T.J. Wheelman of Anchorage, Alaska sent in these pictures depicting the rescue of an abandoned Studebaker US6 military truck.

T.J. relates that there are many really good beer drinking stories about lost relics and abandoned treasures in the massive Alaskan wilderness. There are stories of lost gold mines and eccentric miners who vanished or died after burying a cache of gold just waiting for some lucky soul to stumble across. There are dozens stories of wrecked World War II aircraft and one in particular of a mostly intact Bell P-39 Air Cobra that is somewhere up around Eureka Summit. The locals, however, are pretty tight-lipped and don't give up their secrets very often, especially to city slickers. Most of these tales are just that, good stories, and are most likely based on a grain of truth and nothing more.

Abandoned for 20 Years

One story that has been around for many years years tells of a big game hunting guide who used a World War II vintage Studebaker US6 to haul supplies from an airfield about 75 miles outside of Eureka, Alaska. The truck was abandoned after the engine froze and broke the cylinder head. According to the story, the truck was "all there" and intact. The owner had passed away, so all a person would have to do is find a cylinder head for a 1940's Hercules JXD engine, fly up to the middle of nowhere, install the cylinder head, get the truck running, and drive the truck 75 miles back to civilization across an area with no roads but plenty of grizzly bears.

Will She Run?

Well, that is exactly what happened in August of 2009. T.J. is a Studebaker US6 enthusiast and he loaned the cylinder head that was used in the rescue. The primary players in this drama are identified only as Bob and Ray. Bob wanted the truck and Ray owns the airplane that was used to fly in people and supplies, including gas and beer. T.J. indicates that Bob, who is by profession a diesel mechanic, has serious plans for the old truck, not so much to restore it to original condition but to put it back into good operating order. Bob must be a really good diesel mechanic, as the truck sat for 20 years, and he was able to get it running and drive it out under its own power.


Pictures of T.J. Wheelman's flock of Studebaker US6 trucks appeared on this page in December 2008. Thanks to T.J. for sending the pictures and the great story.

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