The Flying Heritage Collection’s M55 self-propelled gun is a local hero of sorts. The machine was built by Pacific Car and Foundry Company (PACCAR), right here in Washington State. The company began by making logging equipment and railroad cars in West Seattle in 1905.
During World War II, PACCAR grew substantially, supplying metal for ships, bridges, buildings, highways, and even for Boeing-built B-17 bombers. Familiarity with trucks and heavy steel made PACCAR a great candidate to make tanks. They built around 900 M4A1 Sherman tanks during the war and supplied parts for many more. The Flying Heritage Collection’s Sherman tank, built in Chicago, contains a few components cast with the “circle P” of PACCAR. The company also made two 95-ton T28 super heavy tanks.
By Korea, PACCAR was a prime military contractor, building both M53 and M55 self-propelled guns, including the FHC’s M55. PACCAR is still around today, of course. It is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of heavy and medium duty trucks including both Kenworth and Peterbilt.
Cory Graff is the military aviation curator at Flying Heritage Collection.