CC Capsule: 1946 Studebaker M16 Truck – The Civilian Brother To The Legendary WW2 US6 6×6

In the recent post about my trip to the salvage yard (here), I mentioned another find behind the F-700.  I was pretty tickled to find this 1946 Studebaker M16 truck.

Studebaker introduced its M-Series in 1941.  While production of all civilian automobiles ceased in early 1942, Studebaker continued making trucks for the war effort.

During World War II, the famous military US6 2.5 ton 6×6 trucks were built by three manufacturers: GMC, Studebaker and IH. The Studebakers would be heavily utilized in the Southeast Asian Theater and used extensively in the construction of the Burma Road.  The Studebaker version was unusual in their use of a vent window, as they used the same cab as the M-Series trucks. But among other obvious differences, the US6 used a larger Hercules engine, not a Studebaker engine.

As part of a lend-lease aid package to Russia, the United States supplied the Russians with an untold number of Studebaker trucks.  According to the memoirs of Nikita Kruschchev, Joe Stalin was so impressed with these trucks, he sent a letter of thanks to the Studebaker Corporation, in South Bend, Indiana, stating:

“Just imagine how we would have advanced from Stalingrad to Berlin without them!  Our losses would have been colossal because we would have had no maneuverability.”

For someone as stubborn as Old Joe, that is high praise indeed.

After the war, civilian production resumed with a brief 1945 model run, shortly after which 1946 model production commenced.  The M16 was the civilian model with 19,451 built for 1946.  All were powered by a 94 horsepower, 225 cubic inch (3.7-liter) six-cylinder.

The M16 was available in a 128″ wheelbase, a 152″ wheelbase, and a very long 195″ wheelbase.  Production of the M-Series would continue through the end of 1948.

I spotted this M16 in a salvage yard in Hannibal, Missouri.  It has no engine and the interior had late-model bucket seats.  The entire vehicle is for sale.

For the bearer of such a glorious heritage, let’s hope this isn’t the end of the road for this old girl.