Check out this $55k custom hand built one of a kind 1963 salesman sample massive mover! | Diecast CraZy - Discussion Forums for True Collectors

Check out this $55k custom hand built one of a kind 1963 salesman sample massive mover!

Discussion in 'Other Cool Customs & Models' started by canuck617, May 31, 2019.

  1. canuck617

    canuck617 Team Caliber. "Anything less is just a Toy"

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    eBay ID:
    Edsel Ford II calls the No. 21 Wood Brothers car Ford’s “company car.’’
    Fav. Driver:
    Ford Racing Drivers
    Plootarg, Alberta, Canada
    Jan 22, 2013
    This is pretty cool piece hand built one of a kind piece!

    I know it's an excessive fee-bay item, but it needs to go here as an 'other cool custom model'.

    34" Caterpillar 779 Truck Precision Model Salesman's Sample Promo Toy CAT Sign | eBay












    Sellers description reads below:

    I received my copy of the March 2018 issue of "Toy Trucker & Contractor" magazine on 2/24/18. There is a 4-page article on this very special model on pages 28, 29, 30 and 31 of that magazine. It was also featured previously on the cover and on pages 26, 27 and 28 of the August 2002 issue of the same magazine. It takes a very special model to be featured twice by such a magazine.

    This listing is for a one of a kind, hand built, 1/10th scale precision model of a 75-ton capacity Caterpillar OHT (off-highway-truck). This model was built in Caterpillar's own shops by a tool and die maker who spent a half of a work year building it back in 1963 which was 55 years ago. It appears to have been fabricated from steel sheet material and steel bar stock with some undercarriage details in wood along with real rubber tires. This huge model measures 34" long by 18" wide and 15" tall with the box in the down position.

    This fine model could be the centerpiece of your entire tractor or toy truck collection. It dwarfs the pop can sitting beside it in the first photo as well as the Tonka dump truck shown beside it in the second photo. It weighs 75 pounds without the plywood display base shown in the sixth photo. Also included is a special plywood cover with the name CATERPILLAR stenciled on the top used to protect this gem during storage and transport. There is also a considerable amount of very interesting related literature included and described later in this listing.

    No, the price is not a typo. I value this gem in the $55,000 range for several reasons which include but are not limited to the following facts:
    1. It is a huge precision model with much intricate detail and it appears to be very well made
    2. This model is special enough to have been featured in a 3 page article and on the cover of the August 2002 issue of "Toy Trucker & Contractor" magazine
    3. There is also a follow-up article on it in the March 2018 issue of "Toy Trucker & Contractor" magazine coming out on February 25, 2018
    4. A very skilled tool & die maker worked about 1000 hours or about a half of a man-year to build it
    5. It was an "in-house job" that was built by the same company that built the full-size OHT (off-highway-truck) vehicles later on
    6. This was used to promote the design and acceptance to the management people of the first of a new CAT product line
    7. A special mold was fabricated by Goodyear to make these 6 unique and very detailed tires that most likely were never used on another model
    8. This model is a "1 of 1" in the whole world and no others like it were ever built
    9. About $10,000 of time and money were spent in its construction which might equal $80,000 to $100,000 in today's dollars
    10. I know of no collectible Caterpillar related items other than full-size tractors that are as interesting as this model is
    11. Caterpillar would like to forget this unsuccessful part of its history which is kind of like the unsuccessful Dain tractor in John Deere's history
    12. This is the most significant remnant of the 779 OHT product line since all 41 of the full-size trucks produced were recalled and scrapped by Caterpillar
    13. I have been collecting items related to cars, trucks, tractors and other machinery for over 50 years and can not recall ever finding or even hearing about any model or promotional item that even comes close to comparing with this unique model except for the "Baby Reo" which was a half-size running vehicle built by the Reo Motor Company in 1905 to promote their new automobiles in 1906. You can do an internet search for "Baby Reo" so see more about that fantastic marketing effort by Ransom Eli Olds back in 1906. That car still exists and is in the R. E. Olds Transportation Museum in Lansing Michigan where Reo vehicles were produced.

    Most of the following information is from an extensive article on this model featured in the August 2002 edition of "Toy Trucker & Contractor" magazine. This article was written by Richard Guhl who worked for Caterpillar in the following capacities:

    1955 Joined Caterpillar
    1966-1990 OHT (Off-Highway Truck) Design Supervisor
    1990 Retired

    Richard Guhl's wonderful article lists the following features and historical information regarding this fine model:

    CAT 779 TRUCK MODEL by Richard Guhl
    1. Model was built around 1963 in Peoria Illinois.
    2. Built by the Technical Fraternity at CAT for internal promotion to top corporate officers and Board of Directors.
    3. Believe model was built by German craftsman employee for about $10,000. Only one model made.
    4. Model is 1/10th scale.
    5. Model is nearly all metal construction except for the six 9 inch diameter rubber tires (special mold made by Goodyear for these tires) and some internal module components made from wood.
    6. Dimensions and weights:
    Height 15 inches
    Width 18 inches
    Length 34 inches
    Weight 75 pounds
    Color Highway yellow


    Single tires on front axle and duals on rear axle
    Wheels Rotate
    Front wheels steer
    Chassis is supported on springs
    Dump body raises to dump position while rear tailgate automatically opens
    Cab doors hinge open and latch shut
    Steering wheel rotates

    Model Details:

    Fuel tank
    Hydraulic tank
    Electric traction component air cooling intake
    Steering system components
    Rear axle control members
    Hoist cylinder
    Diesel engine and generator modules
    Oil suspension struts, front and rear


    Sales Model -779, Engineering Model - RM233
    Engine - D348 @ 2000 RPM and 960 Horsepower
    Electric Drive
    85 Ton load capacity
    Start of productin date - 10 November 1966
    Start serial number - 45H40
    End of production date - 23 May 1969
    Stop serial number - 45H80
    Total production - 41 units


    Specification sheets available:
    Dated July, 1967
    Dated September 1968
    CAT "BLADE" newspaper dated 5 Nov 1965 announces introduction of 779 OHT
    CAT parts book for 779 truck published July 1968
    Author (Richard Guhl) signed book "Caterpillar Chronicle" published 2000 talks about CAT 779 on pages 77 through 80
    Heavy duty wood carry and storage box has been reworked and repainted

    The "779 Story" written by one who was there (Richard Guhl) is included and reproduced below :


    "It was in the mid -1950's when Caterpillar, in East Peoria, Ill., launched its efforts for the design of a family of off-high-way trucks (OHT). While the work started in the mid-1950's, the first model the 769, with a 35-tonpayload, was not ready for production until January 1963, about eight years later and after several hand-built concepts had been tested and rejected.

    The long delay to first production was due to the fact that many middle and senior level company managers did not want to be involved with the design of a new product line that had an uncertain future. They were traditional Caterpillar men, whose positions in the company were a result of many years of earning their stripes in a firm where experience was the prerequisite to advancement.

    They were talented men, capable and comfortable making decisions for the "meat and potatoes" products for which CAT was the recognized worldwide leader. But they had little time for the added burden of this stepchild. The new off-highway-truck design group was not given needed direction and support by the company.

    Some members of the board of directors recognized that there was a tremendous future in the off-highway-truck business, and that CAT was losing out to others who were making the most of those opportunities. They recognized that trucks were the obvious trend in the mining and construction business, and they were frustrated at the slow pace of progress being made at their company. As time went on, they became very vocal about getting the show on the road, and they were putting pressure on the top administrative officers to that end.

    In 1961, the year of "the great electrical conspiracy," a price-fixing and bid-rigging fiasco, a number of high-level executives lost their jobs at General Electric and became available for top jobs elsewhere. One of those executives was hired by Wabco, Westinghouse Air Brake Company (formerly the R. G. LeTourneau Company), Caterpillar's neighbor across the Illinois River in Peoria. A number of associates came along with that executive, crowding the upper-level managers at Wabco.

    Shortly thereafter, CAT hired the former president of Wabco, and he brought along a solution to the problem of the slow pace of development of the OHT program at his new place of business. As a result, the then president of Caterpillar hired a man from Wabco, who brought along several other engineers, whose group was developing that company's line of off-highway-trucks.

    Since he was hired by the president of Caterpillar, the new man had full rein to run things his way with little interference by other high-level CAT managers, including those in Engineering and the Test and Evaluation Divisions. His assignment was to develop and OHT in the 75-ton capacity range and to include the latest technology. Its model designation was to be the Model 779.

    His philosophy was to build the machine as light as possible (to increase the payload to tare weight ratio), and if Proving Ground and field test experience exposed shortcomings, to work with customers on their job sites to try out the necessary changes and corrections.

    This approach was common among smaller competitors, were often the first hand-built machine had to be sold to keep the company solvent. Customer expectations of the ruggedness and availability for CAT machines are often higher than the competition. But in the case of the 779, testing was not rigorous enough to meet those durability requirements. Nothing was allowed to retard the program schedule.

    At that time, the culture at CAT was that, while it was often not the first to be in production with a new family of vehicles, it proved the worthiness of its machines in its own backyard before selling them, with extended testing and with fixed in place before releasing to production. CAT aimed for having the world's best machines, and as much as possible, proven and ready for the marketplace with excellent availability and supported by unsurpassed service.

    This approach usually resulted in market dominance after a few years of production. Initial vehicle costs were often higher than others, but over the long haul, the CAT machines put a lot more money in the customer's pocket than did those of the competition. That demands a well-organized system of independent check and balances to achieve the best product. The difference in culture began to show.

    The new machine had a CAT designed electric power transmission system, including a generator attached to the rear of the Diesel engine, traction motors located inside the rear axle housing, and the switching gear and component cooling systems. It was intended to challenge what General Electric was selling to the competition. The 779 used the D348 engine, running at 2,000 RPM, set at 960 horsepower and the vehicle had a rated payload capacity of 75 tons.

    Production started on November 10, 1966 with serial No. 45H40 and continued until May 23, 1969 with Serial No. 45H80. Total production was 41 units. The company provided total vehicle support to the customers, including both parts and manpower. The customer was essentially risk-free in this situation, and unless failures caused a loss of production, he was in a very good position.

    After about 2-1/2 years, production was stopped. Major problems with the electric traction system, the main frame and with other high-cost areas resulted in a deteriorating reputation for the vehicle and the inevitable loss of interest by the marketplace. Also, the company could not see light at the end of the tunnel were warranty costs were out of control.

    Sometime later all of the machines that had been shipped to the field were cut up with torches and large expense was incurred in scrapping tooling and new material in the supply pipeline.

    The model of the 779 that is available today has always been understood to have been built by a Caterpillar employee, a German craftsman in Peoria, in or about 1963. This large, one-of-a-kind, hand-built tenth scale model, was rumored to have cost $10,000 at that time, Never before or since was a similar model built of any CAT Off-Highway-Truck. It was built at the direction of those managing the program and was intended to sell the company on their credibility as designers and to promote funding and support by top corporate officials and the board of directors.

    The model was transferred to the Decatur Plant when the design function of that vehicle was moved there in 1966. It served the propose for which it was built, and after many years it was given to the author since he was the senior employee still working in the OHT division who had been involved with the 779 project.

    Meanwhile, the 773 OHT had been designed and introduced at the Decatur plant by the local engineering group. It was a 50-ton capacity mechanical drive machine and fell into a size class between the 769 and the 779.

    Then in May of 1975, the first production 777 OHT was built in Decatur after it had been designed by the engineers at that plant. Also a mechanical drive truck, it was one of the most successful Off-Highway-Trucks ever introduced, with excellent acceptance around the world. It was reliable and tough, it had great design balance and with its good availability, it made a lot of money for a lot of people. Thousands of these machines were built, and updated versions of this model continue in production at Decatur to this day (written in 2002).

    The design of the very successful 777 machine profited from the experience gained, both the successes and the failures of the 779 vehicles. Then too, many internal controls were put in place and strictly adhered to, after the 779 experience, to monitor and review the development and introduction of all new CAT products. These contributions turned out to be the best legacy of the 779 program."

    Well, what an interesting history of CAT's first production Off-Highway-Truck !! Now on to some more of my observations of some of the special details on this truly exceptional huge model truck:


    Very few promotional models exist today that were built by manufacturers in their own shops. Some of the various salesman's sample models might qualify as being made by the manufacturers. The half size Reo car called the "Baby Reo" that Reo built in its own shop's in the early 1900's would definitely qualify as being built by the manufacturer. I can not recall ever seeing or hearing about such a model made by a manufacturer like John Deere, International, Case, Ford, Allis Chalmers, Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, American Motors, etc so please let me know if you are aware of one.

    According to the history listed above, a German tool & die maker spent around 1,000 hours building this model. At 40 hours per week, that would have taken 25 weeks or a half of a year of work time to build. If one assumes that shop time in a large company's shop today costs them around $100 per hour, a model like this might cost at least $100,000 to build today. That estimate is making no allowance for materials which would be insignificant compared to the labor cost anyway. However, that materials cost assumption is ignoring the cost of the mold to make the rubber tires.

    These six 9" tall tires are no amateur job made from soft silicone RTV rubber. They are rather hard with great detail in the lugs and sidewalls and are accurate models of full-sized tires. They have the name "GOOD YEAR" with the famous wingfoot image in the middle of the word "GOODYEAR". They also have the term "HARD ROCK LUG XT" on them as well as the typical Goodyear diamonds on the sidewall where it meets the tread. One could expect to pay at least $20,000 for such a precision rubber mold today. That would put an estimate to build a model like this today at around $120,000.

    As a mechanical engineer and self-taught machinist, there is one special feature of this model that impresses me more than it would most people. Both of the doors on the cab are functional with double hinges and working spring loaded latches. One can give an open door the slightest push and it will close smoothly with a light "click" sound. That feature impresses me almost as much as the fit between the outside of the door and the inside of the cab door opening. That gap is minimal, at about .010" all around, and is very consistent. This type of craftsmanship is typical of the work done by a tool & die maker in a large manufacturing facility.

    The amount of detail on the box is amazing to me. It is kind of like a work of art due to the complexity of reinforcing ribs and perimeter supports. I suspect that box is made up of pieces of sheet steel material to which steel reinforcing ribs were attached. I suspect those ribs were attached using a silver solder process. The seventh photo of this listing shows the back of the box where you can see the linkage that makes the bottom hinged tailgate open and close automatically as the box goes up and down. This is an exceptionally nice detail that took a lot of time and effort to make it work as smoothly as it does.

    The chassis is very detailed with 4 wheel spring suspension accurately simulating the hydraulic suspension used on the full-sized trucks. A hydraulic cylinder at each corner was fed with oil from an accumulator that held a reserve of oil under pressure that was most likely charged with nitrogen gas under high pressure. The bottom view of this model shows some of the detail in the steering system. A center-mounted bell crank actuated by a pair of hydraulic cylinders transmits forces through a pair of tie rods that run to each of the front steering knuckles that support the front wheels.

    The engine in this model is a wooden model of the famous CAT D348 which was a 1,786 cid V-12 with twin turbochargers and after cooling. That engine drove a large electrical generator which is a round feature also made out of wood on this model. Electrical power flowed to a pair of electric traction motors located inside each rear wheel. There was no differential on the 779 as there would have been on almost any mechanically driven truck. The twin electric traction motors on this model are also made out of wood. These motors drove planetary gear reducers in each rear wheel on the full-sized truck.

    The size of the tires on the full-size truck are 21 x 49 which would be a 21" tall and wide section on a 49" diameter rim. They measure 91" tall so that is why the tires on this 1/10 scale model are very close to 9" in diameter. There is a detailed grille that covers the twin radiators that have pusher fans in front of the radiators rather than fans behind the radiators. The last photo in this listing is of a full-size truck and you can see only minor differences between that full-size truck and this exceptionally well-detailed model. The full-size truck has a 220-gallon fuel tank at the rear and a 59-gallon hydraulic oil tank under the box and this model has corresponding tanks as well.

    It is interesting that the cab has windshield wipers and a hot water cab heater with no provision for air conditioning. I know no farm tractors came with factory air conditioning when this model was built so I guess I should not be surprised that this model has no provision for cab air conditioning. The detailed seat has no functioning suspension under it. The engine in the full-size truck is started by using a 24-volt battery pack to make the traction generator motoring the traction generator as a starter.

    I wish the builder had used model hex head screws rather than slotted round head screws but I would never change them out. To do so would be like messing with the Mona Lisa. I am sure the tool and die maker that built this model had no idea of the scale fasteners available to the model engineering crowd back in the early 1960's. As you can see, there are some paint chips in various places on this model. The majority of the paint loss is on the piece of corrugated galvanized sheet metal at the front of the box where the box covers the cab.

    An original CAT parts book that includes wiring diagrams belonged originall to Richar Guhl and is included with this mode. I have tried to establish a chain of ownership since I acquired this model about a year ago.

    The following is what I have been able to determine so far to help provide some provenance for this model:
    1963 built by the Caterpillar Tractor Company's machine shop in Decatur Illinois
    1990 CAT gave to Richard Guhl when he retired
    2002 Richard Guhl consigned to Aumann Auction August 17, 2002
    2002 Aumann Auction sold to collector near the east coast of the USA
    Feb-Mar 2016 displayed at York PA truck show
    January 19, 2017 son of east coast collector delivered to Bob Woodburn in Bozeman Montana
    Jan 20-22, 2017 Bob Woodburn displayed at Great Falls Montana farm toy show

    I have listed this model as being for "local pickup only" because I believe it would be unwise to ship it commercially for fear it might get damaged in shipping. I have plenty of secure storage here if you or a friend are planning a trip to beautiful Montana sometime in the future. I may be able to work out safe and economical delivery of it depending on where you like and how long you can wait to receive it.

    This might be the only chance you will ever have to own this one-of-a-kind model during my lifetime. It is listed here only because I found an exceptionally nice original 1932 vintage automobile that I want to add to my collection. I am also in the process of selling over 20 nice collectible vehicles. If some of them sell in time to buy the other car, I will keep this model in my permanent collection. If that happens I plan to make a base to display this gem on that has 4 rollers, one under each wheel or pair of wheels on this model. Those rollers will be motorized to make the wheels on this model rotate to make it look like it is moving. I made a similar display stand for a John Deere toy combine about 20 years ago and it gets a lot of attention wherever I display it.

    If you have an extensive toy truck collection, promotional model collection, salesman's sample collection or full-size Caterpillar construction equipment collection, you might do well to give some very serious thought to buying this model while you can. Thanks a lot, Bob Woodburn in Bozeman Montana USA
  2. Mike KB-41

    Mike KB-41 KB-972

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    Fav. Driver:
    Kurt Busch!!!
    Forsyth Mo
    Jan 14, 2010
    Wow, that thing is amazing. Tons of detail as well.
    canuck617 likes this.

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