Here is a vehicle that many of you have never seen before and probably never will see again. It’s a 1953 Liteway, later know as the Road King. The concept behind the Liteway was to maximize payload through the use of an aluminum body and frame. Weighing in at just 18,000 lbs and with a cargo capacity of 42,000 lbs I would say the original goal was met. Power was provided by a rear mounted White 150 gas engine connected to a 10 speed Road Ranger. Twin Timken steering axles made for an interesting front end.
Below are the words of the original listing which contains quite a few jewels of information.
The truck up for Auction is a Liteway. It is a prototype carrier vehicle built in 1953 by the McBright Corporation of Lehighton, Pennsylvania. The truck was built to carry a maximum pay load while conforming with city codes. Built entirely out of aluminum (produced by the Reynolds Company, their first foray into the automobile industry) it weighs 18,000 lbs. and can carry a load of 42,000 lbs. for a total weight of 60,000 lbs. It is 36 feet long. I purchased the truck from an individual after spotting it parked at his residence in Port Jervis, New York while eating lunch at a diner. He told me he had used it commercially as a Cargo Vehicle. Because it is a Prototype, the truck does not have a traditional VIN number, only Model No. TT 000-001. After purchasing the truck, and about a week of tinkering, I drove it home to New Jersey. A friend and I took a trip to Lehighton to see if we could find out anything further about the Liteway. We met some Old Timers who remembered the McBright Corporation and one Gentleman (who actually still owned stock in the McBright Corporation and was the Brother of one of Engineers, Sid Heisner, now deceased). He gave me the number of his Niece who helped me get in touch with her Brother Robert Heisner, the Son of Sid Heisner. Turns out, the truck was designed and built by a team of Aeronautically trained men from World War II. In talking with Robert he sent me photographs, brochures, and newspaper articles. He also put me in touch with Roy Handwerk who worked for McCoullough Motors which I understand was the reorganization of McBright Corp. after they decided that Liteway was not a strong enough name for the truck. They had changed the name to Road King. I also met Mr. Moyer, the Comptroller of the McBright Corp.,who gave me stationary from the McBright Corp. with their Letterhead and an original Road King sales brochure. He also sent me a seven page letter with his memories of his days working at McBright and driving one of the first Road King Trucks.
My Friend, having been a SAC mechanic in the 8th Air Force, noticed the Aeronautic rivets and bulk head wiring. Presently, the original White 150A engine is in the truck and mounted in the rear. The motor is seized and the motor mount bracket is cracked. I was told that they had an agreement with White that if they had engine trouble a White mechanic could change the engine in the field. This would take one hour to complete. The Liteway is unibody constructed, no chassis. The truck has twin steering made by Timkens Axles Corporation. Air accelerator and air clutch. It also has power assist steering by Bendix Westinghouse.
I’ve kept the truck for 30 years now and it is in the exact condition it was when I found it. The Liteway, dubbed the “Truck of Tomorrow” by William McCoullough, Vice President of McBright Corporation, is a piece of automotive history. The engineering was ahead of its time for the day and it is the predecessor of the Road King. From what I was told, there were only 3 of this Model built so I believe that with the number TT 000-001, mine is the first off the assembly line. I am hoping that the truck goes into the right hands and will be preserved.
I totally agree with the seller. This truck is unique piece of Automotive history and should be preserved. Will it be you who steps up to the plate?
Click here to visit the listing.