A 1909 one-ton Rapid truck, driven by James B

Monday 2nd August 1909

A 1909 one-ton Rapid truck, driven by James B. Carry, accompanied by Frank Grogan, T. P. Meyers and two other men reached the summit of Pikes Peak (14,110 feet high), Colorado, US, the first time that a commercial vehicle had successfully completed the trip. Carry and Grogan were Rapid Service Department employees. The truck was a model F-406-B combination 6-passenger “car” with a flare-side open cargo body. It was included in the 1909 Glidden Tour to carry baggage for the Tour participants.When the tour route took them within a few miles of Pike’s Peak, the Rapid team decided to try for the top. The only other motor vehicle to ascend that mountain was a single-cylinder chain drive Brush passenger car that went up nearly a year before.
They left the Antlers Hotel at Colorado Springs a 6:15 AM on August 1, 1909, and returned the next day. Quoting from Mr. Carry’s account that was published in the December 4, 1942 issue of GMC Truck News: “Originally it was thought that the twenty and one-half mile trip could be made up and the same distance back in one day — they were still nearly a mile from the top when darkness overtook them. They camped for the night and completed the ascent the next morning. “And, boy was it ever cold that night and we weren’t prepared for it in any way” said Mr. Carry. You can drive your car up the mountain now in less than one hour” said Mr. Carry. “But in those days such a trip was a real event. Many said we could never make it. The road was really nothing but an old foot path, although it was called a ‘wagon road’. We had to clear out boulders and virtually cut our way through underbrush and stumps many times. Of course, we got stuck often, but, fortunately, we had brought block and tackle with us. At one place, we had to build a bridge to help us across a culvert. We never could have passed any vehicle in a million years. We were in low speed all the way up, and our engine boiled just about all the time. Once, we nearly lost the truck when it started to slip, but we were quick enough with our timbers which we threw behind the wheels to stop the truck in time.”

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