Gow Litzenburger was a busy guy in high school; when he wasn’t in class he was restoring a junked 1939 Chevy pickup and starting a landscaping business in Harbor Springs, Mich. Little did he know that 30 years later, the truck would belong to a fleet of vintage vehicles used by a company that employs 13 people year-round and 60 in summer.
At last count, Litzenburger Landscape had 36 trucks—all of them vintage and lovingly restored. The fleet includes trucks built between 1934 and 2001; a few are from Mack but most are GM or Chevy. The bodies and frames are more or less original but mechanical parts such as engines and transmissions have been replaced with modern components. In most cases, power steering, power brakes, and hydraulics were added. And of course all of the trucks are painted the company colors—green with white accents.
To keep track of the vehicles, Litzenburger gives each a name, which is painted on back and represented by images on the front fenders. Among the many trucks used in the business are Yosemite Sam, Bulldog, Lady Liberty, and Pinocchio.
Having a fleet of distinctive trucks sets the company apart from the competition, but that’s not why Litzenburger began using vintage vehicles; he used them at first because that’s what he had. His original 1939 Chevy pickup (“Mule”) was restored to factory condition and people couldn’t believe it when they saw him throw a wheel barrow and tools in the bed. But it was a work truck and had to earn its keep—the same as the rest of the trucks in Litzenburger’s fleet. “Mule” has since been rebuilt and repainted a couple of times.
Click on the slideshow to see some of the individual vehicles in Litzenburger’s fleet. Be sure to read the captions, as they explain what the vehicles are.