Frozen 1945 Studebaker US6 Truck Comes Back to Life, Handles Snow Like a Champ

When it comes to 6x6 military trucks from World War II, the GMC CCKW is arguably the most iconic rig we can think of. But Studebaker also built a 6x6 hauler around the same time, and it's just as cool as its more popular GMC sibling.
1945 Studebaker US6 9 photos
Photo: BackyardAlaskan/YouTube
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While built by different companies, the CCKW and the Studebaker US6 have quite a few things in common. They look about the same, they both rely on inline-six engines, and they're pretty much unstoppable in mud and snow. And both were introduced in 1941 and built until 1945, toward the end of World War II.

The CCKW was notably more popular than the US6. While the latter was built in around 220,000 units, GMC delivered more than a half-million trucks to the U.S. Army and its partners. Most of these trucks were operated in North America and on the Western Front, whereas the Studebaker US6 was exported under the Lend-Lease policy.

Many of them were sent to the Soviet Union, where they were used to haul everything from artillery pieces and anti-tank guns to troops on the Eastern front. The truck became renowned for its ruggedness and reliability, and legend has it Joseph Stalin himself sent a letter of appreciation to Studebaker.

But not all US6s spent their early service years in Eastern Europe. The U.S. military also kept a few trucks, but they never made it on the Western front like the CCKW. Instead, these haulers were deployed for construction purposes, especially in Alaska.

Come 2022, the US6 is a rare gem on North American soil. Much rarer than the GMC CCKW. And most of the trucks that survived decades of neglect are in really bad shape and haven't been driven for years. The 1945 example you see here is one of the lucky ones.

Featured by "BackyardAlaskan," this hauler is one of those US6s that were used to build the Alaska Highway. Its more recent history is unknown, but now it's part of a larger collection of classic and derelict trucks. And unlike many WWII rigs out there, it still runs and drives. Even when it spent weeks in the freezing cold, all covered in snow.

Cold starts are tricky when it comes to engines that date back to the 1940s, but some hot coal under the oil pan got the 320-cubic-inch (5.2-liter) Hercules inline-six to fire up on the second attempt. And that's pretty amazing, as is the fact that it still has enough oomph to take the US6 for a spin in the snow.

Yes, the old Studebaker is anything but fast, but it still handles rough terrain covered in thick snow like a champ. Just like it did when it left the factory almost 80 years ago. It might be just me, but it's kinda mesmerizing to see an old WWII truck strolling through a frozen landscape. Hit the play button below to see it in action.

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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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