading the purchase price out.
“The decision is public, it was passed in our budget and has for a few years back. If we found something for parades, we would proceed with the purchase,” Barr said.
“The unique part about this is that with the contributions of the non-profit groups and being part of the promotion for the town, it really balances the cost out.”
Expected to take three to four weeks to arrive here from Quebec by rail, the costs of transportation were picked up between General Motors and Buist Motor Products of Rimbey, which also receives their inventory by rail.
Barr said it wasn’t fully determined yet if the truck would complete the trip entirely by railway or if the truck would be off-loaded in Edmonton and hauled by trailer to Rimbey but added he expects it to arrive some time just prior to the holiday season.
Either way, he expects it to be a great addition to the community.
“I think it’s going to be a good boost on the promotional side for Rimbey,” he said. “We certainly have the only International truck collection in North America and this will certainly signify and help promote tourism both of the community and of the International truck collection.”
With vintage and nostalgic vehicles commanding huge prices when restored, Barr said the truck is also a bit of an investment as well and suggested prices ranging from $35,000 to $75,000 are not unreasonable, especially if the vehicle is completely or near completely restored.
“We’re certainly pleased that we managed to negotiate a little bit of a better price from the owner of it and we’re landing it here at a reasonable price compared to what these units are worth,” Barr added.