Heritage Commercials

HEROES TO ZERO

The Second World War saw General Motors deliver over half a million GMC 2½-ton CCKW 6x6s. The amphibious DUKW derivative was designed in 1942. All told, some 21,000 examples were deployed in support of US Army and US Marine Corps’ island hopping war in the Pacific, the Allies’ push through Sicily and Italy, and subsequently the D-Day landings.

The DUKW’s capabilities were recognised as being so vital to the war effort that at one point its production enjoyed higher priority than the atomic bomb programme that eventually delivered Japan’s surrender.

The CCKW’s evolution traces to the late 1920s US Army Quartermaster Corps ‘Standard Fleet’ initiative. This marked a move away from the US Army building its own trucks.

General Motors’ entrant in the ‘Standard Fleet’ competition was produced by its Yellow Truck and Coach operation. The initial 2½-ton 6x6s bore the General Motors Truck nameplate, reflecting the fact that, at the time, the GMC (General Motors Corporation) Truck Division was under the wing of Yellow Truck and Bus.

Development commenced with a combination of civilian front-end sheetmetal and other component units from GM’s Chevrolet Division, together with an engine sourced from the corporation’s Oldsmobile Division. As the project progressed to the definitive GMC -353 long wheelbase (164in) and -352 short wheelbase (145in) variants, the engine choice switched to successive iterations of GMC’s type 270 gasoline straight-six. The definitive 3.4-litre, valves-in-head, long-stroke ‘270’ delivered between 91.5- and 104bhp at

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