February 22, 2023


Master Trucks Inc.
Master Motors Corp.
Master Motor Truck Co.
Chicago, Illinois (1917-1929)

This is a Speed Master truck radiator emblem (1924-c1929)  mjs
Size: 108mm wide 54mm high    MM: Unknown

Master Trucks Incorporated was based in Chicago, Illinois and began truck production in 1917.  Master truck advertisements in 1917 show 2-ton, 3-1/2-ton and 5-ton trucks and a 6-ton truck tractor. By 1918, the Master truck line consisted of a 2-ton capacity Master Model M, a longer wheelbase 2-ton capacity Master Model O and a 6- to 10-ton capacity Master Model T truck tractor designed to tow an articulated trailer. All Master models were powered by 28.9 hp four-cylinder Buda engines.
By 1919, Master truck advertised a line of eleven models from 1-1/2-ton to 6-ton capacity, this line included the Master Junior series of trucks, which appeared after the First World War. From 1921 to 1924 two models of bus chassis, for 21- and 29-passengers, were also offered. Master trucks survived the post war recession and developed a revised model line after reorganizing as the Master Motor Truck Company.

A 1-1/4-ton capacity truck was introduced in 1924 and was referred to in advertisements as a 3/4-ton to 1-1/4-ton Master Speed Truck or Speed Wagon. By 1925, the Master truck line consisted of the 1-1/4-ton Master Model 11 truck powered by a 22.5 hp Buda engine, the 1-1/2-ton Master Model 21 truck powered by a 25.6 hp Buda engine, the 2-1/2-ton Master Model 41 truck powered by a 28.9 hp Buda engine, the 3-1/2-ton Master Model 51 and 5-ton Model 61 trucks both powered by a 32.4 hp Buda engine, and the 6-ton Master Model 64 powered by a 36.1 hp Buda engine. Some later Master truck models had Jackson engines.

The Master truck was finished just before the stock market crash of 1929.


Most Master trucks were heavy duty units and had a cast iron radiator with a heavily ribbed tank top, as seen in the following illustrations:

Master truck advertisement (1917)   ma

Master truck detail from advertisement showing the radiator (1917)

The Master radiator emblem was cast into the ribbed radiator tank top and painted, see close-up example shown below:

Master heavy duty cast-in radiator emblem (1917-1929)  moroz

The "Master" name was also displayed on hood side nameplates, see the following Master truck illustration:

Master truck showing radiator emblem & hood side nameplate (c1920)   ccj

The following photo shows a surviving Master Junior truck, which displays a special "Master Junior" cast in radiator tank top emblem:

Master Junior truck (c1919)    hatm

Close-up showing rad emblem & hood side nameplate (c1919)

The Master truck hood side nameplate is clearly seen to be curved to fit the rounded profile of the hood, see example of the brass Master hood side nameplate shown below, which was originally painted. This Master hood side nameplate is rare.

This is a Master truck hood side nameplate (1917-c1929)   lktec
Size: 268mm wide 74mm high

The Speed Master truck introduced in 1924 is believed to have had a conventional radiator shell, which carried an oval shaped radiator emblem. This is the blue and white enamel Speed Master radiator emblem shown above at the top of this post and again below. The small holes are not original. This Speed Master radiator emblem is very rare.

This is a Speed Master truck radiator emblem (1924-c1929)   mjs
Size: 108mm wide 54mm high     MM: Unknown

The following is a Master Trucks Speed Master hubcap:

This is a Master Speed Truck hubcap (c1924)   dkc

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