CHASSIS NO: 4154278208
• Produced in Canada
• Right-hand drive
• Royal Air Force livery
• Prime example of British Commonwealth military transportation
216 cid OHV six-cylinder engine; four-speed manual transmission; front and rear leaf-spring suspension; four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 160”
Up to the declaration of war in 1939, the Canadian Army relied largely on commercial trucks of U.S. design. Minor modifications were implemented to make them suitable for use in military applications. These vehicles became known as the Canadian MCP, or Modified Conventional Pattern, beginning production in 1939. These trucks would be produced by subsidiaries of the “Big Three,” Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors.
To meet British Commonwealths wartime needs, the Canadian Department of National Defence immediately stepped up production of these vehicles. Though they were initially intended as a stop-gap measure until the purpose-built CMP, Canadian Military Pattern, designs were ready for production, early war losses demanded the MCP design to continue well into 1942. Nearly 75,000 military vehicles were lost by the Allies during the Battle of France in 1940. Due to their limited off-road capability, many of the Chevrolet 1543 trucks were used by rear-area services, such as Royal Air Force airfield units in Britain. Over 300,000 units of the MCP trucks built by all Canadian manufacturers for the war effort. The United Kingdom’s official History of the Second World War, states Canada’s production of trucks “… put the British Army on wheels,” and allowed its army to defeat the German army in North Africa. Chevrolet ‘1543’ truck chassis’ would be used as special reconnaissance vehicles by the famed British ‘Desert Rats’ who performed covert operations against the famed German Afrika Korps and its commander Field Marshal Rommel.
This Chevrolet ‘1543’, truck is a prime representation of the Canadian MCP. It has the standard 3-ton capacity chassis with the durable Chevrolet straight six-cylinder engine. With its four-speed transmission, it can reach a maximum speed of 50 mph. Built by General Motors of Canada Limited in Oshawa, Ontario, this MCP carries the livery of the Royal Air Force service unit. Offered at this auction is the very truck that helped carry the British ‘Tommy’ soldier and his supplies to victory against Nazi Germany.