January 2005 Featured Item

 1930 Anheuser-Busch "Bevo Boat"

 Budweiser II - Land Cruiser

 

St. Louis 2004 Exposition's Budweiser II Land Cruiser.

 

During Prohibition the brewing giant Anheuser-Busch of St. Louis, Missouri manufactured a series of outstanding promotional automobiles.  From the 1920's through early 1930's, the Anheuser-Busch Vehicle Department produced eight inboard styled cruisers on automobile chassis.  Four versions of the unusual automobiles were created.  The original "Bevo Boat," named after A-Bís non alcoholic beer, the Budweiser, Budweiser II and lastly the Budweiser III. These cars were set up with the finest appointments available.  Luxury all the way; detailed with leather upholstery, thick carpets, fine woods, and radio equipped.  Step plates on either side allowed entry into the door-less vehicles.  A large cannon adorned the bow as well as two operating cannons mounted on both rear fenders. An aft mounted flag staff along with anchors on the bow and the bumpers added a nautical feel to these once called "Land Cruisers."  The peculiar vehicles roamed the country advertising Anheuser Busch products and would be seen at sporting events, automobile races and various public events. A-B also loaned the earliest land cruisers to the United States Government during World War I for recruiting purposes and to help promote the sales of war bonds.

Jimmy Carroll Jr., sales manager of the brewery division at Anheuser-Busch, purchased the car upon his retirement. Mr. Carroll moved to Arkansas along with the vehicle.  Then in the late 1960ís classic car collector, James Pearson, who is widely known for his Cadillac collection, encountered this rugged looking land cruiser (image below).  He towed the car back to Kansas City and added it to his collection.  At the time, the Land Cruiser was sitting on a Cadillac V-12 Sport Phaeton chassis, complete with a V-12 engine. 

In 1990 Fred and David WeberJr., the premier classic car collectors of St. Louis MO, acquired the automobile and began the extensive restoration. The Webers believed this vehicle was originally built on a Pierce-Arrow chassis. No one is sure who made the change to the Cadillac V-12 chassis or when it happened.  During the restoration it was outfitted with a 1930 V-8 Cadillac chassis. Marc Ohm managed the restoration work on the Budweiser II with the help of six to eight craftsmen.  In all, more than 2,000 man hours were necessary to finish the job. 

Saint Louis 2004 Exposition directed by Greg R. Rhomberg recently acquired the Budweiser II Land Cruiser. It is believed that this is the only remaining Land Cruiser from the original fleet.  The Land Cruiser has been pressed into service once again. Turning heads and exciting crowds, this vehicle has been used in several public displays and events to date. The Budweiser II is now currently on display at Antique Warehouse.

 

Bevo Boat, Budweiser II - Land Cruiser

The Land Cruiser as it was found in Arkansas c. 1960.

 

Bevo Boat, Budweiser II - Land Cruiser

The Budweiser II at Tower Grove Park, St. Louis, MO.  c. 1931.

 

Bevo Boat, Budweiser III - Land Cruiser

The Budweiser III, one of several variations produced by Anheuser-Busch.

Anheuser-Busch bottling plant, with Bevo Boat in foreground

A postcard by Anheuser-Busch depicting their St. Louis bottling plant, notice the Land Cruiser in the bottom right portion of the drawing.

 

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Bevo Boat, Budweiser II - Land Cruiser

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