Jump to content

M54a1 Military Truck Restoration


Recommended Posts

Down in FL there is a great restoration project underway. A genuine M54A1 5 ton cargo truck, complete with it's orginal ENDT673 engine is being restored for use as the basis of a replica 5 ton gun truck "Black Widow" as used in Vietnam by the 8th Transportation Group's 523rd Trans. Co. Here's a pic of the truck during it's disassembly process.

If anyone is in the Ft Eustis, VA area the 3rd weekend of June, stop in and check out the gun truck replicas that will be there for The Gathering IV, a reunion of Vietnam Transportation and Engineer personnel who served on and maintained these unique convoy security vehicles. Recently constructed, highly accurate clones of 8th Trans Group, 523rd Trans. Company's "Ace of Spades" and D Company, 815th Engineer Battalion's "Wild Thing" will be there. Hopefully "Black Widow" will be completed in time and in attendence.

Residing there in the US Army's Transportation Museum's collection is the only surviving actual Vietnam gun truck, "Eve of Destruction", an M54A1 5 ton cargo truck with its orginal :mack1: ENDT673 and red Vietnamese mud still clinging to its chassis components.

:thumb:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Down in FL there is a great restoration project underway. A genuine M54A1 5 ton cargo truck, complete with it's orginal ENDT673 engine is being restored for use as the basis of a replica 5 ton gun truck "Black Widow" as used in Vietnam by the 8th Transportation Group's 523rd Trans. Co. Here's a pic of the truck during it's disassembly process.

If anyone is in the Ft Eustis, VA area the 3rd weekend of June, stop in and check out the gun truck replicas that will be there for The Gathering IV, a reunion of Vietnam Transportation and Engineer personnel who served on and maintained these unique convoy security vehicles. Recently constructed, highly accurate clones of 8th Trans Group, 523rd Trans. Company's "Ace of Spades" and D Company, 815th Engineer Battalion's "Wild Thing" will be there. Hopefully "Black Widow" will be completed in time and in attendence.

Residing there in the US Army's Transportation Museum's collection is the only surviving actual Vietnam gun truck, "Eve of Destruction", an M54A1 5 ton cargo truck with its orginal :mack1: ENDT673 and red Vietnamese mud still clinging to its chassis components.

:thumb:

It's nice to see a true military truck being restored as part of our past. I figured what was brought over seas stayed overseas and this unit made it back. Thanks for the picture,will be nice to see one of it all done,Tim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a side note, the military 5 ton trucks were introduced in the '50s using Continental R6602 gas engines. The A1 version appeared in 1964, sporting the Mack ENDT673 motor. The military then came up with the A2 version that used the LDS465 Continental Multifuel engine. The M800 seriies appeared in 1971 using a Cummins engine though none were used in Vietnam.

In Vietnam, and here in the States the A2 version was most common. The A1 with the 673 engine was a rare bird except in Transportation units. Trans outfits had first call on any Mack powered tractors and cargo trucks. Engineer outfits had a few A1 dump trucks. The Mack powered A1s were easy to spot since at the time they were the only ones that had the clear plastic pre-cleaner jar type air cleaner inlet . Multifuels, while having higher HP ratings from 200 fewer cubic inches turned at 2600 rpm and did not live long. Very weak kneed.

The current crop of 5 ton gun truck replicas have been built using A2 Multifuel engined trucks but "The Black Widow" will be 100% the real deal, right down to its spider web graphics. She'll be slow - 51 mph top end - compared to the other A2 replicas that have had their direct drive Spicer transmissions swapped out for the OD version used in the Macks. They'll run 70 mph+. The builder has said Widow will be at Eustis this summer, I can't wait to hear it. Keep an eye out for it on I-95 in the middle of June.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Here's another shot of Ron Smith's new Black Widow during chassis restoration. These things have air over hydraulic brakes, and Widow is getting everything NEW to ensure safety on our highways. This is a good view that shows the similarities between a 5 ton's rear suspension and the traditional Mack camel back design. :thumb:

Here's one of Ron giving the new Widow the power wash treatment prior to going to the sandblasters. Wet weather gear is a must!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is a picture of the M52A2 that I owned. I sold it last fall. Wish I still had it. Nothing like the sound of a Continental multi fuel with a straight pipe....

Yeah, slick looking tractor. The Multifuels with the original "whistler" turbos did have a unique sound. Did you sell it on Ebay? I remember seeing one up for bid last fall or late summer. A computer aquaintence bought it....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did list it on ebay. It didn't meet reserve. I sold it to Jeff in VT.

Yeah, I remember it. If it had been closer to IL I would have given serious consideration on bidding.

Jeff, (I think his last name is Houghton or something close to that), is a computer aquaintence - we've conversed talked about these things several times. He's doing good work with his Line Haul Museum.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Here's a couple of recent pics of the Widow.....Ron called it the Gray Widow....... :D

I always admired the curvature of the 5 ton's gear shift lever.......in reverse the knob was really close to the dash board but you had a little better knuckle clearance in 2nd and 5th gears (or 4th gear if it was a direct drive multifuel model)......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 15 years later...

Barry, Go over the Just Old Trucks website, John Gott and Jeff Lakaszcyck (pronounced La-cash-check) are very knowledgeable military truck  people..  http://forums.justoldtrucks.com/149453/1968-Mack-M123A1C-10-Ton-Army-Tank-Transporter  There is also an outfit around New Oxford PA who restore military stuff but I cannot remember the name right offhand?? 

Hope this helps

Brocky

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks guys...I'm checking these leads out!  I also talked to the OP of this thread...he is very knowledgeable too!

bmodel_logo.png
Barry - Watt's Truck Center Parts Manager and BMT Webmaster...1-888-304-MACK

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...