December 30, 2020


Service Motor Car Co.
Kankakee, Illinois (1910-1911)
Wabash, Indiana (1911-1914)
Service Motor Truck Co. (1914-1923)
Service Motors Inc. (1923-1926)
Wabash, Indiana
Relay Motors Corp. (1927-1932)
Lima, Ohio

This is a Service radiator emblem (c1930-1933)    mjs
Size: 91mm wide 56mm high    MM: Unknown

The first Service trucks appeared in 1910 and were high-wheeler delivery models with 22-1/2 hp four-cylinder engines and chain drive. In 1911 Service also built a four-cylinder utility runabout car with double chain drive. The car was discontinued in 1912 by which time the company had relocated to Wabash, Indiana to concentrate on the manufacture of trucks. Service expanded its truck range and by 1917 had conventional trucks in five sizes from 1-ton to 5-ton capacity using worm drive. Service built a number of Liberty trucks for the US Army in the First World War.

In 1920 a light speed truck of 3/4-ton capacity was added to the range. In 1927 the company was acquired by Relay Motors (see Relay) and production transferred to Lima, Ohio, where a new range of Service trucks was introduced. Except for the nameplate these Service trucks were basically the same as Relay trucks and the Commerce and Garford (see Garford Truck) trucks also made by Relay. But the Service truck did not sell well and was discontinued when Relay became bankrupt in 1932.


Like so many other small truck manufacturers, original period photos or illustrations of early models are elusive. I can find no illustrations of early Service trucks showing any emblems or nameplates.

Conventional heavy duty Service trucks from about 1917 displayed the "Service" name in script style cast into the heavy ribbed radiator tank top and also on nameplates mounted on the body side panels below the driver's seat and sometimes on the sides of the radiator. see examples shown below. It is possible that these emblems and nameplates were used on earlier Service trucks but I cannot confirm this.

This is a Service truck showing body side nameplate (c1917) ms

Close-up showing body side & radiator side nameplates (c1917)  

Service truck ad with cast rad emblem & body & rad side nameplates (c1918) ms 

The following photos of a lighter duty Service ambulance built for the US military show only a small "Service" nameplate mounted on the body behind the hood at the entrance to the driver's cab:

Service ambulance with small side nameplate (1918) wiki

Close-up showing location of side nameplate (1918)

The following is a slightly larger Service truck nameplate but similar in design to the above body side nameplate. This Service nameplate is very rare.

This is a Service nameplate (dates uncertain pre-1923)    lktec
Size: 173mm wide 73mm high

The following original factory photo shows a Service truck displaying a "Service" script on the body side under the driver's seat:

Service truck showing body side script (1919)   shorpy

From late 1920 for the 1921 model year and until 1927, Service trucks displayed a clearly visible and distinctive red pyramid mounted on the top of the radiator, see below:

Service truck Red Pyramid on radiator top (1921)  tad burness 

Service Truck ad with Red Pyramid (1920) sep

The Service Motor Truck Company noted in their advertisements that the red Pyramid of Service "stands for enduring service and reliability".

The following illustration from another 1920 Service truck advertisement shows a "Service" nameplate mounted on the rear cross frame member:

Service truck ad showing rear nameplate (1920)  periodpaper

The following is an example of a different Service nameplate. This painted Service nameplate is rare.

This is a Service nameplate (c1920)     lktec
Size: 293mm wide 68mm high

The following Service factory illustration shows a Model 42 truck with the red pyramid on the radiator and new style body side nameplates:

Service Model 42 truck (1924)     autopaper

Close-up showing new body side nameplates (1924) 

The following Service truck nameplate was used 1923-1926. This Service nameplate is rare.

This is a Service truck nameplate (1923-1926)    mjs
Size: 83mm high 80mm wide

The following illustration of a 1928 Service truck built when Service was part of Relay Motors, appears to have a "SERVICE" script radiator emblem impressed into the aluminum radiator tank top:

Service truck showing the radiator emblem impressed into the radiator top (1928)  tad burness

From about 1930 until the end of Service truck production in 1932, Service trucks carried an oval shaped radiator emblem, which incorporated the red pyramid. This Service emblem is the red, blue and white enamel Service radiator emblem shown above at the top of this post and again below. This Service radiator emblem is very rare.

This is a Service radiator emblem (1930-1932)    mjs
Size: 91mm wide 56mm high   MM: Unknown

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