1955 Ford F600 Wrecker… Or Is It?

Jamie PalmerBy Jamie Palmer

As it turns out, I’m not really sure that this 1955 Ford F600 truck (the seller calls it F6, but I believe it’s correctly called a F600) started out it’s life as a tow truck. That being said, it looks pretty cool, doesn’t it! It’s listed for sale here on eBay with a buy it now of $7,500 although lower offers are invited. The wrecker is currently located in Louisville, Kentucky waiting for you to come pick it up.

From this angle, the truck looks pretty darn cool. I’m especially enamored with the rear treatment with the tail lights, although that had me questioning the vintage of the bed. A search of 1955 Ford wreckers didn’t find anything with this style of rear.

I don’t find the truck as pleasing from this view. As it turns out, the boom is actually an Ernest Holmes one dated 1915(!), so it certainly didn’t come stock on this wrecker. By the way, the seller states the boom is fully functional. You can find a similar Holmes boom in this picture, and there’s a great article here in Hemmings about how Holmes invented the tow truck (although the 1916 date of the first one throws the date of this unit into question). Regardless, I think you would have to put something in that mid section of the truck to make me happy from a visual standpoint. Maybe some tool boxes?

Apart from the generic seat cover, the interior doesn’t look bad at all. I’m pretty sure I’d want to cover the seat in a dark vinyl, especially if I were actually going to use the truck to tow anything. Is a truck like this just for fun, or would you make it work for a living as well?

The different color under the hood has me questioning the patina, although the overlaid newer Sinclair logo over text has me believing it. You tell me what you think! The seller has done some recent mechanical work, including replacing/rebuilding wheel cylinders, new plugs and wires, a new fuel pump and a rebuilt carburetor. The 1955 F600 should have a 256 cubic inch Y-block V8, and this appears to be one. Ultimately, I’m wondering what would I do with this truck? I don’t think I’d use it to tow anything (at least with the boom, I wouldn’t be opposed to using a regular ball hitch) but I can’t come up with much other than taking it to events and parades. Okay, Barn Finds readers, I want to hear your most creative ideas (while still keeping it in it’s same basic configuration)!

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Comments

  1. Dave Wright

    Boom is way too light to be a wrecker…….more of a boom truck. The boom would be used to load and unload stuff on the bed.

    7+

    • Mike H

      I was thinking that too, Dave. At first I thought it was a poorly engineered home-made unit as it lacks support for its length.

      1+

  2. TdF 83

    The under tho hood shot looks like it has the same Green as the outside just much darker with no fading or chalking. The cab and forward look correct but the rear seems to have lost its springs, Bagged? Box is cool though i think someone did a heck of a job matching the body and box paint to look consistent. Box is a little too cool, to the vintage look of the cab and front fenders. I bet it had a flat bed on the back, the space in front of the box looks right for a 16′ Nice truck but i would like to see what the underside in the back looks like.

    1+

    • Fred W.

      I thought the same thing. Flatbed farm truck, at some point converted to “wrecker”.

      2+

  3. macvaugh

    It was very common to see the wrecker end of a tow truck move forward truck by truck as the older ones wore out or were no longer safe and efficient. Holmes booms came out before hydraulic brakes and used mechanical power take offs to run the winch, which required lots of chocking of wheels to be the slightest bit safe. The edge of the rear bed clearly was a purpose built wrecker bed, though I think it much later than the boom, putting this rig into the “cobbled together” category.

    4+

  4. mds47588

    Need some bigger chains. IF I may offer my two cents for a potential buyer, I’d consider shortening the frame rails to close up he gap between the bed and cab. Nice find…I’ve always been fond of old tow-trucks.

    2+

  5. GP Member

    Nice old truck. I would take the tow rig stuff off and find a nice sleeper to put in it’s place. After that work was done, I would go in and take a nap.

    4+

  6. jw454

    Just like the one we saw the other day, this truck has no tow sling or a mounting for one. This could never be used to tow even a small a vehicle. There is nothing to stop the towed vehicle from crashing into the rear of the truck at the first stop.

    5+

  7. boxdin

    1952 was the end of F-1, and 1952 was the beginning of F100, F600 etc.

    1+

  8. George

    It would make a cool tow-mater… lol

    1+

  9. Mountainwoodie

    Somebody is a little too quick with the cutting torch and the hard to cure ratrod mania…

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/1954-Ford-Other-/292240627711?hash=item440ae617ff:g:gnUAAOSwm2xZouxr

    1+

  10. Howard A Member

    Says F600 on the hood. Tis’ no wrecker, like Dave sez, this is a “boom” truck. I believe it was a small Sinclair tank truck, that somebody cobbled a boom together, ( note “stiff legs” at bottom of hoist) and just lifted stuff. Unless that boom extends out, not sure what you’d do with it when in the air. Too long for a small dump truck ( I’ve seen small dump body’s mounted like that on trucks), flatbed would be best. I had an F600 just like this( only a flathead 6) with a dumping flatbed. Paid $100 bucks for it in the ’80’s, and the guy wanted me to take a parts truck with it, but one was enough, and it ran too, about the same condition as this.

    3+

  11. PhilB

    I was working at a Ford dealer in the middle 60’s, and the shop manager took the same size truck/chassis and made his own ‘box’ for the rear out of sheet steel. Looked great. I think more of them were doing this then mounting a boom to it.
    I’d shorten the frame and get rid of the boom.

    0

  12. John C Cargill

    I once regularly drove a wrecker with a hand winch. But it was a 53 Chevy 3100. It was the back up for the shop I worked for (our main one was a 46 Cabover,) To add to the fun, the converted pickup hadn’t had second gear since anyone could remember. Wind it up in 1st and drop it into 3rd. With a fifties or sixties full size car on the hook. A hoot.

    1+

    • Howard A Member

      Hi John, good grief, a hand winch tow truck, I’m not gonna mess with you. 🙂

      0

  13. John H

    Looks like a gin pole setup. The bed does almost look like it was built to be a wrecker but that pole sure wasn’t used to lift and tow cars … I hope.

    I know several guys who built similar gin poles when they were building their homes. They had them designed so they could put them on the front of the truck so they could pick a beam or log off the stack and move the truck to install it.

    0

  14. TouringFordor

    Our ’55 F-600 had a 317 Y-Block with a governor

    0

  15. Rick McKee

    This was a boom truck that was commonly used in the oilfields to handle drill stem.

    0

  16. Matt

    It looks awesome, what’s the market like for something like that

    0

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