Rare Wrecker: 1942 Federal 7.5 Ton 6X6

'42 Federal front

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

It has been reported that some of the Federal 606’s were equipped with a Gar Wood US6T26 hoist.  If this one was one with a hoist it is no longer mounted on the back.  Listed here on craigslist South Bend, Indiana is this 1942 Federal 606 priced at $5K.

'42 Federal engine

Powered by a Hercules 855 six cylinder gasoline engine.  The seller says the engine “runs strong!”.  The engine has auxiliary oil pumps so this rig can run at extreme angles.

'42 Federal

There are 6,500 actual miles reported on this Federal.  The truck has air brakes, air assisted steering, air wipers and the horn are all in working order.

'42 Federal rear

There are Timken differentials geared 11 to 1.  This is a 6 wheel drive with front axle disconnect, a 5-speed, with crank and electric start modes.

'42 Federal hood up

The seller says that the Hercules designed the engine to be able to run at full-throttle non-stop.  There is no time-frame for how long this non-stop full-throttle run is?  Maybe till the next refueling?

'42 Federal right side

The seller has the driver’s door and an engine manual is included.  There isn’t an image of the left side of the truck and maybe the door is not installed?  The original olive drab and the serial numbers are visible under the hood.  The seller has used this truck to pull trees out of the ground. Anyone need any stumps pulled?


Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Jason Houston

    I love this. It’s amazing. Honestly I love everything with wheels. Particularly those Donks and Lowriders. Really anything of cultural uniqueness. Dekotora trucks, artcars with beads all over them. I could build something AMAZING out of this! Swap in a 2JZ, or perhaps a diesel VW engine and cruise it just as ratty as it sits!

    Doing a great job guys! Keep em coming!

    Like 0
    • grant

      I totally hear you but I must ask, why swap in anything? It says it’s a runner.

      Like 0
  2. fred

    Love the graphics. Reminds me of the truck in the movie “Dual”, where a decrepit truck terrorizes Dennis Weaver.

    Like 0
    • HoA Howard AMember

      Hi Fred, It’s a 1955 Peterbilt.

      Like 0
  3. Sukey

    Awesome truck

    Like 0
  4. HoA Howard AMember

    Robert, I’ve got to tell ya’, you and I must be cut out of the same piece of tarp. Love old trucks and this is no exception. The Federal was one of many truck makers commissioned for the war effort. I believe that cab was military spec, and most civilian Federals had the smaller McLaughlin cab, that was shared by other truck makers, like Diamond T. Having such low ( indicated) mileage, this must have been a surplus army truck, or the odometer is rolled over or quit long ago. It clearly doesn’t have 6500 miles on it. These were used for all kinds of tasks in the war, from dump trucks to machinery movers, you name it. Many were re-purposed for heavy hauling after the war. These motors had a governor, so “wide open” was really about 2/3’s-3/4’s the redline, ( maybe 3,000 rpm’s) but had incredible low to mid-range torque, and could literally “pull stumps”. Make no mistake, these were a beast to drive, and not really sure how this would fit in today, as it is. Historically, we should give this truck a “salute”, as without trucks like this, not sure how the war would have ended up. Love the 4 spoke steering wheel. Made in Detroit, the last Federal was made ( for US markets) in 1959. Love the trucks, keep them coming. :)

    Like 0
    • Mike Russell

      I disagree about the mileage being impossible or even unlikely. This truck has probably set outside since 1942.
      With 11 to 1 gears, where are you gonna go in it. It’s civilian life has been for some kind of local use and it was only brought out when the circumstances called for the “big Dog”.
      Those non-directionals on the rear might be originals also.
      It’s Cheap, Cool, and historically significant.


      Like 0
  5. jim s

    seems like a lot of truck for the money if you needed a worksite truck. nice find.

    Like 0
  6. geomechs

    That 855 gas engine would be a challenge to keep fueled up. I see it has a dual (or maybe a triple) ignition system. Possibly a fire truck for the military?

    Like 0
  7. alfred


    Like 0
  8. 1969Deuce

    No fiddling, just renovation or restoration, please. It’s a dignified beast.

    With military vehicles, you pay no attention to the speedometer or Hobbs. If one broke, another is grabbed off the shelf or wrecking yard and installed. They are irrelevant for maintenance, since everything is done on the basis of the calendar.

    This short clip from the War and Peace show in Great Britain opens with a restored version of the truck. Somewhere there’s a video of it as a tank retriever. It was considered a 7.5 ton wrecker,


    There are some wonderful photos in this Google search:


    Like 0
  9. Joe Btfsplk

    Hercules had a history of making under-stressed, highly durable engines. Trucks, pumps, air compressors and marine engines. They are simple designs made with top quality iron, brass and steel and will run forever with some minimal care.

    Like 0
  10. jimmy

    running non stop for a Hercules means you don’t even turn off the engine to change the oil. Hercules engines were used to power oil pumps they ran non stop. They would drain the oil out of the engine and start to pour in the new oil as the other guy is putting the plug. Hercules engines are the toughest engines.

    Like 0
  11. Sam

    Hey, Gents. This truck is still available. I’d love for it to go to a good home. Price negotiable.

    Like 0
    • Jeff L

      Sam, do you still have the truck ?

      Like 0
  12. Sam

    I’ve still got the truck and would love to sell it to someone who can do something with it. Daniftymachstik@gmail.com

    Like 0
  13. chris conley

    used to be my buddies truck i actually have video of us starting it its an amazing truck

    Like 1
  14. Jeff L

    I bought this truck from Sam in 2017. I got it to be a parts truck for my other complete Federal C2 wrecker but it runs so good I have since decided to preserve the red Federal in it’s current state. A new carburetor, rebuilt fuel pump, new regulator and replacement generator have it running and charging like it should. I have also replaced the tires. It is insured and licensed for the road. The wood frame cab has some serious issues and will need attention. I am currently searching for the correct Gar Wood US6 wrecker boom for it. Here is a video of the crank up inertia starter in action.


    Like 0
  15. chris conley

    Awesome Im glad to hear the old girl is still being cared for love that truck

    Like 0
  16. Karl

    I had a Military MACK 123 tractor with an 855 Hercules petrol engine the tractor was our tank transporter during it’s time in the military the tractor by itself weighed 39k pounds the truck had a top speed of 42 MPH and got between .75 and 1 MPG it was a HUGE torque monster from 1200 RPM to 2200 RPM in the end it was replaced because the wars were moving faster than this truck was capable of. It like this truck are truly wonderful pieces of our countries transportation history!

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds