US Dodge WC 54 Ambulance

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Starting bid: 15,000.00

The US Army’s main dedicated ambulance during WW2.

The Dodge WC-54, Ambulance, 3⁄4-ton, 4 x 4, (SNL (Standard Nomenclature List) supply catalog designation G-502), was the main military ambulance variant of the prolific Dodge WC series of light 4×4 trucks, developed during World War II. Built from 1942 until 1945, they served as the U.S. Army’s main dedicated ambulance (besides the many multi-purpose jeeps serving as such), with many also serving in the Korean War, in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, some used as late as 1953; and others serving as late as the 1960s in the armies of some European countries.

The WC-54 Ambulance saved tens of thousands of lives. They were so reliable that most remained active under various operators well into the 1960s. A crucial aspect was their excellent off-road characteristics, which allowed them to approach front lines in the most remote terrain and adverse conditions.

This particular Dodge WC-54 Ambulance is in a very good running condition.

Enjoy reading this brochure and do not hesitate to get into contact with us!

© Tracks & Trade BV the Netherlands, January 2023

2.1 Introduction
The Dodge WC series was a prolific series of light four-wheel drive, 4WD, and medium six-wheel drive, 6WD, military utility trucks produced by Dodge / Fargo during World War II. Along with the 1⁄4-ton jeeps produced by Willys and Ford, the Dodge 1⁄2-ton and 3⁄4-ton made up nearly all of the light 4WD trucks delivered to the U.S. Army in WWII, with Dodge contributing approximately 337,500 4WD units (more than half than the jeep).

In contrast to the versatility of the highly standardized Jeep, which was mostly achieved through field modifications, the Dodge WC series came out of the factory in many different, purpose-built but mechanically uniform variants, much akin to the later family of High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles. The WC series emerged from and was part of a more extensive family of trucks, with great mechanical similarities in parts, including open and closed-cab trucks and weapons carriers, (radio) command vehicles, reconnaissance vehicles, ambulances, transport vehicles, vans, and trucks for telephone installations and mobile emergency/field workshops.

The Dodge WC series was essentially built in two generations. From 1940 to early 1942, nearly 82,400 of the 1⁄2-ton 4×4 Dodge trucks were built. They were initially called the VC series, but the vast majority of them (beginning in 1941) were built as the WC series, and in more variants. Contrary to what Dodge’s nomenclature suggested, the 1941 WC models were a direct evolution of the 1940 VC models, retaining the U.S. Army’s G-505 Ordnance Corps Supply Catalog number.

In 1942, the payload was increased, and the trucks became the shorter G-502, 3⁄4-ton, 4×4 Truck (Dodge), and the longer 1943, G-507, 11⁄2-ton, 6×6 personnel and cargo truck (Dodge), confusingly retaining Dodge WC model codes. Although the majority of Dodges built were “Weapons Carriers,” “WC” was not an abbreviation of this, but a general Dodge model code. Initially “W” for 1941, and “C” for a (rated) payload of half a ton.

However, the “WC” model code was simply retained after 1941. For both the 3⁄4-ton and 11⁄2-ton 6×6 Dodges. Although the 3⁄4-ton had significant design improvements, they retained about 80% interchangeability of parts and service parts with the 1⁄2-ton models, an essential requirement of the Army for maintenance and serviceability of the trucks in the field.

Dodge was the U.S. Army’s main supplier of 1⁄2-ton trucks, and the only supplier of both 3⁄4-ton trucks and 11⁄2-ton 6×6 trucks in World War II. With more than a quarter of a million units built through August 1945, the G-502 3⁄4-ton were the most common variants in the WC series.

2.2 Variants
All in all, not counting mechanically related variants, the WC series alone involved 52 model versions (thirty 1⁄2‑ton 4×4, eight 1⁄2‑ton 4×2, twelve 3⁄4‑ton 4×4, and two 11⁄2‑ton 6×6 models). The creation of vehicles from a common platform in such a variety of designs, with payloads ranging from 1 to 11 tons, was unparalleled and is considered an extraordinary achievement of the American automobile industry in World War II.

Designed in April 1942 from the Dodge WC-3 model, the Dodge Weapons Carrier, model 51 and 52 (identical version but equipped in addition to a Braden winch of 2.27 tons) Allow the Allies to have a robust and reliable means of transport whose chassis is the basis of many other models. Equipped with off-road tires, the Dodge WC can also carry weapons and ammunition (as their name suggests) and personnel as long as wooden benches can be installed in boxes. In 1944 alone, 63.133 WC vehicles were produced by Dodge.

Several models are created from the chassis of the WC-51: the Dodge ambulance (WC-54 then WC-64KD), command vehicle – or WC-control unit (WC-56 and WC-57 for the model fitted with the winch) or signal vehicle (WC-58). Finally, a Dodge transport troops, whose box is extended to accommodate more soldiers, is developed in 6×6 version: WC-62. The chassis had a longer frame which housed the engine power take-off and driveshaft, from the transfer-case forward on the WC-62. The WC-63 was soon created, with a longer even frame so that the bumper was further forward (10 inches (25 cm) more), housing in between a Braden MU2 winch, which capacity was rated at 5,000 lb (2,270 kg) pull-strength, same as the WC-52. Other than this, they were as good as identical.

One prototype of the WC-62 was produced as an armored car. The David Haugh coll. Fargo 6×6 armored truck prototype was built to test the possibility of replacing the new obsolescent M3 Half Track Car, for infantry units operating on the front line. The master idea was to provide the chassis a brand-new armored shell, which main feature was its sloped armored walls. They were no longer flat as in the M3, which offered a poor protection to its occupants. However, the field-tested model still had the original engine, and was a bit overwhelmed by the new armor. As a result, performance was poor, and given the time required to adapt a brand-new engine, the program was suspended. The prototype was scrapped after the war, and only a few photos have survived.

The Dodge WC are particularly present during the Battle of Normandy and are very suitable for sometimes muddy country roads. It is the most famous vehicle on the field after the Jeep. Thus, it is widely used again after the Second World War and in many armies like those of France or of Great Britain.

2.3 WC-54 Ambulance
The 3⁄4‑ton WC-54 was designed as successor to the previous 1/2-ton, 4×4, G-505 models WC-9, WC-18, and WC-27 Dodge Ambulance trucks. Although based on the 3/4-ton Dodge “Beep” chassis, which front and rear axles featured wider tracks of 64+3⁄4 in (1.64 m), the 3/4-ton ambulance versions retained a longer wheelbase, very close to that of the previous half-tonners, as well as somewhat rounded, upward sloping nose sheet metal, instead of the fully horizontal, flat and wider engine-cover of the main 3⁄4‑ton redesigned WC-models. The WC-54s also had adjusted suspension to make their ride softer.

The closed sheet-metal body was made by Wayne Body works. It had room for a driver and four to seven patients plus a medic. If the fold-away bunk stretchers were used, four patients could be transported lying down. Because of its intended role, the WC-54 featured a large matrix cab heater fitted on the inner firewall, providing comfort for patients and crew. It was fitted with a foldaway step to its rear to allow easier access for stretcher bearers and injured personnel. Early models featured a stuck-out fuel filler cap which was changed to a recessed one in the later model, a modification that was retrofitted to some early model trucks.

From 1942 to 1945, total production of the 3/4-ton Dodge WC-series was some 255,000. Of these, 29,502 were ambulances — 26,002 WC‑54 and 3,500 WC-64 KD models. The vehicles were supplied under US government contracts W398-QM-11420 (850 units), W398-QM-11422 (9,945 units), DAW398-QM-448 (16 units), W398-QM-13596 (410 units) and W374-ORD-2864 (11,636 units).

Unlike today, very little medical care was administered inside these ambulances. Care was given before patients were loaded and after they were removed, but usually not while aboard. The function of the ambulance was almost exclusively to transport the wounded from here to there. Ambulance crews consisted of a driver and an attendant. While the attendant was expected to render urgent care when needed, his purpose was really to hold the other end of the litter. WC54’s could carry four patients on litters or seven “walking wounded” on benches.

Nearly all WC54’s in the US Army entered service as ambulances, but some were modified for other uses, usually with the Signal Corps. The ambulances were conspicuously marked for their purpose with large white squares containing large red crosses. The design of the red cross markings were spelled out in the Geneva Convention and were often called “Geneva Crosses.” Even so, ambulances did not always escape drawing fire. As front-line vehicles in Europe and North Africa, they were often strafed or otherwise fired upon. In the Pacific Theater, concealment was more desirable than conspicuity, so the stark white markings were toned down or eliminated altogether.

As the most plentiful American ambulance produced, the WC54 spread to all allied nations through Lend-Lease. Greatly valued by all users, WC54’s remained in active service with many nations well into the 1960’s.

Location: & Collection

Current location of this object is Etten-Leur, The Netherlands.
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Model WC-54 Truck, 3/4-ton, 4×4 Ambulance, Dodge G-502 w/o winch
Manufacturer Dodge Motor Company; Warren Truck Assembly, Michigan, United States
Production figures 26,002 have been built in the period 1942-1944
Color Olive drab
Net Weight 5,920 lb. (2,685 kg)
Payload 1,800 lb. (820 kg)
Crew 2 (Driver, Co-driver Paramedic)

Dodge T214; 6-cylinder, 230.2 cu in (3,772 cm3) in-line, L-head gasoline:

·      92 HP @ 3,200 rpm

·      180 lb ft (244 Nm) @ 1,200 rpm

Transmission 4 speed × 1 range
Suspension Live beam axles on leaf springs
Speed 55 mph (89 km/h)
Winch No

Length: 16 ft 3 in      (4.95 m)

Width:     6 ft 6 in      (1.98 m)

Height:   7 ft 6 in       (2.29 m)

Tire size 7.50×16
Electrical installation 6 Volt
Date of Delivery 1943
Chassis / VIN Nr. 81636505
Engine number T2I4- 97479
Registration USA 731820
Remarks This dodge Ambulance is executed as a unit which was used by the Signal Corps. Radio (19 Set) included in the delivery (non-working)
Road Licence Yes, Dutch – AH-58-56
Condition / Remarks In nice running condition. Older restoration.

Source: Tracks & Trade

This Dodge is a great older restoration, restored with almost 100% original parts, and very good runner. Will be delivered with 19 Set. Vehicle starts on the button.

Dutch road license is included.

Great car for participation in historic events and tours.

Estimated value: between Euro 25.000 and 30.000,- (December 2022)