K53 Communications Van BOX found... (May 2018)

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USAFSS-ColdWarrior

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I recently stumbled upon a K53 Communications Van Box Body "hidden in plain sight" not far from our home.

Originally, I posted it up in the MV SPOTTED Thread, but I believe it's time it got it's own dedicated thread. So, since these boxes were typically mounted on CCKW trucks, I'm putting this thread into this Forum.

I'll begin by quoting the several posts from that other thread so that the story is both complete and chronologically sequenced.....

Beginning with Post #7182 in this thread: https://www.steelsoldiers.com/showthread.php?62008-quot-MV-Spotted-quot-thread/page719

Spotted this MV Box-Body "hidden in plain sight" not far from our home.


I'm pretty sure it IS an MV box, but I am at a loss for knowing what it may have been mounted on.


Pic #1: Left-Rear View.
I'm pretty sure this is the rear by the placement of the wheel-well.
IMG_5357.jpg

Pic #2:
Right-Rear View. Again, the wheel-well placement looks like it might ride on a Deuce chassis.
IMG_5358.jpg

Pic #3:
Same angle, just zoomed out a bit.
IMG_5359.jpg

Pic #4: Slightly different angle.
Note 2 features: The Side Door and the two mil-connections just to the right of that door in the lower corner of the side wall.
IMG_5360.jpg That bumper blocking up the back end does not seem to be original equipment, but it is painted the same.

Pic #5:
Closer view of the lower door with its vents and the two rather LARGE connectors.
IMG_5361.jpg


I plan to approach the home's resident about the box next time I notice anyone at home there.

So, before I have a chance to visit with the owner (or at least someone living there), here are my questions:
1. What type truck did it come off of?
2. What's it approximate vintage (year model range)?
3. What was it's purpose: Communications? Repair Shop? Command and Control? Missile (or other) Launch Control?
4. Any other knowledge you can share?

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

P.S.
I will update as facts are known. And, if a separate dedicated thread is indicated I'll certainly create it and post the link.
 
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USAFSS-ColdWarrior

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LAST quoted post from the MV Spotted Thread...

THANK YOU, Gentlemen!!!

GREAT information with photographic evidence, too! You just can't beat that.

Some observations:

1. That rear bumper on the truck in Tracer's pics sure looks like it may be the same or similar to the "bumper" holding up the back end of the box I spotted.

2. Tracer, in your photos: what's that emblem in the upper forward corner of the box's right side, and the upper aft corner of the box's left side. It kinda looks like a "medical" emblem doesn't it???

3. In my original Pic #1 and Pic #4 there are to "nipples" that from a distance seemed to be air line connections, but now they make more sense as the Spare Tire Mount Points. COOL!

4. In my original Pic #1 I had not realized that the left side of the box has double-doors at the forward end. Tracer's pics show them open, and a closer look at my pic confirm that feature. Another "WOW-FACTOR"!


I'm now even more interested in visiting the resident at the property. I must wonder if they know what they've got or if they think it's just an "old truck box" that they seem to be using as a storage shed. Time will tell. I will MAKE an opportunity to establish contact SOON !

As time permits, I'll be creating that dedicated thread I mentioned in an earlier post. This is gonna get GOOD ! ! !:jumpin:
 
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USAFSS-ColdWarrior

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Now for the first "new information" to share here...





I've been disambiguating (that's a $5-word for GOOGLING) and have come up with these interesting pics....

CCKW K53 Signal Corps Truck.jpgGMC CCKW K53 Shop Van.jpg1954-GMC-K53-2-5-Ton-Military-Truck-USAF-Photo-Poster.JPGRadio Set AN-MRN-2.jpg


It seems our friends with the ROYAL NAVY has also used a version of this K53 Box on their MOBILE METEOROLOGIC UNITS:
Note: The British Boxes do not have the right side entry door.

Royal Navy Mobile Met Unit 05.jpgRoyal Navy Mobile Met Unit 04.jpgRoyal Navy Mobile Met Unit 03.jpgRoyal Navy Mobile Met Unit 02.jpgRoyal Navy Mobile Met Unit 01.jpg
 

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NDT

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Nice find, VERY rare to find nice like that. Thank your dry climate. Let us know if it needs a new home.
 

USAFSS-ColdWarrior

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Nice find, VERY rare to find nice like that. Thank your dry climate. Let us know if it needs a new home.
NDT,
Grape minds think purple!
uh... I mean: Great mimes think silently.
Uh, that's not it either..... Oh, I got it! GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE !

My original pics were "quick and dirty". When I return I'd like to get better pics AND eyeball it's true condition on an up-close and personal level.

I too am supposing that our dry climate (I can only guess it's spent a lot of time near here) is indeed a great "preservative", and the box should therefore be in pretty good shape. Looking at the pics there could be "cancer" over the wheel well and the bottom edges of the sidewalls. Not that those places couldn't be repaired or even re-skinned - It just needs a closer inspection outside and inside.

Your thoughts on adoption are also akin to my own. If it is available, I'd like to take a shot at it, but if we need a back-up plan (I already have several works in progress) I'll surely call for reinforcements from Camp Wood.

I'm hoping to swing by there this evening.
 

Tracer

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K53D 2.jpgM53D.jpg Chaplain, this is the same vehicle as in my previous post except it's outside. This truck is a K53D according to the owner who is also a member of the MVCC (Military Vehicle Collectors Colorado). The truck came off the production line as a CCKW during WW2, and was then modified into a K53D. The truck looks to be an immaculate restoration, and I wonder if the owner is a Steel Soldiers member?? Chaplain, the Logo that is on both left and right sides, as well as the front and rear bumper, looks like a medical logo, but I couldn't find an exact match. The insignias on both front and rear bumpers are, (AWS) Air Weather Service, and the other insignia (MWS) Manned Weapons Station. This is the only current K53 that I came across in my internet search. This truck seems to be a rare MV. Chaplain, definitely do a through inspection with pictures.
 

pontiac62

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View attachment 730033View attachment 730034 Chaplain, this is the same vehicle as in my previous post except it's outside. This truck is a K53D according to the owner who is also a member of the MVCC (Military Vehicle Collectors Colorado). The truck came off the production line as a CCKW during WW2, and was then modified into a K53D. The truck looks to be an immaculate restoration, and I wonder if the owner is a Steel Soldiers member?? Chaplain, the Logo that is on both left and right sides, as well as the front and rear bumper, looks like a medical logo, but I couldn't find an exact match. The insignias on both front and rear bumpers are, (AWS) Air Weather Service, and the other insignia (MWS) Manned Weapons Station. This is the only current K53 that I came across in my internet search. This truck seems to be a rare MV. Chaplain, definitely do a through inspection with pictures.
What you think looks like medical logos I believe they air the air corps insignia. wings with propeller in the middle. I know it’s not a clear picture


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M1081 LVAD
 

Tracer

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K53DInterior.jpgK53D 3.jpgK53D 4.jpgK53D 5.jpgK53D 6.jpgK53D 7.jpg The military refers to the K53D as a Mobile Weather Station. Now the insignia (MWS) on the front and rear bumpers makes sense. This K53D is built on a 1942 closed cab CCKW. Here are a few more picks. The 1st is the Weather Station Interior.
 

USAFSS-ColdWarrior

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What you think looks like medical logos I believe they air the air corps insignia. wings with propeller in the middle. I know it’s not a clear picture


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pontiac62,

I believe you are CORRECT, Sir! (Here's a WEEKEND PASS for your hard work.)

Here are a couple pics clarifying those EMBLEMS:

Air Corps Propeller Emblem 01.JPGAir Corps Propeller Emblem 02.jpg

I'll consider this a closed item on my list.
THANKS !

John
 

USAFSS-ColdWarrior

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View attachment 730033View attachment 730034 Chaplain, this is the same vehicle as in my previous post except it's outside. This truck is a K53D according to the owner who is also a member of the MVCC (Military Vehicle Collectors Colorado). The truck came off the production line as a CCKW during WW2, and was then modified into a K53D. The truck looks to be an immaculate restoration, and I wonder if the owner is a Steel Soldiers member?? Chaplain, the Logo that is on both left and right sides, as well as the front and rear bumper, looks like a medical logo, but I couldn't find an exact match. The insignias on both front and rear bumpers are, (AWS) Air Weather Service, and the other insignia (MWS) Manned Weapons Station. This is the only current K53 that I came across in my internet search. This truck seems to be a rare MV. Chaplain, definitely do a through inspection with pictures.
View attachment 730041View attachment 730042View attachment 730043View attachment 730044View attachment 730045View attachment 730046 The military refers to the K53D as a Mobile Weather Station. Now the insignia (MWS) on the front and rear bumpers makes sense. This K53D is built on a 1942 closed cab CCKW. Here are a few more picks. The 1st is the Weather Station Interior.
Tracer,
OK, Sir, now you've gotten me a bit nervous (just kidding) about my first meeting with the current owner of this NATIONAL TREASURE. Since these boxes are so rare, I don't want to become a babbling idiot and drive the value through the stratosphere before any serious acquisition conversation ensues. WOW ! Makes me want to read THE ART OR THE DEAL by DONALD TRUMP before I dive into deep waters.

THANK YOU 1000-times over for your time investment and efforts to research and educate me (publicly, and to all of us here) about these trucks. My thoughts on re-purposing this box have now melted into a deep desire to first SAVE it from an unknown fate and ultimate decay, AND subsequently see it restored - at least it's exterior - to preserve and protect what we see in the pics I've posted. In a perfect world, I envision this box's interior also restored AND for it to be mounted upon a closed cab CCKW.

I was unable to get by the residence before twilight. So I'm patiently awaiting the RIGHT opportunity for both inspection AND discussions in the most tactical fashion so as to NOT blow this project before it ever gets off the ground.

A quick study of your photos of the K53D is intense!
The compressed gas cylinder on the rear bumper is presumably HELIUM for inflating and floating aloft a weather balloon and monitoring apparatus.
The tall cylindrical canister on right side of the rear wall of the box is then presumed to be a storage and launch "package" for the weather balloon's envelope (the "bag" part that is inflated with helium).
The WEATHER MAST pinned to the center of the hood and guy-wired to hard-points on the truck are also very interesting. It's a "go anywhere" adaptation where the soils and anchorages of a ground-erected mast are negated by the vehicle mounting. (APPLAUSE!)

I'm still digesting the pics in detail. I am awestruck.

THANK YOU, Sir!

John
 

USAFSS-ColdWarrior

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USAFSS-ColdWarrior

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SITREP Sunday June 3, 2018

I have successfully made contact with the resident where this K53 Van Body is presently positioned.

After a short introduction and small talk I introduced my interest in the K53.

He is using it as a small "storage building". AND, his wife's father apparently owed it before his wife inherited "Dad's business" - leaving his son-in-law, who was working for him, to be the new head honcho and the wife/daughter to be the "business manager". Stored in the K53 are old tools of the trade and "stuff". (I was not on location so no pics yet.)

His wife describes it as an old Air Force ARMORED truck body. Honestly, I don't believe these were "armored" but are indeed VERY HEAVY as compared to present day truck boxes. To add to this "misunderstanding", they had to move the box sometime within the past few months/years after the old homestead had a fire. They moved "around the corner" but could not leave the K53 since she views it as a family heirloom. (This may be key to upcoming acquisition negotiations.) They found out just how HEAVY the box is during that move. It appears they handled it carefully - at least from what I've seen from the street. The husband speculated that it was an Air Force Communications Truck Body, but immediately asked ME to tell him what it was. I held my tongue and said that as far as I know these boxes have been used for years for communications, air traffic control, work shop tucks, and weather stations. I also said that this is very similar to current-day boxes, but that I thought this one to be "pretty old". (I was agreeing with their comment that it had been in their family for a long time.)

When I asked if they'd consider letting it go, both husband and wife seemed in agreement that "it COULD go", but we never got to a serious point of beginning any negotiations, offers, or price. I DID sense that undertone of, "But Dad had that box for years!" Although those words were never uttered.

Understanding that it was the wife's Dad's tool shed, and that SHE inherited the business, I think she will be the one that will need to be convinced that preserving and restoring the K53 will be the greater honor to Dad's memory rather than letting it languish to a pile of rust.

On the other hand, the husband describes the "box" as being very solid, only some surface rust, original wood interior and floor, functioning doors, and "bulletproof glass" (I think the THICK mil-spec window panes are being mistaken for and might give the false sense of "armor".) He also said it does NOT leak and that the roof is also solid. We should be getting together sometime this week for a close inspection and lots of photos.

On a positive note, one of the last things the husband talked about was, "If you move it you're going to have to figure out how to lift it onto a truck or trailer. We had a heck of a time getting it here." (Sounded to me like he's already thinking about getting rid of it. I just wonder if his wife is ready to let it go.)

Our conversation ended with trying to decide when they'd be home for me to come by and get that closer look.



THOUGHTS ON NEGOTIATING for acquisition:

1. If the "sale" is going to be based on the heirloom factor and preserving something that Dad had owned, I will first approach this as a "DONATION of sorts" for future use in my volunteer work with TOYS FOR TOTS. Giving it "new life" and them being able to see it being used for good causes might just be valuable to her sentimentality.

2. I could also offer SCRAP VALUE. Just a quick estimate of 3,000 lbs. could be a very reasonable price.

3. Since I know a bit about their business, I really don't think that replacing the storage volume is a huge "value" factor. I actually think that they just have always kept Dad's old stuff in there and never really considered doing anything else with his "stuff". But this brings up the point of negotiating a "price" by purchasing a new 8 X 12 Storage shed for them and simply SWAPPING K53 for a new shed. (Downside: I'd never be able to get such a durable solid steel shed for them. This 1:1 swap may be difficult to rationalize.) Yet, if there is no real "need" for the space, why even offer this "higher price".

4. I have a bargaining chip that I'm keeping in reserve:
This K53 Box presently sits in the very front corner of the property. It is literally right at the edge of the road's shoulder. It is a fairly busy street and almost adjacent to a street that tees into theirs from across the street - In short, it's in a VERY vulnerable position to get hit by a car, truck, drunk, or other errant vehicle. If something - anything - is not done about it's location, it may be vulnerable to a tragedy!!!
In it's present location it could also be viewed as an EYESORE by their neighbors.
I'd rather not play the doom & gloom card, but if the chips are down then playing the JOKER may be the only way to win the prize.

5. This may be a quick negotiation - especially if they "gift" it to us. Or, it my take some "romancing" and lots of patience.
For the time being, I have stopped bidding on any current auctions as this K53, in my humble opinion, NEEDS TO BE SAVED. At least by the internet research documented here, there just aren't many of them around anymore**.



** NEW QUESTIONS:
Does anyone know how many CCKW's were produced as the K53 Van Body variant?
And, is there a breakdown of the numbers of K53's that became Communications, Weather, ATC, and other mission-specific configurations?
We've seen great posts about the Weather Truck earlier in this thread - Are there any other survivors (mobile or otherwise) that anyone might be aware of?
 
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