War Time Shorty: 1941 GMC Radio Truck

Brian BirknerBy Brian Birkner

If you desire a rare and unique “Cab Over Engine” truck, then look no farther as this war time ’41 GMC Radio Truck is about as rare as you can get in the COE world. Having last run in the 1980’s, this GMC has spent the past few decades tucked away in storage. With a clear title, and a potentially colorful past, this COE is bid up to $3,000, or the buy it now price of $9,000 is available. Take a look at it here on ebay out of Santa Clara, California. Thanks to Matt Williams for this awesome submission!

Under the hood is a large radiator, and some baby blue paint. The 6 cylinder is tucked beneath the cab, and has spent nearly 30 years or more at rest. The seller has not tested the engine in anyway, and explains that the previous owner may or may not have oiled the cylinders before putting it in storage. While this truck does roll and steer, the brake system is likely dead, and there are a couple of missing wheels off of the rear dually axle.

Despite the missing wheels on the rear axle, there are a few spares included with the sale. There is another wheel inside of the truck, as well as an old bicycle tire, a truly worthwhile bonus. The floors almost seem muddy, but perhaps that is some sort of an adhesive, or sealant? The interior structure of this truck appears solid although there are a few areas where light can be seen though the body work. The dash and interior panels are the same baby blue as the engine bay, which must have been the factory color of this truck before it was converted for military use.

With a charming patina, and a rugged military appearance, it would be very easy to want to clean and preserve this truck as is. Certainly fitting for a museum, the seller actually intended to convert this GMC into a camper. Originally packed with a war time radio unit in the back, that equipment is long gone, offering a large amount of space for whatever you may think of. Despite its charming appearance, there is some rot to contend with. The lower edge of the body work suffers with rot, as does the bottom of the driver door. The body work appears rather straight, and the faded out stars painted on this truck are rather neat to look at. I would say the only other negative aspect to point out about this truck is the cracked glass. Granted this GMC uses flat panel glass, but still an issue that needs to be tended to. With a fascinating history, and charming looks, what would you do with this GMC?

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Comments

  1. Brad

    What a cool old relic. Seems like it oughta be about 6 feet longer – definitely has a tippy, top-heavy look about it. Glad it escaped becoming a camper so far… I love custom RV conversions, but this deserves better.

  2. LAWRENCE

    Go Navy….maybe ? And why it might have survived….no fowl to our Navy guys (my dad shipped out Navy in WWII ).

  3. Yoopermike

    Talk about a odd ball find. I see this and wonder how it’s lasted so long. Too much for this old man to get into.

  4. Bryan corey
  5. Francisco

    Get it running and take it to WWII re-enactments.

  6. Gary Fogg

    The blue under the hood is odd.

    • Larry

      Navy

  7. jdjonesdr

    I could make a great utility camper out of this.

    1
  8. packrat

    I wonder what nomenclature of radio went into this one? The Chevrolet K-51 panel van was longer, and that’s where the SCR-299 radio set was eventually installed in large numbers. It would be cool if someone could refit it to its full Military glory. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCR-299

  9. Big Mike

    Well what we have here is the Transmitter truck, the receiver was in a trailer that was pulled behind it.
    The light blue could have been the paint it left the factory with, because some time, when the Government order them, they did not know which branch they would have been going to, Army always used Olive drab, the Navy 90% of the time used Gray, because they had a large amount of that color available, all the ships were painted gray!!!!
    I have seen one of these some years back a Local VFW post that had invited a group of WW II buffs to come and show the vehicles off for folks. The owner of the radio truck had restored it including the trailer, and had actual WW II radio equipment inside it.
    Attached is a picture of what one would have looked like.

  10. Whippeteer

    That grill guard can double as a head board for your bed.

  11. OIL SLICK

    Would you look at the “Roo bar” on that one!

  12. Jeepster

    GMC Model CF351 (aka the K18 by the signal corps)
    total of 258 delivered in 1941 and 109 more units in 1942. this is the last type, more rounded bodies made by Hicks Body Company in Lebanon Indiana

  13. OA5599

    Leave the paint.

    Get it running.

    Put a cooler of beer in the back.

  14. JoeBazots

    Wow! What a find. Really a cool old relic. My wife would absolutely shoot me if I brought something like this home. LOL

    • Milt

      Your wife will shot you over this? Tell her to get her own radio truck.

    • Brad

      No sweat, Joe — I hear the first guys who drove this got shot at, too.

  15. Madmatt

    This thing is sooo cool,with any and all possibilities available!
    Too rare to make awesome camper out of,although
    it would be gawked at by all within eye sight!
    Newer drive train would be nice,but not original….oh what to do?
    I guess just clean it up,make it run,and clearcoat the rest..?
    You could be a weekend “beetle baily” warrior!…LOL

  16. Brad

    Packrat, Big Mike and Jeepster shared some great info – here’s another photo showing a virtually identical GMC CF351.

  17. Brad

    The K-19 trailer itself looks very much like a typical travel trailer of the period. Most late 1930s / early 40s Vagabonds, Prairie Schooner, M-Systems, Gliders or similar would’ve been constructed similarly: wood ribs, painted masonite walls and canvas roof… on a steel ladder frame. *THIS* is what you’d want, in order to complete the project being sold on eBay.

  18. JW

    Restore it to original Military use then find a trailer to complete the look, you could sleep in the trailer at weekend car shows. I love it.

  19. treg forsyth

    Jeepers creepers

  20. Steve H.

    I love it! … But that rust, geeze, makes it hard to think someone would ever sink the money into it to make it nice. As others have said, get it up and running, then leave the rest alone…

  21. Rustytech

    Sure looks a lot more stable with the dual rear wheels. Interesting truck, I just don’t know what I’d do with it.

  22. Gray Wolf

    Mobile beer tap truck for a brewery! Great for selling stuff at the swap meet. Wouldn’t have to unload when you get home, leave her stuffed for the next trip!!

  23. Alexander

    Parts would be easy to source for everything GMC, and I see there is a whole website devoted to the Jeepers Creepers trucks. Super! Evidently that fella specializes in 41-48 COE. Everything aft of the cab…why not let your imagination run wild!

  24. Craig M. Bryda

    Haul motorcycles

  25. Craig M. Bryda

    Haul motorcycles and use as a camper .

  26. chad

    I’m amazed when lookin @ these ol rigs…that folks used stuff that rough. We sure got it easy.
    I get the same idea when I C the clothing. My gawd, ever see the winter wear folks usta use? I wuz shocked seein Hillary’s stuff he took up Mt Everest!

    Compare that CO to the AM General stuff used in the MidEast these last 15 yrs! that much change in only 70 yrs?…

  27. Dennis

    I am the person in Seattle that sold this truck to the gentleman in Santa Clara. He had tracked me down through other websites, he had been searching for one of these for years. I bought the truck when I was 17 years old as it was a running barn find just 2 miles from our house in the central valley area of atwater winton area.

    I bought it for $350.00 and drove it high school, I graduated in 71, and that was the last time the truck ran, I parked it in our pasture and drained the water out of the block, and squirted oil in all of the cylinders, the engine isn’t stuck. The engine is a very healthy GMC 270 inline 6 cylinder OHV engine. I took out the 4 speed rock crusher and installed a Clarke 5 speed transmission with 30% overdrive, that allowed the rig to reach a screaming 55 MPH, back then the original small Honda cars feared the bumper of this rig.

    Long story short, the truck was going to be hauled off for scrap because of the passing of my stepdad, and the property was going to be sold, the gentleman in Santa Clara contacted me in time to save this truck, I sold it to him for the sum of $600.00, and I did it for a reason, I wanted the truck to go to a person that really wanted it, and at that price, I knew he could not refuse, besides, I sold it for more than I paid for it, good karma indeed!

    I was shocked to find out a couple of days ago that the truck was put up for sale, I was assured that the truck was going to be invested in heavily and put back on the road, but lets be clear here, it will take a bucket full of money to make it into the rig it should or could be, the original drive train is ancient and not desirable at all, trust me on this, as I own several vintage rigs, and at 65, I am still having fun putting money into cool rigs from the past, but no more trucks of this size for me, been there endured that, and my father owned a wrecking yard when I was growing up, so I had plenty of inspiration and influence from very cool machines in our wrecking yard in the 60’s and 70’s.

    All that being said, who knows what situation arose that prompted the man I sold the truck to, to put it up for auction, it is what it is. I was really looking forward to being able to keep in touch with him and drive it again after he got it running with a new drive train. I even went to santa clara months after he got it home, and I was able to get some pictures of me sitting on the fender as a proof of a reunion with an old cool great unique friend, but all that is history now.

    So if anybody truly does know where this truck wound up, I would love to keep in touch with the new owner so that I can see the evolution of where it will go and what it will do. Feel free to contact me at fyrtruc@aol.com

    Sincerely,
    Dennis in Seattle Washington.

    2
  28. Dennis

    This is me when I went to Santa Clara to see the truck at the new owners place, amazing how time fly’s by.

    1

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