In 1938 Lionel added automatic couplers to the 810 Crane to get the 2810 crane. The crane only has an automatic coupler on one end because the knob that turns the cab would interfere with the automatic mechanism. The 2810 only came in yellow with a red roof.
Two versions were produced – the early version with flat frame, and the more desirable dished frame version. The crane received the dished frame in 1940. Also in 1940, the hook was changed to a die cast hook, (Note: prewar hooks are perpendicular to the string while postwar hooks are parallel to the string.) and the knobs changed from turned to cast knobs. This car was never produced with rubber stamped lettering.