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1954 GMC Aircraft Tug

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  Owned by Dennis Johnson
Beresford, South Dakota

01 September 2008 Update
# 1308

From Dennis:

             Some time back I sent photos of this four door 1953 (1954 on the dash plaque) truck. At the time I did not know what it was, other than what was found on the dash plaque.

             A Stovebolter was kind enough to send me this photo of a complete one. This aircraft tug is at by the Pima Air Museum in Arizona, and is likely put to use now and then.

             Now here is one way to keep from getting rust in the cab .... put it (them) five feet from the ground!

Dennis Johnson

             Dennis also has another interesting 1954 Chevy in the Gallery ~~ Editor

02 December 2005
# 1308

From Dennis:

             It's hard to do things easily ... sometimes. A friend of mine hauled this "pushmepullu" home [ pix ] after finding it in the process of being scrapped. The cutters had lopped off everything except the body [ pix ] , which was then slated for crushing.

             So, now that he had it home ... what is it?

             We checked it out, from end to end, and noted the door stencil that stated "Perkins Co. Civil Defense." But, we failed to read the text on the dash panel, a LARGE plate that said that it was a 1954 GMC Aircraft Tug.

             Duh! The other data on the plate said:

  • WEIGHT - 33,500 POUNDS
  • DATE ISSUED 4-8-54
  • CHASSIS # 160820
  • ENGINE # 362408
  • AF VEH # H-5303

             A description of it is that the factory, whoever that was, took two 1954 cabs and cut the backs off of each. A good splice was made between the two but the top got a piece that can be best described as a "fair fit." The front firewall / cowl has no indent for fenders but perhaps the really large GMC trucks were that way. The rear cowl was modified with some "school bus" type windows fitted to a rounded bustle.

             The seats have an unexpected corduroy covering [ pix ] and the seat fitted for the rear passengers doesn't appear to have ever had a back. And, there is no dash for the rear-facing cab.

             The dash plaque [ pix ] has lots of shifting instructions as well as extra gauges, one being a tachometer. The steering wheel has a horn ring that says "Ross Cam and Lever Steering," something only the really big trucks got.

             I'm trying to imagine driving a 33,500 pound vehicle to Perkins County (northwest South Dakota), from anywhere! And, better yet ... what did they use it for?

             And so, there it sits, waiting for someone to take pity on her, and whisk her away. A place with a roof would be nice, something it may never have known.


Dennis Johnson
Beresford, South Dakota

             Dennis also has another interesting 1954 Chevy in the Gallery ~~ Editor


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