Salvage yards can be gold mines for finding parts for repair or restoration, but the pickings can be mighty slim for the HMV owner. There aren't many half tracks or deuce and a halfs at your typical yard. That makes a recent find by Ron Kowalke, the auction and technical editor for Old Cars Weekly (a sister publication to Military Vehicles Magazine), particularly unusual. On a recent trip to Kansas, Kowalke made an unplanned stop at C.R.’s Trucking & Wrecker Service in Baxter Springs. There, he found not only hundreds of mostly rust-free vintage vehicles, ranging from the 1940s to modern, spread over 30 acres, but also big rigs and military vehicles, including a G-506 1-1/2-ton.
Though bearing signs of some modifications, this G-506 is still an
uncommon find, with lots of usable parts remaining.
Chevy made about 160,000 of the all-wheel-drive G-506 trucks during WWII. More than half of those were supplied to foreign countries. The basic 145-in. wheelbase and cab and chassis was designated "G7103". There were a number of different bed configurations that could be installed. It's a desirable truck, especially with the early style embossed "Chevrolet" panels.
Although pictures can be deceiving, it is obviously missing the rear bed, and looks as if something has been altered on the back. The original configuration called for dual tires on the rear axel so it may have had a rear axel swap from another vehicle. It also lacks its original fuel tank.
Kowalke reported that the owner of the yard is under pressure to sell as much of the inventory as possible to pay bills. A deal is being worked out with a local recycler to cash out and crush what remains after May 31.
Many of the vehicles that have had parts removed still maintain donor-quality parts, mainly in the way of fender panels and chrome pieces. While not military, one of more unique pieces in inventory is a Diamond T pickup cab and chassis. There is a handful of tow trucks with complete booms, as well as a few dozen big-rig tractors ranging from the 1930s on up, including several blunt-nose Fords that served as haulers for a Joplin, Mo., traveling carnival.
The majority of vintage iron in inventory runs from the early 1940s up to the early ’70s. Kowalke was unsure of how many military vehicles were in the collection.
Hours of operation at the yard are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday by appointment. To contact the yard, call 620-856-3368 or FAX 620-856-2105.
For Kowalke's complete article, forcusing primarily on car inventory, click here.