Ed & Barb Joyce's 1928 Graham Bros. "Canopy Express" . . .


Ed Joyce sent this history of his vehicle (Feb. 3, 2011):

Our 1928 Graham Brothers three-quarter-ton truck was purchased new by an individual named John Biery.  He used it at Ridgelawn Cemetery in Mount Troy, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, for about 30 years.  Biery passed the truck on to his son, John II, and it sat in various garages until the early Seventies when a restoration was begun.  It was in running condition at the time, as a grandaughter remembers riding in the back.  The restoration was never finished due to John II's failing health.

I met the grandson of the original owner, John III, at a small car show near our home east of Pittsburgh in the summer of 2003.  He was admiring our other antique truck, a fully restored 1936 Dodge one-and-a-half-ton dump truck.  The grandson offered the Graham to me, if I wanted another restoration project.

That sounded interesting, so in July I went to look at it at a repair shop operated by John III's brother in Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania.  It sat partially disassembled alongside several modern foreign sports cars. It hadn't been moved since 1984.  Many customers of the shop told me of seeing the truck covered in dust when they took their cars in for service.  Although the family didn't care to finish the restoration started by John II, they were in agreement to sell it and all the parts he had accumulated only to a buyer who would complete the project.

While the Dodge dump truck is kind of my domain, my wife claimed the Graham and we bought it in November of 2003.  We had the disassembled vehicle flatbedded home and followed up with two trips in our pickup to move all of the loose parts.


This was the oldest vehicle we had ever restored.  Because everything was included that we would need for an accurate frame-off restoration we set that as our objective.  At some point in the truck's history, the Bierys removed the original wooden top and closed off the cab behind the driver's seat with an old wooden Ridgelawn Cemetery (Pittsburgh) sign.  So the vehicle took on the profile of a pickup.  After we got the engine running, and the wood roof and most of the painting was done, we moved from Pennsylvania to Port St. Lucie.  That was in May of 2005.  The rest of the painting, final assembly, covering of the roof, and hanging the side curtains was completed by the end of 2006.  We received our Junior and Senior Award with AACA prior to receiving an award at the Grand National AACA show in Hershey, Pennsylvania, in 2008.  As two amateur restorers, my wife Barb and I take pride in what we have achieved.  We did everything except seat upholstery and engine machining.  Other vehicles we have completely restored: 1946 Dodge pickup, 1938 DeSoto two-door sedan, 1948 Reo Speedwagon flatbed, 1969 International Transtar tandem axle flatbed, 1957 Chevy pickup, and a 1936 Dodge LE31 one-and-a-half ton dump truck. The '36 Dodge dump truck is the only one of these that I still have and it is for sale.

It was always a dream of mine to enter the Grand National show.  Taking the truck north in 2008, we went first to Pittsburgh to visit John Biery II and show off his old Graham.  He was in a nursing home by then, getting around in a motorized wheelchair.  We unloaded the truck and he seemed so happy to see it!  His son, John III, drove the three hours to Hershey to see his family heirloom on display in the show.  And the daughter who fondly remembered her childhood rides in the back also showed up with her family from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  John II passed away in December 2009 but we were glad he had seen his father's truck up and running.

We have met a lot of friends thru this vehicle and continue to enjoy displaying it every chance we get.