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The Willock Swivel Frame


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I was sent this today and thought it was an interesting invention by our Canadian friends.  Never heard of it before-

https://www.macsmotorcitygarage.com/the-truck-with-a-hinge-in-the-middle-the-willock-swivel-frame/

 

The Truck With a Hinge In the Middle: The Willock Swivel Frame

Posted on June 15, 2021 by MCG

1953-Dodge-Power-Wagon-Willock-Petersen-For the ultimate in off-road flexibility, in the 1950s a Canadian company offered a conversion for popular trucks that allowed the chassis to pivot in the middle.

 

Dodge-Power-Wagon-Willock-swivel-RR.jpg

 

As any off-road enthusiast will tell you, the trick to negotiating rough terrain with a 4×4 vehicle is keeping all four tires firmly planted on the ground. But naturally, there will be times when the surface becomes so uneven that even this basic task is no longer possible. To address this basic problem in the most direct way possible, in the early ’50s the Willock Truck Equipment Company of Vancouver, British Columbia came up with this solution: the Willock Swivel Frame. This conversion allowed the rear half of the vehicle to rotate on the chassis’ longitudinal axis, keeping all four wheels on earth.

 

WIllock-frame-swivel-detail.jpg

The photo above shows the simple yet rugged chassis modification. The frame rails were cut in half just behind the cab and a pair of extremely stout crossmembers were welded to the ends. A set of equally robust steel-backed, bronze bushings formed the chassis pivot, and while the loadings must have been enormous, the setup was quite reliable, reportedly.

Willock advertised the conversion for all popular truck makes (see brochure below) but  the modification was most popular on the 1946-up Dodge Power Wagon, already one of the most rugged off-road utility vehicles on the market at the time. Accounts vary, but reportedly somewhere between 40 and 100 Power Wagons were equipped with the Willock Swivel, and just as you would expect, the novel setup is highly sought after in the Power Wagon enthusiast community today. Owners report that despite the radical chassis modification, the setup drives just fine at road speeds on pavement. While the articulated chassis never caught on with consumer-sized off-road vehicles, the feature is commonplace in large dump trucks in the construction industry.

Lead photo courtesy of the Petersen Automotive Museum. 

Willock-Swivel-Frame-Brochure-edit-600.j

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I take it you haven't traveled to the Northern 95% of Canada. { Prairies excepted } A huge amount of landscape where one of these would come in handy.

 I have to say that I have never encountered one of these. And in the later 1970's worked part time just a few doors down the street from Willock. I expect they saw very hard use and many would have finished their working life before I was old enough to know what they were. 

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14 hours ago, 1912Staver said:

I take it you haven't traveled to the Northern 95% of Canada. { Prairies excepted } A huge amount of landscape where one of these would come in handy.

 I have to say that I have never encountered one of these. And in the later 1970's worked part time just a few doors down the street from Willock. I expect they saw very hard use and many would have finished their working life before I was old enough to know what they were. 

No I haven’t and not for lack of wanting to do it!  All my travels to Canada for work or pleasure were memorable in a good way. Pleasure trips were by motorcycle.  I can’t imagine needing a vehicle like this for traversing the local lay of the land. I would think farming on land like this is limited to raising animals not crops.  

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We are familiar with that design on a Vintage heavy duty ATV.

 

I don't have any pics, right now in front of me; but I will look. I had a couple of them.

 

The ATV was an EAGLE.; and it was a higher priced copy of the COOT.  Two different companies with the same design.  I would guess early to mid 1960's

 

Both were amphibious; so there were seals involved at the pivot/driveshaft area. If You can imagine two (2) square metal boxes, about 5 foot square, boxes.  Engine gearbox and driver in front box and cargo or passengers in rear box. I know the Eagle used a big Tecumseh engine.  Had military style, Jeep,  tires.  Go anywhere  and slow as heck.

 

If anybody wants pics I will look some up.

 

The design was exact to the first poster's truck.

 

motormart

  

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On 6/21/2021 at 8:24 AM, TerryB said:

No I haven’t and not for lack of wanting to do it!  All my travels to Canada for work or pleasure were memorable in a good way. Pleasure trips were by motorcycle.  I can’t imagine needing a vehicle like this for traversing the local lay of the land. I would think farming on land like this is limited to raising animals not crops.  

 

Relatively little agriculture here in British Columbia. The economic backbone of this province has for most of our history been resource based. Forestry and mining along with fishing. Much the same in the Northern 3/4 's of Eastern Canada. A large percentage of British Columbia is quite rugged terrain. The population centres are in the lower regions { elevation } but lots of economic activity in the "wilderness " areas. These trucks were intended as work trucks once a cat roughed out a path. B.C is a BIG place with relative few " real roads ". But people still have to get into almost every part of the geography.

 

Geography of British Columbia - WikipediaUKMap.jpg

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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To me it is no surprise that something like this was produced in Vancouver.  The provinces economy is resource based.  Only 5% of the land area is arable, the rest is mountainous and heavily forested.  Gaining access to forestry and mining operations often means pushing roads into some pretty rugged country, so having a vehicle like this would have been an asset.

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