Original Hauler: 1955 Ford F-600

This opening image is almost like one of those photos that you see where someone is looking into a mirror with a mirror behind them and it goes on and on. It’s sort of unusual to see a roll-off or rollback truck on the back of another one, or it is for me, but how else do you haul a classic truck? This 1955 Ford F-600 heavy hauler can be found here on craigslist in Des Moines, Washington. The seller has reduced their asking price to $2,500.

This is such a great era for Ford trucks and the 1955 F-Series trucks would have been made during the second-generation, 1953-1956. It was when they changed the model name to F-600 from F-6. The F-600 is a 2.5-ton truck and it appears that this truck is from Washington state and was used for hauling metal, according to the faded paint on the doors.

There is some rust on the cab and that doesn’t count the hauling bed. Now that’s a rollback! Or a roll-bed, roll-back, roll-off, hyphen or no hyphen, etc. A few days ago, an experienced car guy and a long-time commenter was dismayed that I didn’t follow “writing standards” by referring to something by what he thought should be the standard name for it. So, what would you call this truck? The seller calls it a “rollback”, is that correct?

The seller refers to it as a “Brandon” winch but I think it may be a Bradon winch? Anyone? Whatever it is, it looks pretty rugged and when you’re hauling scrap metal, it needed to be tough. They say that the title is from 1977.

You already know that this truck needs work everywhere and with the only soft surfaces inside being the seat, it shouldn’t be too daunting to restore the interior. It looks like this truck was originally more of an olive green color – maybe Meadow Green? – that’s how I’d bring it back. This F-600 has a 4-speed manual transmission and a 2-speed rear end.

They say that the engine is original so it should be Ford’s slighter bigger 223 cubic-inch inline-six, the Mileage Maker. It would have had around 115 hp for 1954 and 1955. I expected to see a generator in this truck instead of an alternator. The seller doesn’t mention whether it turns over or not but let’s hope for the best. What would you call this truck, a rollback as the seller calls it? What would you use this truck for?

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  1. Howard A Member

    I don’t think it’s a rollback, per se, doesn’t appear the bed tilts, so the winch just dragged cars up on it. Sure is a cobbled job, but it got the job done. I bet this unit picked up a lot of junkers in it’s day. I had a ’55 F500 stake bed with hoist, similar to this. The 6 was pretty weak, but again, it did the job in 1955. I’d have to think they have to be nicer than this for any interest.

    Like 4
    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Thanks for the info, Howard, that makes sense.

      Like 3
      • Howard A Member

        Best thing for this here unit, take the winch off, drive it to the scrap yard, cut the bed bolts, and leave the back there. If someone was ambitious, and just happened to have an aluminum rollback lying around, and properly updated, it would make a neat hauler.

        Like 4
  2. Rudy C

    Des Moines, Washington not Iowa

    Like 2
    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Rudy, you’re right! Thanks for the correction. I had the Des Moines, IA craigslist open at the time and my brain automatically typed in Iowa.

      Like 3
  3. TimM

    Maybe someone could help me out here???? Is that F-600 body the same as an F-1 would be or are the fenders and cab a larger size??? The wheel opening seem huge to accommodate the larger tires and rims!! The body seem like it’s in good shape and the price isn’t bad so you probably know I’m thinking of making it into a pickup!!

    Like 1
    • Howard A Member

      Hey Tim, pretty sure the whole front end was the same as a pickup. If you look at a pickup, the wheels look small in the fender opening, and these, 9.00×20’s, I think, are almost too big. Since they were basically powered the same, it was the same truck. It wasn’t until bigger motors demanded bigger cooling, and bigger trucks, like the N model came out.

      Like 1
      • TimM

        Thanks Howard!!

    • Lance

      As with Chevy’s and GMC’s of this era the cab of the larger trucks is the same as the 1/2 ton trucks. The hood and fenders are different in shape to fit over the larger wheels of the 1.5 ton and larger trucks.

      Like 1
  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    Rather interesting. There were a lot of F600s out west but finding one with a six-cylinder was a rare occurrence. The odd tonner and maybe more F100s but Ford trucks and V8s reigned supreme. A friend of the family had a ’52 F-4 with a six on the farm. When he sold out he took the truck over to another friend’s place. When that friend’s health took a nosedive, the F-4 disappeared and no one seems to know where it went.
    For this, it looks like a ramp bed will suit this nicely. Fix it up and use it for hauling old cars and trucks around…

    Like 2
  5. Ronald C. Smith

    Hello Fellas,

    I own a bit newer one a ’59 Viking 60 and it’s a 2 ton same as this one. The front looks like the smaller pickups, but is indeed wider. The axles are wider and the fenders and grille had to be widened to cover.

    Like 2
  6. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I also had a 59 ton and 1/2 flat bed cattle hauler. Mine had a 390 with 4 speed trans. Now this f-600 is a medium duty truck, the 6 banger was okay but a V8 239 or 272 would have been a big improvement. I don’t think 312 V8 engines were available in these trucks. The winch could be repaired and used to drag things up on the bed with ramps perhaps even your classic showcar. I wouldn’t do my Buick like that unless I had a place where I could back the truck up to a loading ramp of equal height to the bed of the truck. At any rate, this old truck could be restored to a classic truck.
    God bless America

    Like 2
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      I know a few operators who put 312s in those trucks and they had very little to complain about, other than the occasional one dropping a valve…

  7. Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

    The “Mileage Maker!” Love it. Nice find, Scotty! It would be slick to take a modern rollback mechanism and keep the original deck. 6.7 PSD, brakes to match, roll coal.

    Like 2
  8. 427Turbojet 427Turbojet Member

    I bought this ’63 F350 from a friend about 20 years ago. Built 390, Clark 5 , speed and I added a Chevy 1 ton rear with 4.10 gears and a posi. I also put a GM dual reservoir master cylinder and booster. Also had to add a Cadillac power leather seat. Not a true rollback, it kind of “levers” the bed back on slides as it raises. It also has a stinger that folds from under the bed to attach a trailer or a sling to tow another vehicle. Brakes never were up to par, especially if loaded with one vehicle and towing a second. Really worked nice for older, smaller cars and especially light tractors. Frame is getting soft around the rear spring hangers so not using it for much of anything now. A project for retirement, really would be nice to put on a more modern HD 1 ton chassis.

    Like 2
  9. 427Turbojet 427Turbojet Member

    Had to have a little fun with it!

    Like 5
  10. Jim D.

    It’s an old Jin/Gin/Gen pole boom truck, missing the poles. Used in oil fields and welding jobs. Often had roller pipe or rounded sheet metal at rear of bed. This old iron is still all over Texas & Louisiana. Sometimes use for water casing pipe also.

  11. Jim D.

    YouTube: Gin pole truck. Basically a cheap mobile crane.

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