You Can Go Truckin’ in Bear’s Choice
Grateful “Dred” – Owsley’s Psychedelic Studebaker Grateful Dead Truck Found, Auctioned

You probably can’t buy Furthur, either the original 1939 International Harvester school bus used by Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters (whose rusted hulk Kesey’s family still owns and was supposedly starting its restoration in 2006) or the ersatz second one that wasn’t really donated to the Smithsonian, but if you’re a Deadhead who’s also a gearhead, you can now buy the psychedelically painted 1954 Studebaker truck that famed LSD chemist and early Grateful Dead patron Owsley Stanley III, aka “Bear”, used to haul the band’s gear to their gigs in the 1960s. Owsley starting volunteering as the band’s soundman in 1966, which means it was active during 1967’s “summer of love”. It’s not known who the artist was who gave the Stude truck its now fading paint job, and Owsley isn’t talking, having died in a car accident last year at the age of 76. The truck, known to the band and its fans as “The Dred”, is unquestionably a cultural artifact, sure to be appreciated by just about any Deadead, gearhead or not. The barn find was discovered by San Francisco art dealer Steve Cabella, who set up for the model 2R15 Studebaker truck. Cabella has listed it for sale at Hemmings.

Description, more video and photo gallery after the jump.


1954 Studebaker The Grateful Dead’s Band Truck from 1966.

The Grateful Dead’s Truck from 1966, originally known to deadheads as “ The Dred. ”

A TRUE BARN FIND! This historic counter-culture Studebaker one-ton truck was recently rediscovered in storage where it had rested for decades, wearing its original hippy inspired paint job…Originally used, starting in 1966, as the band’s first truck used to move the early band equipment for the Grateful Dead rock group, this iconic vehicle has been revived and is currently on a journey of rediscovery.

Starting in early 1966, this 1949 one-ton Studebaker truck was purchased and used by the new counter culture celebrity owner – Owsley Stanley , aka the “Bear”, to move the Grateful Dead’s sound equipment to various band gigs in the San Fransisco Bay Area, from the mid 1960s to the early 1970s. Among other journeys into the rock and roll history of the Grateful Dead, Owsley also used his truck to move the Grateful Dead down to L.A. for their first major recording gig and for the appearance of the Dead at the infamous Acid Tests in L.A in mid 1966.

“ The Dred ” soundtruck truck was given the name in 1966 by Owsley Stanley, the early and noted LSD chemist who, among his other 1960s contributions, he was also the the primary designer of the famous ‘wall of sound system’ for the Dead. Owsley Stanley was the owner of this truck in 1966 and as their first manager and soundman, he personally used this truck during the Summer of Love to help move the psychedelic sound around the west coast…

Originally painted factory red when bought second-hand by stanley…until a friend of Owsley’s painted the body in a soft psychedelic manner, using the original red color as part of the designs color palette, which are in the loose style of the early Acid Tests posters

more about The Dred….   Think about the song “Truckin..” by the Grateful Dead

Like all of the vehicles in the original Grateful Dead caravan, this vehicle has a name familiar to early Deadheads. The Dred was given it’s name by Owsley Stanley shortly after his purchase of this truck in 1966. According to Owsley, the name “Dred” came from a character in an old Dr. Marvel comic book from the 1950’s.

if you remember the “Dred’, drop us a line and share your memories….

Name: The Dred
Age: the 1960’s
Color: originally red from the factory..repainted in the 1960’s! it still sports that original arty paint job, incorporating some of the original red paint…

Favorite Quotes about the truck’s history:
“this is a piece of the 1960’s rolling revolution….” w.clark.

“As culurally important as the Janis Joplin vintage Porsche!”

“Truckin..” by the Grateful Dead!  

The Grateful Dead Exhibition opens at the Rock n Roll Museum in April! This is surely the biggest and oldest artifact from the band, that you will ever see. 

This vehical has not been altered from when it was put in storage and remains a 100% original to the period from which it came. A very rare moment in the history of celebrity automotive Art Cars, it been authenticated by Owesley shortly before he passed away last year.

Please feel free to contact us for more information, we will be accepting the best offer we recieve from a serious museum or collector. For more information about the history of this truck, vist it’s website at

This entry was posted in Auctions, Automotive Art, Automotive History, Studebaker and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply