1943 GMC 2.5-Ton Truck
February 2004 Update
Hello. I am a 33 year-old man (boy) from Oslo, NORWAY. I happened to see your site about old GM's, and would like to write some words about my trucks. I have a 1937 3/4-ton Chevy, 1946/47 2-ton Chevy and this 1943 2.5-ton GMC Wartruck from WWII.
The '43-GMC 2.5-ton is from the Norwegian Military which used these trucks until recently. That tells a little about the rigid construction. This spectacular truck was retired in the middle of the '80's but is still running good. The only thing that keeps me not driving too much with the GMC or "GEMS," is the fuel cost. Here in Norway, we pay about $5 a gallon!
The photo actually shows two vehicles. The canvas model (one on the right) is mine. It runs good, but uses a lot of fuel!
The '43 GMC cckw was bought from a guy who had bought it in a military auction in the mid '80's. The Norwegian military had thousands of these trucks in service from WWII and 'til the early 90's. The trucks came to Norway as a part of the Marshall Plan to help Europe after the war, together with a lot of Dodge 3/4-ton's, Jeep's and Ward la France.
From the mid 80's and 'til today, all these vehicles were sold at military auctions, often for a very cheap price. Many of the vehicles had only been driven a few thousand miles since new! A lot of the GMC's which came to Norway had been doing service in the war and were overhauled before being shipped to different European countries.
My truck was overhauled in London, England in '52. The truck is a GMC CCKW 353 (long wheelbase, 352 short wheelbase), and is a canvas type. My friends and I call it "The Budmobile" as you need the cargo capacity to get enough Budweiser to get drunk (bad joke). It has a 4.5-metric ton winch in the front bumper and an all-steel bed. Some had wood in the bottom of the bed.
The engine is a 270cid inline six which develops 103 horsepower at 3200 rpm. The power goes thru a 5-speed transmission (the 5th is an overdrive) thru a transfer case to all three axles. The transfer has low and high positions and the front axle can be coupled in and out. The rear axles are built in a boogie.
Top allowable speed is 45m/h (governor on the engine). Tire size is 7.50X20 Army design. The GMC engine is of, excuse me, better design than the Chevy. (No argument there, Nils! ~~ Editor) It has a high pressure oil-system and also an oil filter. It also has insert bearings throughout.
To defend the Chevy engine, it has to be said that this engine was developed to "get a six for a price of four" as was the slogan in the war against Ford in the late '20's.
Well, back to my Budmobile. Bad brakes seems to follow me, so I had to renew them on all axles which cost a lot. One thing is for sure, the brakes are so effective that if you really step on the pedal, you lock the wheels even fully loaded.
The Budmobile is stored away now but in the spring when the weather gets warmer, I have planned to get it a new paint job. I also have to make a new canvas top as the old one has been destroyed by the sun.
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