Of the two trucks, it is my opinion the '53 would be the more desirable starting point for what you ultimately want. Good points have been made by other friendly opinions on both trucks. Having experience driving both M and R big trucks, the '53 will be more comfortable to drive, the 2 speed rear axle is a big plus. R trucks have more interior room and simply are easier to drive. I own a low mileage M16 with the two speed axle and it drives well on the highway, but interior space really becomes a problem for longer trips, especially for those of us who no longer have a younger, slimmer body mass.
Restoring/recreating the '53 will be easier as it now stands. Then, you will be able to create the body and equipment as you want it. Even if you purchased the M for a sum you could live with, you would still have to spend a lot of $$$ to make it serve your needs. The expense of getting the M to your home could be used to purchase items of equipment to create what would fit your needs.
Just one man's opinion. Best of luck.
Locust Grove, VA
Posted on Aug 9, 2012, 11:31 AM from IP address 184.108.40.206