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What Am I for Monday 1/02/12
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By Jeff Lakaszcyck - Sunday, January 01, 2012 3:33 PM
This is a very interesting military truck. Emblems removed.
By ppsyclone - Sunday, January 01, 2012 3:35 PM
Ward LaFrance
By Bill White - Sunday, January 01, 2012 3:39 PM
Ward La France
By Jack Amaral - Sunday, January 01, 2012 3:53 PM
By Don MacKenzie - Sunday, January 01, 2012 4:40 PM
One more time; WARD LA FRANCE 6 Ton.
By tamangel - Sunday, January 01, 2012 4:54 PM
2nd 'one more time'  Ward LaFrance

Mike W

By Tatra - Monday, January 02, 2012 2:09 AM
I don't think it's a W-L, cab's wrong, hood sides are wrong.... Even if this were a ptototype, why use a competitor's cab?


By clyde318 - Monday, January 02, 2012 3:24 AM
Hope everyone had a safe,Happy New Year. FINALLY a motorhome trip with NO issues!!!  As to the truck,I'm with Tatra. The cab looks more GMC to me.
By chocko - Monday, January 02, 2012 5:22 AM
GMC cab on ? chassis. Joe D.
By Gordon_M - Monday, January 02, 2012 6:18 AM
Ward La France, 1941 Model 106, 6 ton 6 x 6, but probably built in the last four months of 1940 or first couple of 1941.

Two built I think, W-00949 wrecker and W-00950 cargo.  The unusual thing here is the USA number, as W-00xxx prefixes were usually only assigned by Uncle Sam to wreckers and special purpose vehicles, so I would expect USA W-00950 to be a wrecker rather than cargo.

Note also the Tri-Master cab ventilator, and the small pod lights on top of the main headlights which were really only found on trucks around September 1940 to March 1941 as a result of the switch to sealed beam main headlights.  Prior to September 1940 they usually stuck with non-sealed beam, and after about Easter 1941 they had the more common standard US Army small blackout pod lights to use.

My sort of truck, and my sort of time period, though unfortunately not my sort of fuel consumption.  This was probably a formal factory portrait, and the vehicle was probably sent to the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland for testing, then retained there or allocated elsewhere for facility use till it was retired.

I'm sure Jeff will post the wrecker shot in the follow-up.
By tamangel - Monday, January 02, 2012 8:27 AM
a Dodge Cab...

Mike W

By Jeff Lakaszcyck - Monday, January 02, 2012 1:56 PM
This is a most unusual truck, because unless you know what it is, there is no way to tell by looking at the photo, but there are lots of clues that will lead you astray. Brian Kelly got this right off the bat, this is a 1940 or '41 Ward LaFrance Model 106 6 ton 6x6. Only a handful of these were built, perhaps as few as 2 or 3. The cab is a GMC, the same cab GMC used on their medium and heavy trucks from 1937 to 1947, and even up to 1949 on their biggest models. The rest of the sheetmetal is unique to this model, although the radiator shell does look similar to that used on WLF's M1 wreckers. Tatra asks a very interesting question: Even if this were a prototype, why use a competitor's cab ? Good Question. Besides these trucks, WLF built 2 models in large numbers for the military, neither of which used a WLF cab: the Model 1000 M1 wrecker with a Brockway cab, and the standard 6 ton 6x6 identical to the Corbitt 50SD6 and White 666. This truck used a Corbitt designed cab. WLF had a very stylish cab of their own, which they continued to use after the war, so why they chose to use the Brockway cab on the M1 wreckers, and GMC cab on this Model 106 remains a mystery. Below we have a 1949 GMC 900, a 1937 GMC, a 1939 WLF fire truck with the WLF cab (from John Dameron), and the entry from Fred Crismon's "U.S. Military Wheeled Vehicles" on the Model 106 wrecker. Notice Mr. Crismon says the cab "appears to be a Dodge"; we have the benefit of a better photo and can see that it is not.
By Jesse - Monday, January 02, 2012 2:14 PM

Could it be that Ward LaFrance's cab had a wood frame? 

I helped someone work on a Ward that looks like the one in the photo and it had a wood frame in the doors. 

We replaced the bottom part of the wood skeleton in the doors with new wood, probably pieces of marine plywood glued together. 

The cab was really solid, so I don't know what was inside it.  (It was an open cab truck, so a lot less cab.   
By Jeff Lakaszcyck - Monday, January 02, 2012 2:19 PM
Jesse, I don't think so. The Brockway cab that WLF used on the M1 wreckers was wood frame, as were many of the WW2 closed cab trucks. The military didn't seem to care, in fact with the steel shortages during the war any use of wood was probably encouraged.
By Gordon_M - Wednesday, January 04, 2012 2:18 AM
That might be a 1941 wrecker image, but I'm reasonably sure both trucks date from the end of 1940, as the USA numbers are too low for any time after that.

The wrecker and the cargo both having 'wrecker type' USA numbers strongly suggests that they were made as a pair of prototypes for evaluation and contract bid purposes only and no series production.

Mr Crismon says that several were made, I'm thinking just the two, though it is possible that another pair of 4 ton cargo / wrecker trucks were made as part of a bid for the 4 ton 6 x 6 contract that went to Diamond T.  Dangerous to infer too much, of course.

No idea why they would stick a GM cab on it, but of course maybe GM cabs were made by a subcontractor who was free to supply them to other companies, like Budd did so much Dodge cab / Body stuff but also supplied bodies to Chevrolet.

These things were so well screwed together it is entirely possible that both the cargo and the wrecker are still out there somewhere.
By Warren Richardson - Thursday, January 05, 2012 2:24 PM
I think that Ward LaFrance may have figured the GMC cab would be viewed favorably as something that could be mass produced, whereas if they used their cab and the USA said can you make 10,000 of these next year? and Ward LaF said "sure" they would be viewed skeptically at best.  But, they might well have gotten a piece of a major contract with a mass produced cab.  Just a thought.