Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Historical group enjoys love affair with antique trucks

Frequently, Susan Culbertson will catch the wandering eyes of her husband, Arthur Culbertson.

Arthur Culbertson, from Kentucky, is a member of OOIDA and of
the American Truck Historical Society. He displayed his 1974
Ford WT9000 yellow cabover at the 2016 Mid-America Trucking
Show in Louisville, Ky. (Photo by Greg Grisolano)
“She’ll say, ‘you spotted another girlfriend, didn’t you?’ I’ll say, ‘yeah, I think I did,’” said Arthur, an OOIDA member.

However, Arthur’s girlfriends aren’t of the two-legged variety. A truck driver for more than 30 years, he’s possessed a lifelong passion for antique trucks. s the vice president of American Truck Historical Society’s Bluegrass Kentucky chapter, Arthur represented the group at the 2016 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., by showing off his 1974 Ford WT9000 yellow cabover.

“She doesn’t worry at all about me and other women,” Arthur said. “But she knows I’ll spend all day looking at trucks.

The American Truck Historical Society, which has more than
20,000 members, is headquartered in Kansas City, Mo.
(Photos by Mark Schremmer)
“My wife tells everyone that she’s my second love, and that the truck is my first.”

Arthur is one of more than 20,000 members of the American Truck Historical Society, which is headquartered in Kansas City, Mo.

The group’s exhibit of antique trucks was one of the biggest attractions at MATS.

“We had 30-some trucks there this year,” Arthur said. “I don’t think I went five or 10 minutes without someone coming up to me and asking about the truck.”

The ATHS has 93 affiliated chapters and promotes the history of trucks and the trucking industry. While the headquarters in Kansas City has only two full-size trucks on site, the ATHS possesses more than 100,000 photographs, thousands of scale-model trucks, other antiques and memorabilia, as well as an overwhelming library of catalogs and trucking documents.

“People will come here for two or three days doing research,” ATHS Executive Director Don Bretthauer said. “Our mission is to preserve the history of trucks and trucking. A lot of that is through documentation archives, specification catalogues and memorabilia from trucking companies. We’re more about the archives and trying to be a repository for trucking history and truck company history, especially for spec sheets. Those are the thing we really like to obtain, because that’s what restorers of trucks can really use. That’s how we can really help members keep their trucks restored.”

The ATHS started in Birmingham, Ala., in 1971. The headquarters moved to Kansas City in 2001.

An annual membership costs $45 and includes the magazine Wheels of Time. More information on ATHS can be found at the ATHS website.

“If you have a love for trucks or trucking, then you need to be a member of this club,” Arthur said. “I spend hours looking at the magazine and reading about old trucks.”