The DUKW (55a) was base upon a military vehicle which had been built in the USA, but which was used extensively by the British army in World War Two. The real vehicle was a 2.5 ton GMC Amphibian Truck which had been a secret weapon until June 1943. Its purpose was to transport supplies and soldiers from ships to the coast. It proved to be of great benefit during the Normandy landings and featured prominently in D-Day Commemorative television programmes. After the war it was put to good use in a variety of circumstances, not least for rescues in times of flood.
The phototype actual vehicle took just 38 days to complete and 'DUKW' were its code letters. It was known as a 'DUCK' works in the USA and by the soliders who used it in action during the invasion of Sicily. The Matchbox model had a smaller scale body when compared with the rest of the army vehicles in the '1-75' range and perhaps because of this it did not sell as well as the larger scale military vehicles.
Metal wheels were fitted to the first released to the first releases but subsequently either grey or black plastic wheels were used. It was the last Matchbox military model to be fitted with metal wheels. There are no casting variations with the DUKW and the only three recorded variations centre upon the three types of wheels. Only the black plastic wheels were fitted with rounded axles. The matal and grey plastic wheels always featured crimped axles. --Model Collector