The second life of GMC's

Fair ground and circus

Fair ground

In the 60s GMC's were quite common on fair grounds. A first example of that is shown in these pictures of the Riddering farmily. They transported their cakewalk 'Broadway Trip' with a GMC (courtesy of H. Riddering, Garmerwolde,
GMC van Riddering GMC van Riddering
GMC van Riddering GMC van Riddering

The Gigengack family from Hengelo also transported their merry-go-round by GMC's. On this picture the two trucks prepare for departure to a fair (courtesy of F. Gigengack).
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Two other examples of fair transport by GMC's (source: Stichting Kermiscultuur /
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First picture on the left: a GMC at the Palmgracht fair in Amsterdam in 1968. I'm quite sure that this truck belongs to a merry-go-round called 'De Spin'. It is owned by Dries van Dam. The same applies to the picture on the right. It was taken in 1967, also at the Palmgracht fair. Elsewhere you can find more details on the identification.
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Dries van Dam his brother Kobus also transported his merry-go-round with a GMC. Here it can be seen with its trailer (courtesy of Ton Coljée and Jaap Buijs.
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The archives of the council of Groningen contain a short movie showing a GMC trying to find his way amidst the public watching how the annual fair (probably 1952 or 1953) was built up. A direct link to the movie does no longer work. Go instead to the Groninger Archives by clicking on the picture below. Do not change the language to English but stick to the standard Dutch. Type the words 'kermis' and 'opbouw' in the box click the search ('zoek') button. Subsequently you will be shown a table with the words 'film fragmenten' at the bottom end. Click that line and choose 'Kermis II, Hömen'. It will bring you to the movie with the GMC-truck.
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Hard to find, maybe, but at the left and beyond doubt another GMC at the fair in Utrecht in 1968. Philippe Kessels reckognized the truck as it also frequented the fairs in his hometown Baarn between 1965 en 1974. The GMC had a winch, a post-war greyish-blue closed cab with white roof and a dark brown canvas tarp. Its main cargo was an electric power station. The GMC pulled a wooden cargo trailer/caravan combination (right hand side of picture) and transported a merry-go-round owned by the Van Hoorn family from Voorschoten.
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The picture below shows a typically Frech fair truck. In France 'forains' (fair entrepreneurs) are allowd to pull up to three trailers with one truck.

On the pictures below you can find examples of those road trains; right picture:  the Fichaux family featuring in the French magazine Charge Utile No. 57 (1997); left picture: another example of unknown origin.
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Rare but appreciasted because of its enormous space: the AFKWX (courtesy of Henk en Alex Vallentgoed).

An example from Italy: in the 50s Edoardo Sansottera transporte his bumper cars and merry-go-round with this GMC (courtesy of Riccardo and Roberto Sansottera).
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A GMC in Belgium transporting a merry-go-round (courtesy of Marcel Turelinckx).

Fair at the Dam square in Amsterdam (1954) showing a GMC of Bocken's bumper cars.
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This GMC is just leaving after breaking-up a fair in Eindhoven in 1959.

A merry-go-round with planes from Belgium (most probable manufacturer is Cherau, owner De Koninck - Van Dooren from Verviers) transported by two GMC 'road trains' (source: ).
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Hard to discern maybe, but this dodgems firm uses a GMC as a ticket office (coutesy of Henk Jansen bringing it to my attention).

Elongated GMC of Henk van Leeuwen his dodgems cars from Haarlem (coutesy of Henk Jansen bringing it to my attention).

Another GMC (preceded by a CMP Chevrolet/Ford), possibly belonging to the Spider on the right).

Another GMC truck at the fair of Gorredijk in 1960.

Two French fair ground GMC's (source: At first sight one and the same truck but have a look at the brushguard, lights and mirrors. The right one belongs to the Beausseron family from Bretagne, owners of dodgems cars.
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Another GMC on the fairground of Schiedam in 1951; check front axle: CCW instead of CCKW?.

Just visible within the frame: another GMC on the fair ground (archive of Leon vd Berg, brought to my attention by Henk Jansen).

GMC for dodgem transport owned by Dancelli family in Italy


The French circus Pinder has also used various GMC's. The left picture shows a workshop. Its main task was to recover other members of the Pinder fleet or to repair them underway. The black and white picture shows a cargo version that could well have inspired the modelers of Dinky Toys France when designing their famous No 881.
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The most left of the next two GMC's had a similar recovery task in 'Le Grand Cirque de France'.  Next to it two GMC's of the circus Radio Circus, followed by to GMC's of circus Demuynck (pictures taken by H. Linssen, courtesy of Henk van den Berg, author of the books 'Circustransport 1950-1970 (3 volumes), www.hollandcircus).
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These two GMC's worked for circus Demuynck (pictures taken by H. Linssen, courtesy of Henk van den Berg, author of Circustransport 1950-1970 (3 volumes),

Henk van den Berg included the following four GMC's in volume 3 of his book 'Circustransport'. The pictures were taken by H. Linssen. The first one shows a GMC of the Amar circus. The next ones refer to GMC's of the Pinder circus in one frame: the one used for erecting the tent poles, the cargo that inspired Dinky Toys and the workshop. The next picture shows the public watching the progress and the final one shows the 'Dinky' and the workshop once more.
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Another road train from the Pinder fleet and the well-known water tanker.

According to the Pinder Circus has used 8 diferent GMC's. B.t.w., sources have different opinions about number plates and fleet numbers. It is almost sure that Dinky Toys gave the wrong number plate to their 881: 33  J 37 instead of the correct 31 J 37.

1 GMC CCKW 352, closed cab, pole puller (number plate: 279 HD5, Pinder fleet number ?)
2 GMC CCKW 353, open cab, truck with high panels (number plate: 31 J 37, Pinder fleet number 48)
3 GMC CCKW 353, closed cab, mobile workshop (number plate: 32 J 37, Pinder fleet number 34)
4 GMC CCKW 353, open cab, pole puller (number plate: 33 J 37, Pinder fleet number 43)
5 GMC CCKW 353, open cab, tanker truck (number plate: 34 J 37, Pinder fleet number 10)
6 GMC CCKW 353, open cab, pole puller (number plate: 375 LF 37, Pinder fleet number 26)
7 GMC CCKW 353, closed cab without winch, mobile workshop (number plate: 646 HF 37, Pinder fleet number 24)
8. GMC CCKW 353, closed post-war cab, generator truck (number plate: 871 AQ 37, Pinder fleet number 130)

At the end of the 70s beginning of 80s the workshop body of Pinder fleet number 24 has been mounted on another chassis with winch and open cab, whilst keeping its original number plate and Pinder fleet number. This version still belongs to the oldtimer collection of the firm.


Even the American Biller circus used a GMC CCKW and carried advertisements for that brand on their GMC-dominated fleet.

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©2016 sinds/since 7 Jan 2005 gewijzigd/revised 31 Jan 2016