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Old 07-03-2019, 09:31 AM
Peter Grave Peter Grave is offline
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Default 1955 GMC Suburban Civil Defense Ambulance

1955 GMC Suburban Civil Defense Ambulance $28k This is a classic 1955 GMC that was a part of our country's history during the Cold War. The truck has new paint, chrome, engine rebuild, tires, new gas tank and sending unit and restored interior but is not a frame-off restoration. The remainder of the car is the original 1955 Civil Defense rescue vehicle with original equipment. It is a 100 2nd series with a straight 6, 235 c.i. . It runs on a 6 volt system, has a floor starter pedel and has a 3 speed column shift. The rebuilt engine has about 10,000 miles on it. The truck runs great and all of the sirens and lights work. Although the odometer shows 21,000 miles it no doubt has turned over several times. I have a full background history on the vehicle and where it was put into service. I have owned it since 1983. It includes the orginial rescue stretchers; radiation detectors; 6 volt emergency light and personnel helmet. https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds...#&gid=1&pid=18
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Old 07-03-2019, 10:38 AM
Paul Steinberg Paul Steinberg is offline
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Pictures........
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Old 07-03-2019, 10:48 AM
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John ED Renstrom John ED Renstrom is offline
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Who rebuilds the engine but can't paint it the correct color? Makes one wounder. Wish him luck
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Old 07-03-2019, 11:46 AM
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Kurt Arends Kurt Arends is offline
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...... and who spray paints an air cleaner without taking it off of the carburetor??
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Old 07-03-2019, 12:10 PM
Clay Sellick Clay Sellick is offline
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I like it guys
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Old 07-03-2019, 12:41 PM
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Kurt Arends Kurt Arends is offline
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I like it too! As Ed stated, it just makes you wonder about the quality of some of the other repair work when you see the obvious things that we mentioned.

Also, what would make him think that "the odometer no doubt has turned over several times"? While it was a CDV, it probably had few or no miles put on it. It would be interesting t see what documentation he has on this vehicle. What we see in the photos could be thrown together quickly and easily.
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Old 07-03-2019, 10:50 PM
Walter Suiter Walter Suiter is offline
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Sorry, but that contraption is a FRAUD.
CD light RESCUE trucks were white with blue stripe, CD triangle & circle logo and NO side windows.

They were issued to good Counties that delivered the vote for the candidate who won the White House.

The Heavys were custom built bodies on REO chassis.

The entire concept of CD rescue was to drive in parades and delude the public.
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Old 07-03-2019, 11:08 PM
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Kurt Arends Kurt Arends is offline
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I was wondering if that wasn't the case. The trinkets in the rear are commonly found items in antique stores. Decals are readily available.
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Old 07-06-2019, 02:19 AM
Nicholas Studer Nicholas Studer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt Arends View Post
I like it too! As Ed stated, it just makes you wonder about the quality of some of the other repair work when you see the obvious things that we mentioned.

Also, what would make him think that "the odometer no doubt has turned over several times"? While it was a CDV, it probably had few or no miles put on it. It would be interesting t see what documentation he has on this vehicle. What we see in the photos could be thrown together quickly and easily.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter Suiter View Post
Sorry, but that contraption is a FRAUD.
CD light RESCUE trucks were white with blue stripe, CD triangle & circle logo and NO side windows.

They were issued to good Counties that delivered the vote for the candidate who won the White House.

The Heavys were custom built bodies on REO chassis.

The entire concept of CD rescue was to drive in parades and delude the public.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt Arends View Post
I was wondering if that wasn't the case. The trinkets in the rear are commonly found items in antique stores. Decals are readily available.
1. I do have some question about the Civil Defense origins of this vehicle. The owner claims to have a full history, but doesn't bother to post it while asking for $28K. CD is a niche market, but has a specific nostalgic pull to some and a uniqueness. Just look at how Mr. Lloyd Ray logoed up now-Paul Steinberg's 1962 C/B-Chevrolet Tartan, despite never being a CD vehicle by my recollection.
a. Yes, reproduction and original decals are available - but the CD logo in the center of the front headliner is an Oklahoma-specific one. States/Counties/Cities would make custom CD logos with their name inside the triangle. It's an odd place to put one, and surely could've been added at any time - but not something that'd be all over the Internet to buy.
b. The "trinkets" in the back are indeed very common - and more importantly both pre-date and post-date the car. The helmet has a WWII-era job-specific logo for Air Raid Warden, while the CD V-777-1 box with "Shelter Radiation Detection Kit" dates to the mid-1970s. (Previous ones were first issued in 1962, with a paper label with "Survival Supplies Furnished by Offfice of Civil Defense/Department of Defense" https://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/...se/cdv7771.htm)
c. However, the car clearly has special brackets for Army litters. The lighting package of four tiny red corner lights is a hallmark of Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950 matching funds program vehicles. The bilateral ball antenna mounts appears to be an add-on...
d. On the other hand - I am not personally aware of matching funds for ambulances. There was for Light and Heavy Rescue units.

2. There were multiple contractors for Federal Civil Defense Administration-spec vehicles. Boyertown and REO were the major vendors for Heavy Rescue, but Light could have been International, GMC, Willys, and probably others. Some organizations didn't use matching funds and go with the "typical" vendors. The markings were not perfectly uniform either, but like EMS Act of 1973 50/50-funded apparatus - the matching funds vehicles did tend to follow the pattern Walter notes.

3. I have to strongly disagree regarding the statements on CD Rescue Service. In contemporary and retrospective review, the program was inadequate, but it wasn't just for appearances. Such a view is insulting to the Cold Warriors I had the pleasure to work with as they retired out of FEMA in the early 2000s. One had been the Radiological Defense program manager since 1956. These folks really did believe in their work, and the failure of the political structure to adequately resource the program doesn't mean their efforts were misguided.

The Executive Office of the President's (EOP) Office of Civilian Defense pushed for Auxiliary Services of all kinds with their inception in 1942. Similar to the Air Raid Precautions organization in Britain, they intended to supply a larger, backup organization to the local fire, police, and medical resources. Initial crash efforts of blackout precautions, radio silence, Air Raid Wardens, and the like mix with the Professional Car-related history of the 1942 Henney-Packard Civilian Defense Ambulance. With the rapid loss of any credible air threat to the U, OCD efforts devolved into a loosely-organized social support structure for the war effort. It closed down in 1945.

In 1950, the Federal Civil Defense Administration was created wtihin EOP based upon the evolving Cold War and Soviet air threat. It is critical to understand that in 1950, the Soviet Union had only 5 nuclear weapons deliverable by bomber compared to the US's 299. FCDA primarily anticipated heavy conventional bombing strikes, along with Chemical and Biological Warfare. It initially aggressively pushed for WWII/Great Britain-style CD structures to counter this threat, with Auxiliary Police, Auxiliary Fire, Rescue, and even "Emergency Medical Service." Matching funds were made available to local agencies to buy FCDA-spec equipment and train volunteers. The FCDA Staff College in Battle Creek, MI taught Basic and Advanced Rescue courses. The idea was to have a structure of teams that could extricate casualties from bombed out buildings, as had been done successfully in London. While initially stumbling around the concept of a $50 billion+ project for blast shelters, the primary countermeasure for FCDA-designated Critical Target Areas that received priority funding was evacuation. This was viable due to an anticipated 6-8 hour delay before bombers could breach US/Canadian air defenses.

By 1955, the USSR had only 200 bomber-deliverable weapons compared to 2422 in the US stockpile. However, US intelligence believed far higher numbers existed. The enemy's deliverable stockpile grew (at least in perception) and began to include fusion-based weapons; the latter part of the decade saw the introduction of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles reduce warning time to a mere 30 minutes. This coupled with a greater concern for fission-product generated "fallout" radiation from surface-burst fusion weapon detonations - FCDA and its successor agencies (the EOP's Office of Civil & Defense Mobilization (OCDM) and later Office of Civil Defense, Department of Defense) pivoted away from the WWII-style programs championed in the early 1950s. By 1961, the focus was on the National Fallout Shelter Program - a crash program where architecture students surveyed public and private structures across the country to identify Protection Factor - 40 capacity. The Rescue Service concept and similar fell by the wayside. Some survives even to this day, the NYPD Auxiliary Police Division are an example.

I believe saying CD teams were intended to "delude" is not far off from those who say our Funeral Service colleagues here had a conflict of interest when they provided ambulance service.

(Photos are from several news articles, a few eBay listings, and the Memphis Fire Museum)
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Old 07-07-2019, 02:07 AM
Walter Suiter Walter Suiter is offline
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Nicholis, first and foremost thanks for the pictures.

I attended the parade in my home town, a place parades were thrown at the drop of a hat and always led by the Crusaders Drum & Bugle Corps for the grand opening of the Ground Observer Corps Station (Plywood shack) with a sawtooth window in the roof supposedly to watch for Russian bombers arriving over Lake Ontario. That window had the finest view of the sign with politicians names on the other side of any place in the village.

My sainted mother spent 2 years of the war wearing her catspaw heals off circling a block wearing an arm band and WW-I steel pot repainted white with a decal and a whistle hanging around her neck so she could summon the Block Captain on his bicycle if anyone on the block emitted a sliver of light from their blackout curtains.

Other innocents wandered the shores of Lake Ontario looking for German Submarines night after night. After all one U Boat had gotten to Rochester in the First War. The REALITY that is was a surrendered boat under tow of USS Iroquois because the US Navy had nobody who could start it and was hesitant to let the U Boat procede up the Lakes on its own for fear of sinking it in the fresh water wasn't discussed. The question of how a U Boat passed the locks at Montreal without Canadian permission also wasn't discussed.

Civil Defense in World War 2 just like scrap rubber collection during the war was a way to occupy the folks back in the States at minimal cost so they felt they too were participating in the War.

When the Korean EXTENSION of the war came along CD was rolled out again, and was one of the agencies involved in passing out War Surplus to State & Local governments. It was very good for politicians. It was also good for Motorola and local Fire Departments got plenty of radios along with Indian pumps and generators much to the ire of American LaFrance. Sterling Siren Fire Alarm in Rochester saw its best years thanks to Civil Defense buying 5 horsepower sirens and mounting them on municipal buildings. Rochester even got a pair of Chrysler Hemi powered sirens from Civil Defense.
Oddly, one thing Civil Defense couldn't accomplish was getting Motorola Twin V radios installed in the Rescue trucks.

In 1960 when millions of kids were ducking and covering in schools across the country, I attended a Civil Defense conference at Sheepshead Bay. I had one prime question. Who do you expect to be rescued from which pile of rubble by a force of less than 18 men who have minimal skills if the 18 survive blast and radiation? I was informed the question wasn't relevant.

Back in Rochester I was asked to develop a plan by the failed actor/politician. He didn't appreciate my plan to insert a suction hose and employ it and the vacuum produced by the REO to get sufficient gasoline to keep that truck moving. He also didn't appreciate my plan to back up to any available hardware store and get sufficient tools to attempt the task and then load some cylinders from a welding supply.

I'll stand on my statement Civil Defense Rescue was entertainment.

Mom truly believed the Men in Washington wouldn't be there if they didn't know what they were doing. What she didn't know was they were in Washington filling their pockets.

I spent 4 years driving and running one of 2 heavys assigned to Rochester NY which bore me many benefits.
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