Joe found the white one first, and within a month, the blue one showed up to keep the white one company. Joe has a bit of a talent for that kind of stuff. The Blue one is an original government truck with, as best as we can tell, the original Heil dump bed, that works amazingly well, not even considering how old it is. Both of them run and drive now, with brakes, too.
They both took a bit of work, cleaning out everything, then new points and some carb work and repairing rat chewed wiring. All the brake components were disassembled, soaked in fresh brake fluid and hand cleaned, then reassembled, and voila, brakes!!! Fresh fluids, and varoom, we are cruising around the yard!! Unsure how rare that these guys are, but you see very few, if any for sale on the internet.
We contacted the Mack museum and have a full packet from them for the white one, but we haven’t gotten one for the blue one yet. By the way, they are a very good organization, providing us with original build info and pictures, a manual, and sources of reproduction parts vendors for almost everything on the truck, much of which can come from the local Mack dealer.
The Heil hoist looks almost identical to their current built ones. The cabs are a little snug for a big guy, but that’s typical of a lot of the vintage stuff. I can just imaging what running across country in one of these things in the 1940’s had to be like. 45-55 is probably the fastest you’d want to run these guys on a good road. The both have big straight 6 cylinder engines with a 5 speed stick and mechanical clutch linkages that just sip fuel. No power steering on these guys, either.
We are unsure of the direction of the project, but we have talked about everything form restoring the blue one concours level, to making the white one a seriously mean hot rod. You hate to modify something this old because its only original once, but building something how you want it is worth something, too. More coming soon!