May 08, 2018


Kleiber & Co.

Kleiber Motor Truck Co.

Kleiber Motor Co.

San Francisco, California (1914-1937)

This is a Kleiber truck radiator emblem (c1927-1930)      mjs
Size: 94mm wide 40mm high     MM: None

Paul Kleiber was a successful manufacturer of horse drawn wagons but, having acquired the Gramm truck distributorship in the early 1900's, he announced in December 1913 his plan to build his own motor trucks. Kleiber organized the Kleiber Motor Truck Company and in 1914 began manufacturing his first motor trucks. A large new truck manufacturing factory was built in San Francisco in 1916 and later there was also a Kleiber factory in Los Angeles.

Kleiber produced a conventional range of assembled trucks from 1-1/2-ton to 5-ton capacity using four-cylinder engines. Six-cylinder models were offered by the mid-1920's and by the end of the 1920's the range had expanded to cover 1/2-ton to 10-ton capacity trucks.  

In 1924 Kleiber decided to add passenger cars to the production line and a new plant was built in San Francisco for their manufacture (see Kleiber). But Kleiber cars were not as successful as the Kleiber truck and  production of Kleiber passenger cars was discontinued following the stock market crash of 1929.

In 1928, Kleiber introduced four-wheel hydraulic brakes and, by that time, a range of ten different Kleiber trucks was available. The first six-wheeled Kleiber trucks were introduced in 1930 and diesel engines began to be installed from 1932. 

In the early 1930's Kleiber acquired the Studebaker franchise for San Francisco, which was a very profitable business, and from then until 1937 production of Kleiber trucks was a matter of fitting in the occasional unit to custom order between Studebaker sales and servicing. Kleiber truck production ceased in 1937.


The first Kleiber trucks displayed the "Kleiber" name embossed in the radiator tank top, see example below:

This is a Kleiber truck (1918)     hatm

This is a close up showing the embossed Kleiber radiator emblem (1918)    hatm

This type of radiator emblem continued to be used on Kleiber commercial vehicles until the late 1920's, see example shown below:

This is a Kleiber truck embossed radiator emblem (1927)     hmsj

The Kleiber passenger cars built from 1924 to 1929 used radiator emblems finished in enamel and a similar enamel radiator emblem with the caption "Made in California" was made for use on some Kleiber commercial vehicles, see photo above at the top of this post. This radiator emblem was used  from about 1926 to about 1930 and is very rare. 

In the mid-1930's some Kleiber trucks displayed Kleiber nameplates on the sides of the hood and sometimes also on the top of the radiator, see example shown below:

Kleiber stake truck with hood side and radiator nameplates (1930's)   george murphey

Close up showing the radiator and hood side nameplates (1930'3)

The photo above is not sharp enough to make out the full detail of the Kleiber nameplates but these are believed to be similar to the painted Kleiber nameplate shown below. This Kleiber nameplate is very rare.

This is a Kleiber hood side nameplate (1930's)      lktec
Size: 228mm wide 60mm high    

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