Lot 0316: 1943 GMC Air Compressor (USA)

This model is a GMC CCKW-353 3rd series truck from July 1943. It features a model 1608 closed cab, factory installed black out driving light and an asymmetrical brush guard with GMC logo. The unit was used in the western campaign however detailed history is unknown.


After the war, this unit was used by a Belgium Army and remained in service until the late 60ties.

This specific unit was, after it was released, bought by a Dutch collector who restored it, road registered it and even brought it to Normandy in 1994. However, it is an older restoration it is a very nice and complete unit.


Currently it is stored in a warehouse of a Dutch Museum and need some TLC (Tender Love and Care) to make it  ready for the show season 2024, but it is a very nice and complete vehicle which does not require too much work.

The GMC CCKW-353 Air Compressor is a very rare vehicle used by the Army Corps of Engineers in as well the WW-II but also in the post war period (Korea en even in the early days of the Vietnam war).

Next to the US many nations also used these models in the post war period.

It is a very rare exhibit from which not many have been left. Therefore, it is a great vehicle for a serious collector who goes further than only driving his military heritage collection.

The GMC CCKW-353 Air Compressor is a very welcome crowd favorite at shows and events. Thus, in combination with the fact that compared to the regular GMC not that many have been produced makes it a collectable vehicle!



The American motor car industry produced outstanding number of military vehicles during 5 years of the World War 2. Those were widely used not only by the U. S. troops but also by other allied troops. The U. S. was literally the arsenal of democracies.

As the World War 2 was the first modern mobile warfare, logistics was of greater importance than ever. Sometimes, it was even more important to ensure smooth supply lines than to develop better ordnance. Many kinds of vehicles were used for supply operations, and among them, the 2 ½ ton truck, known as "Jimmy" or "Deuce and a half", was one of the most mass-produced vehicles, recording the total production of 810,000.

The GMC CCKW, also known as "Jimmy", or the G-508 by its Ordnance Supply Catalog nr, was a highly successful series of off-road capable, 2​12-ton, 6x6 trucks, built in large numbers to a standardized design (from 1941 to 1945) for the U.S. Army. It saw heavy service, predominantly as cargo trucks, in both World War II and the Korean War.


The original "Deuce and a Half", it formed the backbone of the famed Red Ball Express that kept Allied armies supplied as they pushed eastward after the Normandy invasion.


The CCKW came in many variants, including open or closed cab, long wheelbase (LWB) CCKW-353 and short (SWB) CCKW-352, and over a score of specialized models, but the bulk were standard, general purpose, cargo models. A large minority were built with a front mounted winch, and one in four of the cabs had a machine-gun mounting ring above the co-driver's position.


The most widely used engine was Type 270 with a displacement of 4,416 cc, yielding 104 horsepower. The power was transmitted to the wheals via five-speed transmission. Two types of driving axles were offered to the truck. One is "Banjo type" manufactured by Chevrolet and the other is "Split type' made by Timken.


Apart from the driving axles, many components, such as cabin, cargo body and chassis frame, varied according to the manufacturers and various uses. Variants included the normal steel-body cargo truck, water tanker, gasoline tanker, cargo-dump truck, and multi-role type with tipping cargo body. The most popular variant, GMC CCKW-353 with normal cabin and long wheelbase of 164 inch, weighing 4.8 ton, had carrying capacity of 2 ½ ton on rough roads and 4 ton on pavement. The maximum speed reached 72km/h.  Having the then first-class performance like these, the 2 ½ trucks ran across all the battle fields as a means of transport for the Allied forces and played an important role to bring about the victory of the Allies.


After its retirement from the U. S. Army in the early 50's, they were transferred to all over the world and had a great influence on the progress of today's military motorcars.


Air compressor truck

The US Army Office, Chief of Engineers, began evaluating portable air compressors for use by Engineer troops in the field in the early 1930s. By 1937 the decision had been reached to adopt a gasoline-engine driven, truck mounted 105 cubic-feet-per-minute unit for issue to troops. In conjunction with this effort studies were made of a variety of pneumatic tools to determine which tools, style and brand, should be supplied with the compressor.


In February 1940, a quantity of 79 105CFM compressors were ordered from the Sullivan Machinery Company to be mounted on a 3-ton cab over engine GMC 4x4 truck chassis. An additional 819 similar compressors manufactured by LeRoi and mounted on similar chassis were subsequently purchased from July 1940 through May 1941.

However, the 4x4 was soon determined to be top-heavy, and underpowered, resulting in poor off-road performance. From July 1941, mounting the compressor on a halftrack chassis for use by armored units was considered, but this idea was discarded in September 1941.


In late 1941 the Engineers removed a LeRoi compressor from its 4x4 chassis and placed it experimentally on the chassis of a GMC 6x6, making the necessary modifications to both compressor body and truck chassis to accomplish this. The resultant vehicle, weighing 13175 pounds fully equipped was subsequently tested and found to exceed the capabilities of its predecessor in every area save reduced maneuverability due to its wider turning radius.


Fifteen days after Pearl Harbor, plans were drawn of for a factory-produced pilot model of the new vehicle to be assembled by LeRoi. On February 24, 1942, an order was placed with LeRoi for 1038 units, the first of several orders.


The predecessor to the familiar 6x6 was this 4x4 GMC AFK 352 1 -3-ton truck. The compressor itself was almost identical to the one mounted on the CCKW. The model designation for this compressor was the LeRoi Model 105GA. The compressor was driven by its own four cylinder, 318 cubic-inch engine, also built by LeRoi (in fact, at this time LeRoi was a noted builder of industrial engines in addition to their compressor work). The engine was joined to the compressor itself by a clutch. The compressor is a three-cylinder, two-stage, air-cooled unit with intercooler. It can deliver 105-CFM at 100 PSI. As adopted the compressor and truck assembly, serviced and ready to work weighed in at 14,300 lbs.


The initial design proved so trouble free that only minor changes were made to the compressor, including increasing the size of the exhaust valves and in 1943 beginning to use the standard Military Senior oil filter on the compressor engine in lieu of the smaller, previously used Purolator unit.


In December 1943, an investigation was made regarding the desirability of equipping the compressor trucks with winches. Completed in February 1944, the conclusion of this report was that a front mounted PTO-driven winch was desirable. In part this was due to the pioneering nature of Engineers work, often far ahead of improved roads, and the utility of the winch in general Engineer operations.

Subsequently, winches were standardized on future procurements of these compressor trucks; in fact, even to this day most trucks in Engineer units are equipped with winches.


The other obvious change to the trucks was the substitution of the Studebaker-developed military standard open cab on the truck chassis beginning in 1942. The closed-cabbed compressor trucks were built on chassis using the Timken or split-type axle, while trucks with open cabs can be found with either the Timken or GM Corporation (banjo-style) axles. The basic chassis was similar to that used on the cargo, with a relocated spare tire carrier and modifications to the bed mounting brackets.


Beyond the initial order for 1038 of these compressor trucks, a further 7,225 were ordered through May 1944, at a cost of $27,538,556.39 including spares.


Model:                       Truck Air Compressor 2 ½ ton 6x6 GMC CCKW-353-3rd series closed cab without winch

Manufacturer:          General Motor Corporation

Weight:                     14,300 lb. (6.487 kg)

Crew:                        2

Engine:                      GMC 270 straight 6,  104 hp

(78 kW) at 2,750 rpm

Transmission:           5 speed x 2 range transfer case


Suspension:              Beam axles on leaf springs

Dimensions              Length: 253 ½ in   (6.44 m)

Width:  90 in        (2.28 m)

Height: 93 in        (2.36 m)

Max speed               45 mph

ORD Serial No.          CCKW 353 297803-1

Chassis No.:              CCKW 353 185903 A2

Date of Delivery:       07-1943


Location:                  Overloon, the Netherlands

Condition:                 Older restoration but almost fully equipped with all kinds of tools
Permits:                    Please verify in case of oversees transport


Between € 12.000 and € 18.000