Re: Hills Brothers Coffee Car


Richard Hendrickson
 

I know I am going to regret this and will probably end up tossing it in my
pile of things that I chop up and use for other projects. But I couldn't
resist it.

The car is a Train-Miniature Hills Brothers Coffee Car, HBCX #161. Other
data indicates Blt 3-30 and N&W 3-32 I think. There is no date on the box
or instructions but it appears to be 20-30 years old.


First question is on authenticity. I recalled seeing that Micro- trains had
one of these in n-scale. I would guess there must be some basis for this
car. Does anyone have any information they would like to share?

Second question is on Viability of the project. So far the only things
obviously other worth saving are the large decal, the rather decent paint
and the body structure. Does someone make a decal out there. If I want this
car as a detailing/rebuild project. Would it be better to start over from
scratch?
Uh, Nick, are you sure you want to go there? For some obscure reason,
Hills Brothers of San Francisco owned two box cars numbered 161 and 162
which were stenciled that they were built in 1930 but look like they were
built earlier (so 1930 may have been a rebuilding date). They lasted less
than ten years and were gone from the 1/40 ORER. In my 1933 ORER, their
reporting marks were HBKX, but later they were apparently changed to HBCX.
Ca. 1937 Will Whittaker photographed HBCX 161 on the San Francisco
waterfront, and your model is probably based on that photo. I have a print
of the photo and could send you a scan, but -

(1) These cars could not have operated in interchange, and probably were
just used for short hauls around San Francisco, as the car in the photo had
not been reweighed since 3-30, and -

(2) The T-M model can't really be converted into an accurate replica of the
prototype because, aside from numerous other problems, the Hills Bros. cars
were 9'8" IH, thus considerably taller than the T-M model.

FWIW, the prototype cars were double wood sheathed with wood body framing
and had 4-4 inverse Dreadnaught ends, metal sheathed roofs with flat seam
battens, wood doors, fishbelly steel center sills, and ARA trucks with
spring planks and Barber lateral motion devices.

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520

Join main@RealSTMFC.groups.io to automatically receive all group messages.