The venerable Ford F-series trucks trace their roots back to the F-1 of 1948. Of course, Ford had been building trucks since 1925, but it was the ’48 model year really marked the birth of one of the most venerable and successful nameplates in automotive history. For the second generation which debuted in 1953, the now familiar F-100, F-250 and F-350 monikers were used on an all new body. Curvaceous fenders and a distinct wide mouth grille made it one of the best looking trucks of the era. The medium duty F600 shared a basic cab with the smaller siblings, but was fitted with larger fenders to accommodate the big wheels and wider front axle. Today, the classic lines of the second generation F-series is popular with collectors and enthusiasts of all types.
This fully restored 1955 F600 tow truck is a delightful piece of rolling history. Starting life as a fire truck, it was soon converted to a tow truck and put into service by the Whiting Brothers of Holbrook, Arizona. From the 1950’s through the 1970’s they owned nearly 100 service stations, over 40 of which were located along old Route 66. The truck has been comprehensively restored to a better-than-new standard, and is fully functional and fantastically detailed. This big Ford is quite a stunner, inside and out. White paintwork is adorned with period Whiting Brothers livery, with the crane and roof in yellow, set off by bold, contrasting red wheels. Paint quality is very good – not overdone but certainly good enough for show. The body also has nice consistent gaps, no easy task on a vehicle with such large panels.
F600’s were offered as chassis-cabs in a variety of wheelbases. Like most tow trucks, this is a short wheelbase chassis. It wears a fully operational and correct Ashton Power Wrecker, serial #1977. Records show it was installed by Transport Equipment Company of Los Angeles. But what really sets this truck apart is the level of detailing. Beyond just the graphics, it features period correct and functional tools everywhere you look. There are tool boxes, jacks, an air tank, a PTO winch, fuel canisters and even a period flash light and safety triangles, all in excellent condition.
Under the hood lies a well-detailed 272 Cubic inch Y-Block V8 in matching yellow. The engine has been recently rebuilt and is mated to a four speed manual gearbox (three speeds with an ultra-low crawler gear) that puts power down through a two-speed rear end. Transmission and PTO winch have been refreshed with new bearings and seals. The cab has also been fully restored with new upholstery on the seat and door panels and a new rubber floor mat is fitted. While it may not be terribly luxurious, it is period correct and has a certain functional charm.
Few heavy duty trucks have survived the rigors of daily work. These were tools that when worn, often got tossed aside and replaced. Thankfully, this example survived to be so lovingly restored. This is a rare, show-stopping piece that would be difficult to duplicate at this price. It is sure to please truck collectors, Ford truck fans, and Route 66 history enthusiasts alike.
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