Bubblegum and stocking design – restoration of a 1943 Dodge-51 Weapons Carrier | Season 1 – Episode 80
Wheels Feb 21, 2022
John Furlong’s family has been in the transport business since his father started Furlong Coaches in 1959 and the company is still going strong today.
It was when John was driving bus tours of the Normandy beaches that his interest in the vehicles of World War 2 began. His current collection includes several Willy’s Jeeps, a Dodge WC – 51 and a DUKW.
John considers himself to be an ‘old skool’ mechanic and in 1998 he lent his knowledge of the DUKW 6×6 amphibious truck to assist with the establishment of Dublin’s award-wining Viking Splash Tours. He works in font-line tourism driving for Paddywagon Tours.
John is currently half-way through a chassis-up nut and bolt restoration of his 1943 Dodge WC-51 Weapons Carrier.
He bought two WC-51s from Jadran Films in Croatia. One of the WCs was being used as a ‘Gate Guardian’ and was parked in a hedge.
When he shipped the WC’s back to Ireland, he discovered the WC with the best bodywork and engine had the worst chassis. On that vehicle the chassis was in bad condition with the identification number missing and numerous welding patches. He is currently in the process of refitting the good WC-51 body and engine to the chassis from the scrapped vehicle. Estimated build time is 5 months and to date he has completed a full rebuild of the 6-cynlinder 92 hp Dodge T-214 engine.
We will be bringing you further updates on the build.
Built by Dodge/ Fargo at the Warren Truck Assembly plant in Michigan USA and under licence in other locations such as Iran, the WC series light 4WD and medium 6WD military utility trucks were built in two generations.
Initially named the VC series, from 1941 the vast majority of trucks produced were the multi-variant WC series, while both series of trucks retained the US Army’s G-505 Ordnance Corps Supply Catalogue number. The Dodge WC range known by the nickname of ‘Beeps’ is the most famous battlefield vehicle after the Jeep. While the designation code for these trucks was ‘WC’, this did not stand for Weapons Carrier. The name came from Dodge company internal model codes; ‘W’ was for 1941 and ‘C’ for a nominal half-tonne load rating.
After 1941 the ‘WC’ model code was retained for both the three-quarter tonne and the one and a half tonne 6×6 models.While the majority of Willy’s Jeeps were modified in the field, Dodge built its numerous variants in the factory.
The range of vehicles that were achieved from this common platform was extraordinary. The WC variants ranged from open and closed-cab cargo trucks and panel vans, weapons carriers, radio, reconnaissance and command cars, ambulances, field-workshops and field-telephone installation.
The Dodge WC-52 was identical to the 51 but was equipped with a 2.27 tonne Braden winch. The WC-51/ 52 series common platform was spread across the half-tonne, three-quarter tonne and one and a half-tonne 6×6 truck and there were 52 variants, 30 of the half-tonne 4×4, 8 of the half-tonne 4×2, 12 of the three quarter-tonne 4×4 and 2 of the 6×6 models.
A 1-tonne, 2-wheel cargo-trailer nicknamed the ‘Ben Hur’ was widely used with the WC series trucks.
By the end of World War II Dodge had become the US Army’s major supplier of half-tonne trucks and the army’s sole supplier of three-quarter tonne and one and a half-tonne 6×6 trucks. War production of the WC-51/ 52 was 123,541 units and Dodge built 382,350 battlefield vehicles in total excluding variants. The WC lightweight trucks saw active service in World War II especially in the Normandy landings, the Korean War and numerous other conflicts.
Credit: John Furlong, Philip Darling, Viking Splash Tours, Jadran Films – Croatia
Videos: Ireland Made®
Information sources: Militaryimages.net
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