1946 Ford Wrecker

As the saying goes “accidents will happen” and true to this the 1940’s were no different than today. The problem was a device was needed to clean these accidents up. Thanks to companies like Manley and Holmes, accident clean up was much safer and much easier than in the past. These booms were outfitted on cars and trucks from nearly every manufacturer including the luxury brands like Cadillac and Packard. Today, those trucks are indispensable emergency vehicles throughout the world.


An unrestored rare example of a 1946 tow truck from Ford, a barn find if you will. Purchased by our consignor in 2015 with the plans of a full restoration and painting it to match his Shell fuel pumps, oil dispensers, and island lights, however life got in the way and the time just isn’t available to bring this truck back to its former glory.


Fire up the Wayback Machine Sherman, let’s take a trip to the post war worker bee side of automobilia. Sherman, did you fill the tank with fuel, were still in 2022 with the needle on E.you just can’t find good help these days, but I digress. Welcome to the present with this barn find condition 1946 Ford 1.5 ton wrecker. The 1946 Ford truck line-up was still part of the prewar design but with some cosmetic upgrades to make it more flashy for the returning GI’s. A flat faced front end with bulbous fenders house headlights on either side of the white waterfall grille. Surface rust has invaded this grille and its surrounding headlight trim rings and black steel bumper below. A custom push bar has been added to move those wrecks off to the side of the road. Patina has formed in the form of dents, surface rust, fading, some invasive cancer and a healthy growth of moss covering the faded red body and black front fenders. The passenger cab floats atop black steel running boards which have both surface and invasive rust but still remain structurally sound. A boom, believed to be a Manley unit, is on the back where the factory bed would have been installed. This is a heavy-duty unit, has many cables, and contains a winch tower next to the cab, a hand crank, and tow clamps. Also stabilizing jacks (distance bars) to steady the truck if a pull has to take place on an uneven surface, or a side pull for extra blocking. Custom fabricated fenders on the rear cover dual wheels attached underneath and in between is a small storage area with a toolbox mounted to the left side. All associated parts are in rusted but usable condition.


The interior shows with exterior matching patina in the form of fading and surface rust on the steel door panels and dash. A green/blue vinyl bench seat presents with some rips, and a healthy coating of grease and mold. The original steering wheel in black 4 spoke bakelite form fronts the original dash with the rectangle gauge cluster. Surface rust and fading has taken over the cluster, but the original black background and white numbers are still legible. A floor shifter and handbrake are within the field of black rubber weatherproof flooring which shows with soiling, tears and mold.


Lifting open the rear hinged hood reveals more patina and surface rust covering the original 239ci V8. This once mighty mill is topped with a 2bbl carburetor and an oil bath style air cleaner assembly. Backing up the mill is a 4-speed manual transmission. A 4.86 geared rear axle finishes out the heavy-duty drivetrain.


Normal wear and surface rust covers the entire undercarriage. We note invasive rust in the flooring of the cab and rocker panels, but the frame remains solid. Drum brakes are all around and the ride is provided by leaf springs both front and rear.


This truck is a non-runner and has been off the road since 1973. Assume a full rebuild will be needed on every system during the restoration. We did note that many of the boom functions are still operational and move freely.

This is definitely a piece of automotive history, and something not seen every day. In barn find condition but all the parts are available, as well as write-ups and videos to guide you through most of the repairs. When finished I guarantee you’ll be the only one on the block with one like this, and if something happens and a tow is needed, press it into service and charge an arm and a leg because who gets a VINTAGE TOW??!

Price: $14,000

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Seller's other items: classicautomall

Location: Morgantown, Pennsylvania, United States