Well, If It Isn’t The 1936 Labatt Streamliner…



Yes, it’s a sketchy-quality photograph of a blurry photograph, but when it caught my eye I immediately lusted after it like the Germans lusted after lebensraum in the 1930’s, even though I had absolutely no clue what it was. After a bit of Googley research, I found that, somewhat fittingly, it was a French-Russian designer by the name of Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky who penned the ‘36 Labatt Streamliner.

More early 20th century Canadian automotive trivia is below.


Screen shot 2009-12-12 at 12.28.03 PM

According to Labatt:

The tractor chassis was produced by the White Motor Company of Canada Ltd. Smith Bros. Motor Body Works of Toronto crafted the bodies from hardwood and aluminum paneling. The need of the day was for an efficient and highly recognizable truck to deliver Labatt beer – and that is exactly what the Streamliners accomplished.

Labatt Streamliners brought a dramatic aerodynamic design to roads that were filled with square, drab trucks. They also gave Labatt an instant identity with their bright burst of red colour and gold graphics.

The second Streamliner model, produced in 1936, was bolder in its look, winning the “Best Design” award at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. Labatt and The White Motor Company were well aware that this truck had the makings of a legend.  A third design  was commissioned by John and Hugh Labatt, a design  that would see even more sweeping curves added  to the roof of the tractor and a long tail fin added  to the trailer.

World War II interrupted the commercial production of trucks and it was 1947 before Labatt began receiving the regular delivery of Streamliner trucks. Even then, 15 years after they first appeared, Labatt Streamliners were a unique sight on Ontario’s roads. They provided the company with a powerful and instant identity – an identity that also received worldwide attention in trucking magazines.

[Labatt Streamliner, Photo credit: author]