Produced to replace the WWII-vintage Dodge WC-54 and WC-64 KD ambulances, the M43 Ambulance is a member of G-741 3/4 ton 4x4 truck family (G-741) With the exception of a slightly longer wheelbase, the M43 shares most of the specifications of the M37 cargo truck. The M43’s wheelbase of 126 inches is the same as the V41 Telephone Maintenance truck.

The steel ambulance body, however, is quite different from the G-741 M37 or M42 trucks. The M43 body combines the driver’s compartment and litter compartment into one extended unit, Each side of the rear body supports two litter racks that can be folded up and latched to the wall to accommodate upright passengers on bench-style seating.

Furthermore, a heating and ventilating system is built into the body with a surgical light and a dome light illuminating the litter area. A folding step on the rear of the vehicles provides access to double doors.

Ca. 1958 photo showing an evacuation drill using an M43 ambulance.

Ca. 1958 photo showing an evacuation drill using an M43 ambulance. 

Dodge produced the M43 ambulance from January 1951 to July 1954, with a few delivered after that date.

Beginning in 1952, Dodge filled orders from the Canadian Army and Air Force for ambulances. Designated the M43CDN, the trucks were fitted with a Chrysler Canada-produced T249 250.6 cid engine along with a different transmission and PTO. Otherwise the The M43CDN is not visually discernible from the M43. Dodge delivered 409 M43CDNs before production ended in 1955.

Leroy Ross' M43 shows how the top litters can be folded down to carry a total of four litter-carried wounded.

Leroy Ross' M43 shows how the top litters can be folded down to carry a total of four litter-carried wounded. 

From 1959 to 1968, Dodge produced the M43B1 ambulance. This version incorporated changes and updates made to the changes to the base M37 cargo truck that were the designated as the M37B1. For example, early M37s and M43s used Douglas (metal), waterproof wiring connectors, while the M37B1 and M43B1 used Packard (rubber) wiring connectors. All M43 and M43B1 ambulances however, had the swing-out spare tire mount on the driver’s side door.

The M43 and M43B1 ambulances were produced with and without front-mounted winches.

Federal Stock Numbers: 

Truck, Ambulance, 3/4 Ton 4x4 M43: FSN 2310-835-8516
Truck, Ambulance, 3/4 Ton 4x4 M43B1: FSN 2310-542-4634
Truck, Ambulance, 3/4 Ton 4x4 M43 w/winch: FSN 2310-835-8617

M43 and M43B1 Ambulance Price Guide

Prices update March 2021

Prices update March 2021

Unprecedented sale or new trend? Rock Island Auction Company sold this M43 in 2018 for a staggering $21,850.

Unprecedented sale or new trend? Rock Island Auction Company sold this M43 in 2018 for a staggering $21,850.

This M43B1 ambulance sold at the Jacques Littlefield auction in 2014 for $34,500. Should these auction spikes be regarded as anomalies or baseline for current pricing trends? 

This M43B1 ambulance sold at the Jacques Littlefield auction in 2014 for $34,500. Should these auction spikes be regarded as anomalies or baseline for current pricing trends? 

Decoding Condition and Values

Like any collectible vehicle, the price of any historic military vehicle (HMV) is based on a combination of three factors: Condition, rarity, and popularity.

A vehicle can be rare but if it isn’t interesting, it won’t be as valuable as an equally uncommon, popular vehicle. Rarity is determined by two factors: Production quantity and survivability. The rarity of vehicles in this guide are rated on a scale of 1 through 5 (1 being the most common and 5 the scarcest). “Rare,” however, doesn’t always mean “valuable.” It has to be desirable, as well.

A “preserved vehicle” is maintained in a “state of suspended animation.” All the flaws, scratches and rust that are present when the vehicle is “discovered” are preserved. While this style of collecting is more popular with vehicle enthusiasts overseas than in this country, it is commonplace in other areas of collecting such as furniture.

The single factor that drives price is — and will always be — condition. Another factor affecting price will be the quality of the restoration.

The term “restoration” is often ill-defined or improperly used in the historic military vehicle hobby. What some call a restoration is actually a “representation,” and sadly, sometimes, only a “characterization.” For a true military vehicle restoration, one must know the history of that particular vehicle. Once known, it is then important to define to what time frame the vehicle is to be restored. This could be as it appeared as it left the factory, or at any subsequent time (June 6, 1944; March 3, 1952, etc.).

The difference between “restoration” and a “representation” is often misunderstood. An example of this could be rebuilding, painting, and marking a Jeep to look like one driven on the beach at Normandy, even though the Jeep you own never left North America. While not a true restoration, this style of “representation” is the most popular with collectors.

Our pricing guidelines follow the standard set years ago by Old Cars Weekly. It uses a 1 to 6 condition grading scale:

1=Excellent: Restored to maximum professional standards, or a near-perfect original — 99+ points on MVPA judging scale.

2=Fine: Well-restored, or a combination of superior restoration and excellent original parts.

3=Very Good: Complete and operable original or older restoration, or a very good amateur restoration with all presentable and serviceable parts inside and out.

4=Good: Functional or needing only minor work to be functional. Also, a deteriorated restoration or poor amateur restoration.

5=Restorable: Needs complete restoration of body, chassis, and interior. May or may not be running, but is not wrecked, weathered or stripped to the point of being useful only for parts.

6=Parts Vehicle: Deteriorated beyond the point of restoration. 

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*Buyer's Guide: M37 3/4-ton Dodge

*Military ambulances of WWII

*The WWII WC-54 Dodge Ambulance

*The M725 Ambulance

*Jeeps that served as military ambulances

*As an Amazon Associate, Military Trader / Military Vehicles earns from qualifying purchases.

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