• Last modified 899 days ago (March 8, 2017)


Farm truck long part of the family

Staff writer

David Leith’s newest baby is older than he is. The 1930 Ford Model AA truck he’s owned since 2015 has nevertheless been part of his family since 1930.

“My great-granddad bought this truck in 1930,” Leith said.

A farmer near Offerle, 30 miles east of Dodge City, William Kurth used it to haul wheat, milo, and oats.

The next family member to own the truck was William’s son Mervin Kurth.

Mervin Kurth also farmed and used the truck for farm duties.

“He continued to use the truck until he died in 1987, used it to haul grain and feed,” Leith said.

Leith recalls his great-uncle would form feed into shocks, drive to the pasture with the shocks in the truck bed. He would put the truck in low gear to slowly coast along, then jump into the bed to toss shocks to the cattle.

After Mervin Kurth died, his nephew Roger Leith inherited it.

“He lived in Rose Hill, Kansas,” Leith said. “He did not farm with it. He just took care of it.”

When his uncle was ready to part with the truck, he knew exactly where to find a buyer.

“He knew I’d always loved it, and he called and asked if I wanted to buy it. I said, ‘Yes, if we can agree on a price,’” Leith said.

After wrangling back and forth, Leith bought the truck in July 2015 and hauled it to Marion.

The truck remains in near-original condition, except for the marks of wear and tear from farm work. The body, engine, interior, and systems are all untouched except for a new fuel tank and gravity-fed fuel line.

The original fuel tank, mounted above the engine and behind the dash, was too full of rust, Leith said. He installed a new one in the front of the bed and put in a new line. He finished the work last year. The only other work he plans is to give the truck a couple of new tires, which will have to be specially ordered.

“I want to leave it just as original as possible. I might put a little wax over it,” Leith said.

With a top speed around 25 mph, Leith said he doesn’t drive it on the highway. He does drive it around town about once a month.

He plans to drive it in parades, and during wheat harvest will probably haul one load of wheat to the elevator just for old time’s sake.

But before hauling a load of wheat, he’ll have to buy those tires, which he’s in no hurry to do because of price.

“When I bought it, I was already over budget, but I had to have it,” Leith said.

Last modified March 8, 2017