Winter Workhorse: 1956 Oshkosh Plow Truck

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Although we’ve had a fairly mild season by our normal standards here in the Northeast, winter is inherently evil so anything is possible. Sorry; did my seasonal bias shine through? As a car enthusiast, it’s hard not to yearn for sunny days and dry roads, but perhaps a vintage piece of snow-moving equipment could make winter more enjoyable (and profitable.) This 1056 Oshkosh plow truck here on craigslist is a cheap buy at just $1,600, especially considering it still runs. 

Oshkosh Corporation has been in the business of building heavy-duty trucks and equipment since its inception, supplying rigs like these for demanding users like airports, fire departments, and defense industries, to name a few. This truck has clearly led an outdoor existence if the missing paint is any indication, but somehow it still appears ready for action. The plow blade is included with the sale price.

The seller notes that while the Oshkosh runs, he would advise flat-bedding it for any driving that involves highway travel. I’m not sure if this is due to trucks like this being thoroughly unpleasant to drive at highway speeds or because of a mechanical malady. Truth be told, my diesel-powered Toyota HiAce isn’t cut out for highway use, so it wouldn’t surprise me if an antique plow truck is happiest on country roads.

I believe the model designation is a W-700-15, which seems to be assigned to its snow-moving machines. While seldom seen for sale, that doesn’t translate to immense desirability, so it’s not surprising to see such a low asking price. Still, if you own a vintage car museum or repair shop, I’ll bet your customers would love to see a rig like this taking care of snow removal duties come wintertime. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Ikey H. for the find.

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Comments

  1. Howard A. Howard AMember

    Nice! This ain’t no “girly man” truck and from my old stompin’ grounds, Northwoods Wisconsin. I like the 4 spoke steering wheel, and you’ll need it. Manual steering and a lot of weight on the front. Reason it has to be trailered, is because top speed on these might be 30-35 mph. These typically had chains on the back and a load of sand in the box, and must be a local truck, probably county. When Wis. had big snow storms, I bet this truck pushed a lot of snow and was a welcome sight. Today? Unless you have a runway to plow, this machine is horribly out of date, and would unmaneuverable for most situations.

    Like 12
    • Mountainwoodie

      HoA- crushing my dreams! Very cool.

      Like 0
    • Michael Schulner

      Hi, this is Mike. I recently bought this truck to add to my stable. I love the big rig feel and the big steering wheel. I plan on adding stacks, fix the brakes, and put a dump hoist under the bed. I am going to leave the natural patina, concentrating on the drivability of the truck. I plan on putting this truck to work and it will be driven often at 35 miles per hour, no doubt, (no hurry, enjoy the moment).

      Like 4
      • JBP

        Cool. Have fun!!!

        Like 0
      • Michael Schulner

        This is Mike again, my son broke the Oshkosh. Anyone know if the nut holding the transmission output plate to the output trans shaft is left or right hand thread. I have to remove it to replace the bolts that are sheared off for the driveshaft brake drum mounting.

        Like 0
      • BR

        Iirc, the transmission output flange has a SAE 1″-14 bolt size, and takes a 1-1/2′ socket. It has a standard left hand thread. I believe the torque was around 400 ft lbs.
        I’m curious what your son was doing to shear the U-joint bolts. Sounds like he needs some driving lessons.

        Like 0
  2. leiniedude leiniedudeMember

    Happy to see she comes with the wing. My buddy was the wingman in an old Oshkosh plow back in the day, I think there truck was a little larger though. A case of beer in the cab and the two of them were off to kill mailboxes.

    Like 21
  3. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Many Many years ago (something like 40+) I knew a guy restoring a plow truck. Mid to late 30’s Mack from what I remember. I moved away before it was done so never knew if it was finished or not. Thing was IIRC it was a manual setup, I never saw it in use but I don’t remember ever seeing any hydraulics.

    Personally if I had the space and didn’t live in town, I’d love to have that available.

    Like 1
  4. Bob S

    I would love to have that old girl. The larger Oshkosh trucks with the blowers were the go to vehicles for clearing runways back in the 60s. It is too bad that I live on the west coast, where there is virtually no use for a truck like this. I love old trucks and have a few, it would be fun to have this old girl as a toy. (and if it ever did snow….)
    This is the type of truck I was familiar with:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx1tHXy-gwM
    Bob

    Like 1
  5. JBP

    Would love to play with that thing. A shame shipping cost so much, for such a big truck. Have to use Ro Ro. Ship.
    But have more than enough now, with my Invicta somewhere in atlantic. Got photos from shipper. What a beautyfull car, for almost no money. Thanks Barn Find!!!

    Like 2
  6. Jay E.

    If this were in Oregon it would be in my garage this afternoon. I wouldn’t even haggle if it started and moved. Love the size of the heater. It would get used the first time a foot of snow came down on my mile long dirt driveway. Drove one very similar when I was 17, my second “real” job. I love the look of these old workhorses. Probably $3000.00 or more to get it here, which puts it just out of reach.

    Like 1
  7. Seth KARPEN

    it is being sold for not much more than scrap value

    Like 1
  8. BR

    I LOVE that truck! And that’s no Chevy engine either. It’s likely a 779 cu. in. Waukesha 145. Estimate 3-4 mpg when not pushing snow. And for a few years during that era the Budd cab was shared by Autocar. If only it were closer. Drooling…..

    Like 1
  9. Jasper

    What a rig. If Duel had been a comedy set in the snow belt. Funky hat with ear flaps mandatory. Makes the ‘08 IH Workstar tandem I drive for highway snow removal seem like the space shuttle.

    Like 1
  10. Karl

    Wow this is a beauty guys and I have had a love affair with OshKosh my entire life. I presently own a 75 OshKosh plow truck, it’s an ex Navy plow it came with a 12′ Vplow and a straight blade on the front, had a 10′ belly blade and like a 10′ wing. The truck is running a 6 cylinder turbocharged CAT. The ballast box on mine was sold concrete and weighed over 7k pounds. My next OshKosh us an M977 HEMTT military truck 8 wheel drive with an 8V92 turbo/supercharged V-8 producing 500 hp. The truck has a 39k empty weight and a Max gross of 100k pounds! In my eyes OshKosh is KING!!

    Like 3
  11. BR

    Questions for Karl, and no disrespect intended.

    Is the Cat engine a 3306 or a 3406?

    Detroit Diesel two-strokes are considered naturally aspirated with the Roots blower because they won’t run without them, so it’s just turbocharged.

    Oshkosh is one word.

    Like 0
    • Karl

      BR I forgot to mention the engine is designed to run at between 24 and 26 pounds of boost, how that is divided between the two pumps I do not know?

      Like 0
  12. Karl

    BR I believe it’s a 3306 CAT and the Detroit 8V92 is turbocharged AND has a roots type supercharger. And of course no no disrespect ever felt, questions are always good BR,

    Like 1
  13. BR

    My point was that you will never see a Detroit Diesel in running condition without a roots blower. They are considered an integral part of the engine, like a Woodward governor.

    Like 0
  14. Karl

    I had never heard the detriot deisel engines would not run without a blower before BR. What does the blower do to the function of the engine that makes it allow the engine run? My way of thinking all a supercharger or turbocharger does is compress air so when the intake valves open it allows more compressed air into the cylinders, on a Detroit deisel it does more?

    Like 0
  15. BR

    The 53, 71, 92, 110, and 149 series Detroit two-stroke diesels have no intake valves, just exhaust valves (the 51 series has no valves at all). The cylinder liners have ports that are opened and closed by piston travel. When the piston is at around bottom dead center the ports are exposed and open, and the exhaust valves also open. At this point the air supplied by the Roots blower scavenges the combustion chamber and fills it with fresh air. When the piston rises it closes off the liner ports and the exhaust valves close, and thus begins the compression stroke. The Roots blower is engine driven so the volume of air it puts out is directly related to engine speed. A turbocharger operates completely different. It operates on the expansion of exhaust gasses through a turbine volute and wheel that is directly connected to a (air) compressor wheel.

    Like 2
  16. Karl

    BR I very much appreciate you sharing you knowledge on the Detroit engines this is the only one I own and I obviously need to learn a LOT MORE about it’s function I did not realize the Detroit was that different. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge on this subject BR. I sure appreciate it.
    Karl

    Like 0

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