WWII-Era Sterling Flatbed

1944 Sterling Model HWS 160H Flatbed

Offered by Mecum | East Moline, Illinois | March 24, 2022

Photo – Mecum

The Sternberg Motor Truck Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was founded in 1907 and changed their name to Sterling in 1916. Though they remained based in Wisconsin for most of the company’s existence, their biggest sales outlet was California after Sterling acquired Fageol’s sales network in 1939.

The company was acquired by White in 1951, with everything relocated to Cleveland the following year. Sterling-White was the marque for ’52-1953, at which time the brand was shuttered. This WWII-era truck was one of a few models the company built for the government. This particular model was for the Army Corps of Engineers.

The 12.2-liter diesel inline-six produced 165 horsepower when new. This is what trucks looked like for a long time, and I’m sure there were quite a few Sterlings on the road for many decades after the 1940s. This restored example looks like it could still be used today. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $59,400.

Austin K2/Y

1943 Austin K2/Y Ambulance

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | March 27-April 1, 2021

Photo – Brightwells

Every major manufacturer got involved in the war in some regard. Consider that right up until the war started, Austin was building this tiny car. Then all of a sudden, they’re manufacturing heavy trucks (though they did build armored cars during WWI).

Between 1939 and 1945, Austin built 13,102 examples of this field ambulance. And that’s all it was… there was no “troop-carrier” variant. Ambulance only. The 3.5-liter inline-six made 60 horsepower when new, enough to propel this three-ton truck to 50 mph. The gruesome record during the war is apparently 27 injured soldiers carried in one load, including on the fenders and hood.

This example was used by the Royal Navy and has been in the same family since it was disposed of by the War Department in 1948. It can now be yours for between $26,000-$27,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Volkswagen’s WWII Effort

1944 Volkswagen Type 166 Schwimmagen

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 5, 2020

Photo – Bonhams

The Volkswagen project kicked off in 1937 to build Germany a “people’s car.” Well, that plan sort of got derailed with Germany’s other big passion: taking over the world. So Volkswagen got repurposed to build military vehicles. And they produced three different kinds. Two of them are on offer at this sale.

The Schwimmwagen is the most mass-produced amphibious vehicle in history. In all, 14,265 of them were built between 1942 and 1944. They were used by the Germans throughout the war and could obviously be used on land or water. Power is from a 1.1-liter flat-four good for 25 horsepower. The Schwimmwagen even made an appearance in the Gran Turismo video game series. It was not fast.

The whole military history of this car shouldn’t really deter people from having one. They are probably tons of fun. This one was recently restored and is expected to bring between $100,000-$125,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $145,600.

1944 Volkswagen Type 82 Kubelwagen

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 5, 2020

Photo – Bonhams

We said that Volkswagen produced two other military vehicles for Germany during WWII, aside from the Schwimmwagen. This, the Kubelwagen, was another one (there was also a four-wheel-drive version of the Beetle). This is the one the bad guys always drove in WWII video games.

Produced between 1940 and 1945, the Type 82 is powered by a 25 horsepower, 1.1-liter flat-four. Earlier versions had smaller engines. It was the German version of the Jeep. But, unlike the Jeep, this thing is heavily based on Beetle designs and is rear-wheel drive.

That’s right! This thing will go anywhere with just two driven wheels. Part of the trick is that the car is very light, uses portal axles, and has a relatively smooth underside. They built 50,435 examples, and this one has been restored. It should bring between $30,000-$40,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $58,240.

The Original Hellcat

1944 Buick M18 Hellcat

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | May 12, 2017

Photo – Auctions America

World War II tanks are just awesome. And the Buick-built M18 Hellcat was one of the best. It was the most effective American tank destroyer in WWII and the fastest American tracked armored vehicle until the M1 Abrams of 1980. As a tank destroyer, this thing was designed to destroy other tanks. What’s manlier than a tank built to eliminate its own kind? Not much.

Designed in 1942, the M18 entered service in 1943 and Buick turned out 2,507 of them through October of 1944. It’s powered by a 350 horsepower, Continental nine-cylinder radial engine. Top speed was 55 mph. Imagine one of these bearing down on you at top speed. Pretty frightening.

The pre-sale estimate is between $275,000-$350,000. WWII tanks in great condition trade hands for big money. They are both rare and desirable because of the generation of soldiers they represent. Click here for more info and here for more from Auctions America.

Update: Sold $247,500.

M3A5 Grant II

1942 Baldwin M3A5 Grant II

Offered by Auctions America | Portola Valley, California | July 11-12, 2014

Photo - Auctions America
Photo – Auctions America

The M3 Lee was designed prior to America’s entry into WWII. They were operational around the time Pearl Harbor was attacked. In 1942, a new variant, the M3A5 was introduced. The “Grant II” – as it was called – used a GM engine and was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works.

This tank was shipped new to Australia and uses a 12-cylinder diesel making 375 horsepower. It will do 25 mph and cost the new owner between $300,000-$400,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $276,000.


1942 GMC DUKW-353

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | December 8, 2012

Ah, the good ol’ Duck. Wanna start a tour company near a body of water? Then this is the vehicle for you. Easily one of the most popular and recognizable vehicles from WWII, these things are still in use all over the country – a testament to how good of an amphibious vehicle they really were. About 21,000 were made from 1942 through 1945 and they were shipped all over the world. Designed to hold 25 troops or 2.5-tons of cargo. It will do 45 mph on the road or 6.3 mph (yes that’s a decimal) on the water – conditions permitting – thanks to its 94 horsepower 4.4-liter straight-six. It’s super, super cool. Estimate: $50,000-$75,000. More info here.

Update: Sold $97,000.

Update II: Sold, Auctions America Auburn Spring 2017, $49,500.

WWII Latil

1939 Latil M2TL6 4×4 Tractor

All offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | December 8, 2012

Photo – Auctions America

Latil was a French manufacturer of heavy-duty trucks and tractors. Yes, this is another artillery tractor and you might be wondering why – but hey, when’s the next time I’ll get to feature a vehicle built by Latil? This one is faster on road than the Breda above – it will do 45 mph and has a 68 horsepower 4.1-liter straight-four. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000. More info here. And for the rest of the Auctions America lineup for this fantastically interesting sale, click here.

Update: Sold $10,000.

Autocar M3 Halftrack

1941 Autocar M3

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | December 8, 2012

Photo – Auctions America

This is, by far, one of my favorites of this sale. It has that classic look – as did most of the vehicles produced by White, Autocar and Diamond T. That slanted front where a radiator would usually be. And whatever that thing is hanging off the front. Classic.

About 12,000 of these were built for the U.S. war effort (about 41,000 half-tracks were built in total of all kinds for the U.S.). This one has a 148 horsepower 6.3-liter straight-six. It’s quick too, capable of 40 mph. More here.

Update: Sold $38,000.

Auto Union Half-Track

1944 Auto Union HL kl 6p

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | December 8, 2012

Photo – Auctions America

This Auto Union model was the final evolution of the 3-ton half-track. They were made for a short time in 1944 only and, due to material shortages in Germany at the time, the cabs were mostly finished with wood and/or cardboard. Classy. It’s powered by a 100 horsepower 4.2-liter Maybach straight-six. More here.

Update: Sold $75,000.