UPDATE: In the links section at the bottom of the page original photos from 1944-1945 made by a soldier who actually drove a Dragon Wagon during the second world war.
The Pacific Car & Foundry Co. of Seattle was asked by the United States government in 1942 to build a 6x6 tank transporter. The Fruehauf Trailer Company of Detroit built the transporter's 40-ton capacity low-loading trailer. The tractor was designed by the Knuckey Truck Company of San Francisco but they were not able to produce the truck in the numbers required by the army (they did build a number of them) so the job to build most of what was needed went to Pacific.
The tractors were designated TR-1 by the company and were powered by the Hall-Scott type 440 240bhp 6-cylinder gasoline engines. Hall-Scott designed the 440 engine exclusively for the TR-1 and built around 2100 of them. In the post-war years many of the Pacific tractors survived as heavy-haulage tractors but were largely re-engined with diesels and fitted with non-armoured civilian cabs. The Hall-Scott engines had an enourmous fuel consumption of more than one litre per kilometer, so not many new owners kept the enigne.
The army called it the M25 Tank Transporter 'Dragon Wagon', consisting of a Truck, 12-ton, 6 x 6, Tractor, M26 (Pacific) and a Semi-trailer, 40-ton, M15 (Fruehauf).
Later the M26A1 soft cab version was created, because the cab armouring usually was not needed but it added 1.5 ton extra weight to the vehicle which the front axle couldn't handle well.
The tractor is supposed to have four wheels on each rear axle, but because of French regulations the extra wheels were removed, otherwise the tractor would have been too wide for the roads. Pierre Phliponeau, and his group, UNIVEM Paris, are keeping this fantastic machine operating.
In 1947 three former executives of the Hayes Mfg. Co. set up Pacific Truck & Trailer Ltd to build heavy-duty logging trucks suited to the tough Canadian lumber industry. I think this is a separate company from Pacific Car & Foundry, but have had trouble finding more information about this.
When I saw this TR-1 in Normandy in 2004 I fell in love with it at once. If you, dear reader, know where one might be for sale, in any condition, please do not hesitate to let me know at kees.stravers at iae.nl
Photo's made by, and the story of Joe Spagnolo who drove a Dragon Wagon in the war
More information about the Dragon Wagon here and here
Many detailed pictures of the Dragon Wagon here
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