In a move opposite of the renowned $600 hammer, in 1965 the military opted for a militarized civilian vehicle rather than the custom designed and built vehicles that had been the norm since mid-World War II. Needing more trucks comparable to the M37, but hoping to save money by buying a truck that was in mass production, the M715 was born. This was an adaptation of the Kaiser-Jeep “Gladiator” pick-up.
The first production contract, for 20,680 vehicles, was awarded to Kaiser in March of 1966. Trucks began rolling off the assembly line in Toledo in January 1967. Additional contracts brought the production total to more than 30,500 M715 series trucks by the time production ceased in 1969.
The Gladiator tooling was used to create the grille, fenders, hood, doors and cab of the M715 family. Changes to the sheet metal stampings included opening up the upper part of the cab and doors to accommodate the military canvas cab top. Also, the front fenders were cut out to clear the military 9.00-16 tires. The new fold-down windshield resembled the one used on the M38A1.
The last of the M715 series to be built in Toledo were 43 prototypes ordered by the Army in December 1969. These M715s were slightly improved and intended for comparison tests against the Chevrolet XM705 1 1/4-ton truck design. Unfortunately for Kaiser-Jeep and Chevrolet, neither model was accepted.
The M715 was the first “M” series tactical vehicle to use primarily civilian commercial components. The cargo bed of the M715 was all new, unlike that of any other vehicle, military or civilian.
Weight: 5,500 pounds
Size (LxWxH): 209.75” x 85” x 95”
Max Speed: 60 mph
Range: 225 miles
Military Vehicles Magazine uses a given a value based on a 1-to-6 condition grading scale as follows:
1=Excellent: Restored to maximum professional standards, or a near-perfect original.
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.