Helms Bakery Tow Truck Discovered on Old Route 66 (Mother Road) while searching for a Mater.
I wanted a mater for an astrolabe, came accross this vintage numbers matching Lambert Wrecker on Route 66 in Essex, CA. Astrolabe See: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrolabe
This 1957 International Lambert Tow Truck started life as a service and recovery truck for Helms Bakery in Culver City Ca., "The First Bread on the Moon". Helms Bakery might have had several tow trucks, Helms had whole fleet of bread trucks and support vehicles. At one time Helms had over 500 bread trucks and service vehicles. http://helmsbakerydistrict.com/history/helms-photos The industrial quality of the IH cab and chassis Model A132 was chosen to be the foundation this rare Lambert Tow Truck was built upon. This 1957 International A130 chassis left the Springfield Ohio International Harvester assembly line on April 19, 1957, then shipped by either rail or truck via Route 66 to Los Angeles. At that time, Lambert Co LTD was located at 1202 E Olympic Blvd in Los Angeles, California and was the West Coast Ernest Holmes Distributor, also Lambert built their own bodies and complete turn-key tow trucks. http://www.towtimes.com/?p=3136 This one is equipped with its original Holmes 400 Wrecker (dated June 1957), the rare Plus Body with Tool Compartment with CA dimensions of 60" (dated July 8, 1957). This Wrecker is also equipped with a rare scobie plate or flat plate sling, used mostly on the West Coast. The large flat surface face of the plate matched the matching flat faces of all Helms Bakery Trucks. http://tow411.yuku.com/reply/854652/Re-OK-school-me-on-Scovie-plates#.TyAwfuN5nTo Even the later panel trucks had large flat custom grill guards. So in July of 57, a true West Coast Step-side Tow Truck was born sporting that familiar shinny Helms Bakery Yellow over Black, Dark Walnut Brown or Coffee paint scheme I remember as a kid living in Bellflower, Whittier, and Long Beach back in the 50's and 60's, http://gombessa.tripod.com/scienceleadstheway/id5.html Helms Bakery or Lambert are no longer in bussines. Here the Essex Towing truck has been sitting waiting patiently for me to come along so I can pamper her. Parked only fifty feet off the original old Route 66 (pre-1931 alignment, dirt road seen in the background), where she has sat for 10 years or more and has made the Hot Mojave Desert home since the closing of Helms Bakery in 1969. After Helms, the little tow truck helped relocate or salvage the thousands cars off of this stretch of Route 66 to Barstow or Needles as Interstate 40 was to bypass this stretch of road by 1972. Here she sits and listens to the BNSF trains as they sound the warning at the Sunflower Springs level crossing. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_crossing Standing about a hundred yards to the west on Route 66, across from the fully functional and staffed Cal-Trans Yard, sits a cute Radiator Well the Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA Insurance) erected in 1940. This little drinking fountain in the desert provided a much needed FREE drink of clean cool water for all those thirsty automobile radiators. Back in the days most stops in the Hot Mojave desert charged 10 cents a gallon for dirty radiator water, John Steinbeck wrote a book about those days, "The Grapes of Wrath". http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grapes_of_Wrath The free range cattle for cow tipping provided by the Blair Ranch, you will notice the cattle guards and cow warning signs as you pass through town. Say hello to JR and John at their little tire shop that is still in business when you stop by Essex. Essex Ca was bypassed by interstate 40 in 1972, leaving Essex a Ghost Town almost. But thanks to Johnny Carson, in 1977, Essex got TV Reception for the first time ever. The whole town was then invited to Burbank to the Johnny Carson Show. John and the Little Tow Truck had to stay home to watch out for the travelers.
Just a note, the litte tow truck has since been relocated. As far as I know, this is the only remaining Lambert Built Tow Truck known to exist.
Essex Ca is also known as "Free Water" and the Heart of the Mojave Desert according to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
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New [used] Beach Tow Truck 6x6
We may bob this truck this winter but for now we are going to put a flat
bed on it and use it for flat tows on the beach . It takes me 30 minutes to
get to the south end of the beach and when a truck is in the surf 30
minutes is too long . I am going to have Tye use this truck in Longbeach
until summer is over and then we will decide if we want to put a small
wrecker bed on it or just use it for flat tows with a ripe . I tok it for
a spin today and it goes off road in the dunes great . I will post a vid
of it in action this weekend .