A Rare “Bird”

M ilitary wreckers have long been attractive to those with the OD bug–their rugged, go-anywhere construction, along with the array of gear they carry–make them the ultimate MV in view of many enthusiasts.
    Memphis Equipment’s Tripp Jones recently unearthed  some photos and a smattering of information about a previously unknown (at least to the author!) M-series wrecker. These undated photos were taken of a surplus vehicle that was reconditioned decades ago by Memphis Equipment.
    Evidently produced for the U.S. Air Force, this vehicle was classified as a crane–though it strongly resembles an oversize M62 wrecker-crane. The truck did not have a rear drag winch, but it did have a front self-recovery winch.
    If any readers have additional photos or information about this formidable machine, please contact Military Vehicles Magazine.

Unlike its smaller siblings, the crane of the MC-1 could rotate through 360 degrees. The crane also was equipped with hydraulically operated stabilizers spanning eight feet. Memphis Equipment Company

The crane of the MC-1 was powered by its own engine unlike its smaller siblings that were PTO-driven.  The four-cylinder 201 CID engine was mounted behind the operator’s station. Memphis Equipment Company

As this data plate reveals, the truck in question was a 5-ton 6×6 delivered in 1957. Austin-Western built the wrecker cranes found on the M62 and M246 5-ton trucks, as well as the M60 and M108 2-1/2 ton trucks of this era.

The fuel tank for the crane can be seen under the operator’s station. Note the size of the massive lift cylinder. The shipper (boom) is also considerably more substantial than that of the M62. Memphis Equipment Company

Unlike the less-substantial cranes, all three sections of the MC-1 could be extended hydraulically. Note that the block accepts a two-part line, rather than the single sheave blocks used on the M62, M246, M60 and M108. Memphis Equipment Company

Of the seventy MC-1 trucks built, at least this one made it into the surplus market.  Are there any surviving examples of this Air Force vehicle today? Memphis Equipment Company

This illustration from the USAF Technical Order TO36-1-27 of 1 June 1959 is the only documentation to surface thus far.


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