Though wooden coach building was supposed to go the way of the buggy whip, J. Wilson Stage Coaches has a healthy business building hickory buckboards, Roman chariots, stagecoaches, with clientele that includes Wells Fargo Bank and director Quentin Tarantino.
Among the offerings of J.Wilson is a $4,000 buckboard wagon.
"This was the ranchers pick-up," explains Jimmy Wilson, who runs the business. The body is made of hickory; the seats are made from red oak. Buckboard options include a wood dash, roller bearing hubs, steel rim wood wheels, and removable seat tool boxes built under seats.
Wells Fargo Bank is famously identified with its stagecoach logo, hearkening back to a time in the 19th century when its express services moved currency, gold, and passengers across the U.S. and its Western Territories. The logo derives from the sturdy Concord stagecoaches, crafted by the Abbot-Downing Company of Concord, NH.
Wilson's J.Wilson Stagecoach has been involved in building horse drawn vehicles for more than 40 years, after taking over his father-in-law's business, J. Brown Stagecoaches. So Wells Fargo Bank naturally turned to Wilson to help supply and maintain its exiting fleet of 40 stagecoaches - 16 of them originals, the other 24 replicas built by Wilson's company.
Anyone can buy a generic version of the Concord coach - for $60,000. It is custom built with #1 Ash wood frame and running gear - brightly painted yellow in the Wells Fargo version - over which a body of fiberglass is poured.
"With the fiberglass body there are no joints to crack and it it more durable than the wooden body coaches," says Wilson. It is copied from the Abbot-Downing Co. nine passenger Concord Stagecoach.
"We have many years of research and great attention to detail that goes into each of our coaches," Wilson says.
Wells Fargo stagecoaches provided speedy service across a vast territory in the nineteenth century. The (Butterfield) Overland route stretched to the Pacific starting in 1858. The coaches' suspension system made for the most comfortable ride available at the time. The arrival of the transcontinental railroad signaled the end of Wells Fargo's transportation network, but it was a slow demise.
From 1866-69, Wells Fargo still operated the major overland stagecoach routes west of the Missouri River, covering 2,500 miles of territory from California to Nebraska, Arizona to Idaho. Skilled drivers guided coaches pulled by teams of four or six horses, at an average speed of five miles per hour. There were stops every twelve miles to change horses, and about every forty-five miles to allow driver and passengers to eat a quick meal.
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