Tarmac Tram: 1959 Ford P-400 Ground Transport

This unusual Ford truck started its life as a transporter at the Douglas Aircraft Company airfield in Long Beach, California. Somehow it’s accrued 75,000 miles, but it hasn’t traveled very far; reader Rocco B found it on craigslist, still in Long Beach, with an asking price of just $4,000. Its 223-cubic inch inline six is said to run strong with a new battery and recent work done to the brakes and fuel lines.

Douglas Aircraft, of course, merged with rival McDonnell in 1967; McDonnell Douglas in turn merged with Boeing in 1997, and the final Boeing aircraft were built at Long Beach in 2015. Given its ties to local history, it would be cool if this truck stayed in the area; it would look great restored with a vintage Douglas livery, if there was such a thing.

I’m a native Southern Californian myself, and what this most reminds me of is the tram that used to take you from the parking lot to the main entrance at Disneyland. Remember, kids, we’re parked in Pinocchio 5!

It sounds like this old truck is pretty mechanically solid, so it could be a fun base for either a return to vintage aero glory, or a creative new use for all of that real estate out back—mobile party lounge? Hollywood Homes of the Stars tour bus? The only major red flag is that the title is listed as missing, but if you can get away with just a bill of sale where you live, you’d likely have the only P-400 around, and a sweet piece of mid-century history to boot.

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Comments

  1. Mountainwoodie

    Party bus! Just add some 3 point seat belts.and a signed release stating that if you fall out on your head while imbibing adult beverages you waive your rights to sue the party bus driver, owner and any other deep pockets standing nearby.

  2. Dooley

    I used to own a 1956 Ford Vanette step van that was a former bakery delivery truck. I totally loved how those old Ford 223 sixes would pop and backfire when you reved the engine way up in low gear then abruptly let off the accelerator. Bang! I think I scared more little kids that way than I have when I crank up my sub woofers coming down the street.

  3. Rock On Member

    Pull up to your job interview driving this to impress your potential employer.

  4. Howard A Member

    If it was used at Douglas Aircraft, I could understand the mileage. Douglas Aircraft facility was HUGE. Covered acres of land. There is another one of these on line, a ’57 in blue motif, so I’d bet they had a fleet of these, maybe red, white, and blue. Douglas employed like 60,000 people, 24/7,( after the war) so that’s a lot of shuttling. Parades are about all this is good for now.

  5. DrinkinGasoline

    My family’s electrical contracting company had a 56 Parcel Delivery (Vanette) used for delivering materials to the job sites. With that creeper gear, it would pull down a house. I pulled many a truck out of the muck at job sites, including Our 2 55 Panels with that Ox.

  6. Howie B.

    Ad already deleted, darn wish I had seen this earlier, it would be in my driveway!

  7. Clifford Gorham

    I am sure glad it was deleted, Now it is in my driveway, had it checked out, the motor is perfect like new runs great, brakes working perfectly, it now has a wonderful home in Missouri. Church kids are ready for Christmas parade riding on this wonderful vehicle. I can tell you that this tram has a really great home with the best Mechanics to keep her in tip top pristine condition.

    Like 1
  8. Cliff Gorham

    I understand there is another one out there, I am looking for it, any help appreciated, thank you

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