Saturday, June 21, 2014

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1956 International Harvester SM-120 Metro Van

If ever there was a vehicle I should have posted on St. Patrick's Day back in March, it's this one. Either that, or the Irish community will be happy that I didn't force another stereotype of Irish culture on the holiday of their patron saint. This colorful International Metro with its manic-looking leprechaun and his disturbing mechanical friend are trademarks of O'Grady Plumbing, a business based in San Francisco. A small (I'm sure very small, only a few at most) fleet of these little vans serve as rolling billboards for the company, to be parked in visible locations in the city. I doubt that the Metros see much active duty given their age, condition and rarity.

The Metro Van first came on the scene in 1938, based on the six-cylinder D-Series trucks and available in a range of lengths, cargo ratings and body configurations. The short-wheelbase, light duty vans were useful as milk trucks and bread delivery vans and retained the same general shape and Raymond Loewy design for decades. They looked so similar for so long that it's very difficult to determine the exact year of manufacture of a particular van. Front and rear lamps were moved around a bit, but mostly things are the same. As far as I can tell, this is an SM-120 Metro Van built between 1956 and 1959. But I honestly don't know. Anyone with more information is welcome to chime in and correct me.

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