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1958 GMC 550 Wrecker

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  Owned by Tom Petroff
Bolter # 13542
Fairview Height, Illinois
05 January 2009
# 2499

From Tom (Junior) :

This is Dad's writing on his 1958 GMC 550 Wrecker.

The History of this GMC Task Force truck is not only unique, but it was a challenge.

In the later part of 1956, I purchased a wrecked (total Loss) 1956 GMC 550 road tractor. I bought it site unseen, but was told of its condition.

Since there wasn't much left to repair, I was interested in the drivetrain, (heavy duty, electric two speed rear axle assembly, a five speed Clark Overdrive Transmission and the largest six cylinder gas engine that was available for that chassis).

I intended to build this truck for mounting a "Holmes" wrecker and body assembly. Dismantling began in January 1957, and a parts list was prepared for ordering.

The chassis with a cab to axle (CA) dimension to accommodate the wrecker body, along with the length to accommodate a V8 engine was ordered from the Parts Department of the GMC Dealer in St Louis. We also ordered the Deluxe Five Window cab, wiring looms and front axle. The leaf springs, "U" Bolts and related hardware were ordered from the Champ Spring Company in St Louis. Some wheels, brakes and the 10:00 X 20 tires and tubes were ordered from our Tractor Supply Company and the local tire warehouse.

As the parts arrived, assembly began. It was a big day when the chassis was lifted off the safety stands and lowered to the floor on its tires.

The engine chosen was an Oldsmobile "Rocket 88" which proved to have excellent performance. The remaining front clip components (radiator, grille, hood, bumper, fenders and running boards) were ordered from the dealer. The saddle tanks were ordered from our local Truck Equipment Supply Company.

After assembly was complete, the Holmes 525 Wrecker assembly was installed and the entire unit was painted two-tone (Dupont Mexico Red and Medium Cream). It was completed in May 1958. With it all said and done, when on the road, I don't hesitate to say, "It's not SCARED!"

Note: This truck is still in the family and has recently been painted white.

Respectfully submitted,

Tom Sr.

Wow, great write-up (great memory!).

Tom has some so cool trucks in his "collection" ... a 1958 GMC 550 Wrecker (actually Tom's Dad's truck); a 1964 Chevy C80 Tandum Dump Truck; a 1947 Dodge WDX Power Wagon (not a Gallery page, but a cool pix and one of his toys (drool); a 1977 Chevy K 30 (not a Gallery addition, but some info about the truck in with his '64). Check out his web site, too. He's got some fun stuff there, too. ~ Editor


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