SOME call the automotive hobby an affliction. I come by it honestly. I was born in a junkyard. (almost) At that time our family home was built on the business property of RED DEER AUTO WRECKERS LTD. My father, R.M. (Jeff) Hanson is widely thought of as the founder of Red Deer Auto Wreckers. The little known truth is dad bought the business in 1947. The following pictures are of the original owner (and his wife- maybe) with their home built tow truck.
For people of my generation, the location was next door to a bakery we knew as Wiltshire’s. When I was going to Central Jr. High School downtown, the building the auto wreckers was located in was a pool hall. (South of 53St. on Gaetz Ave.)
SINCE web history is more about sharing pictures than long stories, I present my father’s first wrecker, just out of the shop and ready to work. The cab and chassis were an insurance write- off from a GM garage that burned to the ground. A ‘new’ body from a pickup was bolted to the ‘heat-treated’ frame and a wrecker deck was fabricated in the Red Deer Auto Body shop.
In no time, Red Deer Auto Wreckers offered 24 hr. towing services and a new ’55 Chevy 1ton was equipped with a new wrecker deck and pressed into service. (Picture circa 1957- ’58)
SOME might accuse me of being born with a silver spoon in my mouth. This was my ride home from the hospital. This new ’57 Cadillac was rebuilt from an insurance write-off. The car was reconstructed starting with a new frame from General Motors.
JUST to illustrate that much could be accomplished if you knew the limits of your equipment, or, perhaps things were built a whole lot tougher back then are pictures from 1959.
Red Deer Auto Wreckers closed down 1976 when dad ‘retired’ and family issues prevented the next generation from continuing the business. Although the business closed, it never quite went away.
I mean, as long as you’ve got a tow truck, you are never really ‘out of business’, right?