Frozen 1943 GMC CCKW Comes Back to Life, Handles Snow Like a Champ

1943 GMC CCKW 9 photos
Photo: BackyardAlaskan/YouTube
When it comes to WW2 trucks, no American rig is more famous than the GMC CCKW. Built from 1941 to 1945 in more than a half-million units, this 2.5-ton 6x6 hauler saw heavy service in World War 2 and the Korean War (1950-1953). Although many of these trucks were destroyed in battle, some CCKWs are still alive and kicking more than 80 years later.
Sure, it's not the kind of rig you'll see on public roads very often. Fully restored CCKWs that get paraded at car events are rarer than hen's teeth. Most survivors spend their retirement years away from public eyes, taking occasional drives while waiting for much-deserved restorations. This 1943 example is one of them.

Part of a massive collection of vintage trucks, this GMC shares the same yard with other famous World War 2 rigs, including Studebaker US6 and Chevrolet G506 trucks. The said stash is in Alaska, so the CCKW must cope with long and harsh winters. But even though it looks like it came out of a barn, this GMC still runs and drives. And needless to say, the low temperatures and the massive amount of snow aren't an issue for this WW2 relic.

Although the CCKW won't get you anywhere in a hurry, the old inline-six is potent enough to move the 8,800-pound (3,992-kg) truck over snowy and rough terrain with ease. And there's something mesmerizing about seeing an unrestored CCKW strolling around like it's nobody's business.

If you're unfamiliar with this truck, it was designed by Yellow Truck and Coach Co. and built by Yellow, GMC, and Chevrolet. The name CCKW comes from the GMC nomenclature and stands for: designed in 1941 (C), conventional cab (C), all-wheel drive (K), and dual rear axles (W). The truck is also known as the G-508 by its Ordinance Supply Catalog number, and it's nicknamed "Jimmy."

With some 572,000 units built, the CCKW made up almost a quarter of the trucks bought by the US Army between 1939 and 1945. It was by far the most popular 2.5-ton truck and the second most-produced WW2 vehicle after the Willys MB jeep.

The CCKW formed the backbone of the famed Red Ball Express truck convoy system that supplied Allied forces in Europe. Established after the Normandy Invasion, the convoy operated nearly 6,000 vehicles at its peak, carrying around 12,500 tons of supplies daily. The Red Ball Express ran for 83 days.

The CCKW remained in active US service for many years after WW2. Many trucks were deployed in Korea, and various departments used some of them until the mid-1960s. The CCKW was replaced by the M35. All CCKWs were powered by a GMC-built 270-cubic-inch (4.4-liter) inline-six. The powerplant delivered 91 or 104 horsepower.

But that's enough history for today. Now hit the play button below to watch this 81-year-old truck tackle the Alaskan snow.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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