There are almost infinite variations of vehicles, even of the same model. The pricing shown in this update represents current market trends for typical examples of the vehicle.
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 — 98.5+ 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.
Buy the best you can afford. Restoring a vehicle will always be more expensive than buying a finished project.
We want to thank all who contributed their expertise on values including (in no particular order): Jim Gilmore, John Bizal, George Baxter, John Emery, Dave Newman, Russ Morgan, David Doyle, and Peter DeBella
Before You Buy…
It’s that time of year when a collector’s mind drifts into daydreams of buying and driving a historic military vehicle. Whether the object of that fantasy is a jeep, deuce-and-a-half or maybe even a tank, there are few things to keep in mind when buying your first historic military vehicle.
TWO KINDS OF BUYERS
While there may be many subsets, there are essentially two approaches to buying an historic military vehicle: “Impulse” or “Methodical.” Neither is “correct.” Both have merits and both have pitfalls. I will guarantee, though, if you have read this far, you have already moved from the category of “impulse buyer” to that of “methodical” buyer.
To recap, however, an impulse buyer is the guy who wakes up not realizing that by the end of the day, he will be a historic military vehicle owner. The impetus of the impulse might be as simple as driving by a vehicle with a “For Sale” in the window or just browsing eBay during lunch.
Regardless, the impulse buyer doesn’t put a lot of thought up front in the decision making process. He tends to believe, “It will all turn out okay.” The impulse buyer is a good guy to know, because sooner or later, his impulses will drive him to a new interest. That historic military vehicle that he just had to have will become so much clutter to him. You may be able to buy it for a song, just to get it out of the way for the next product of his impulse response.
If you have read this far, you can already call yourself a “methodical” buyer, because you have slowed down your searching for a vehicle to see if there is something more you should consider. But just calling yourself a methodical buyer, doesn’t mean you are automatically a “smart” buyer. To earn that precarious title, there are a few basic things you should do before you hand over the check.
MVM’s 20 PRE-PURCHASES POINTS TO CONSIDER
Military Vehicles Magazine has worked out a list of things an informed buyer should consider when examining a vehicle. Our technical editor, Steve Turchet, is to be credited for establishing this historic military vehicle (HMV) checklist, something that has become a hobby standard.
1 - TIME OF DAY: Never inspect a vehicle at night, even in a lighted garage. Darkness has a way of making things appear better than they really are. (Remember Ben Franklin’s famous quote, “All cats are gray in the dark?” He wasn’t talking about military vehicles, but the same principal applies!) Daylight is always best.
2 - DON’T BUY A VEHICLE WITHOUT A TITLE. Ask if the seller has a clear title or all of the documents necessary to legally transfer and register/license the vehicle, and ask to see them. Check that the vehicle’s I.D. number on its data plate matches the number on the paperwork. Nothing will cause you more grief as a historic military vehicle owner than not having a clear title.
3 - GENERAL APPEARANCE: Unless you are buying a restored vehicle, general appearance—is not important. However, if the vehicle is very dented, scarred, muddy or dirty, this usually means it was used hard. If a cargo vehicle, check the bed for signs of severe use or overloading. Check for rust in body parts, especially under cargo beds, in the lower portions of the body, cab and doors.
4 - MILEAGE: Don’t pay much attention to the miles shown on the odometer because it’s very common for HMV speedometers to be switched or replaced. “Low mileage” should be the norm for HMVs, not the exception. A more accurate judgment of mileage and use can usually be made by checking the wear on the clutch, brake and accelerator pedals, as well as the wear on the driver’s side door latch mechanism.
5 - ENGINE, GENERAL: It should be fairly clean. It should start easily both warm and cold, run and idle smoothly, and there shouldn’t be any deep knocking sounds to warn of loose rod or main bearings. Also listen for loose piston pins, which will generally be most apparent on highway acceleration at about 30-35 mph.
6 - ENGINE OIL: Check for correct oil level on the dipstick, and look for milky or greenish oil, which usually indicates a water leak from a head gasket or cracked block, but don’t confuse this with a little green or white scum that you may find in the oil filler tube. The latter is normal. Also check for oil or bubbles in the radiator when the engine is running, which usually indicates a water leak in a cylinder. Oil pressure when hot should run around 40-45 psi when driving (or about midway on the gauge) and about 10-15 psi at idle.
7 - ENGINE SMOKE: No smoke is ideal. “White smoke” is usually steam and normal when an engine is cold. However, if it continues after an engine has warmed up, it often indicates a leaking head gasket or serious problems such as a cracked head or block. Blue smoke indicates oil burning and that there is almost always something seriously wrong. Black smoke indicates too much fuel. Black smoke is fairly normal upon hard acceleration but should not persist.
8 - ENGINE COMPRESSION: Doing a compression test on the engine is a smart idea, but pay more attention to the consistency of readings between the cylinders rather than how high the compression is: there should not be more than a 20 psi difference between the lowest and highest cylinder readings. Low compression on two adjacent cylinders usually indicates that the head gasket is leaking between them.
9 - ENGINE ACCESSORIES: Shake the fan—with the engine off, naturally—to check for loose water pump bearings. Listen for whining or squealing sounds that may indicate worn out generator or alternator bearings. Also check the condition of the fan belt. A lot of black dust around the front of an engine usually indicates slipping or misaligned fan belts.
10 - COOLING SYSTEM: Look for badly rusted or leaking soft plugs in the engine block, and check for radiator leaks. If it appears that the radiator has been spewing water from the overflow pipe, indicating chronic overheating, the thermostat may be stuck closed and/or the engine block may be badly rusted inside. Check the radiator hoses for old age and cracks. Hoses should be flexible; extreme hardness indicates old age. A very soft or flabby feel indicates internal rot.
11 - GEAR OIL: Check the gear oil levels in the transmission, transfer case and axle differentials. Look for water (greenish color) and metal particles in the oil. Gear oil should be fairly clean: black or tarry indicates very old, worn out oil.
12 - LEAKS: Look underneath the vehicle when it is warmed up and running for oil leaks from the engine, transmission, transfer case, and axles, though a few drips here or there are normal for most vintage HMVs.
13 - CLUTCH: Check for proper free play of the clutch pedal—about an inch and a half—and listen for a noisy clutch release bearing when the clutch pedal is depressed. If the vehicle shudders when letting out the clutch from a stop, it may mean the clutch disk is worn out, the flywheel is warped, and/or there is oil on the clutch disk. Loose or broken engine and transmission mounts are another possibility.
14 - BRAKES: Check that the brake pedal doesn’t go more than halfway to the floorboard before the brakes take hold the first time you step on it. Having to pump the pedal several times before the brakes take hold may only mean that the shoes need adjusting, or it could indicate that the shoes are worn out.
If the vehicle pulls to one side every time you step on the brakes, there may be oil or grease on the shoes or pads. Metallic scraping sounds often indicate badly worn shoes or pads. On disk brakes, inspect the rotors and pads for wear. If the brake pedal vibrates when stepped on, it usually indicates warped drums or rotors. The parking brake should hold the vehicle on most reasonable inclines.
15 - CSI: Snoop in places like under the seats, way back in the glove box, and in the tool compartments on the sides of the bed for items such as several cans of brake fluid, STP or radiator stop-leak. A single can of brake fluid may only show that the truck’s owner was prepared, but two or three usually indicate brake problems. Old receipts in the glove box can go a long way to backing up a seller’s claims of installing new or rebuilt parts and/or of having repairs done.
16 - WIRING: Examine all the wiring for frayed spots or rotten insulation. Check to be sure all the lights are working, as well as the instruments, especially the oil pressure and temperature gauges. See that the ammeter or voltmeter shows that the batteries are charging at any engine speed above idle. Also check the windshield wipers and horn for proper operation.
17 - STEERING: Check for excessive play in the steering system, and try to determine whether it is in the tie rods, drag link or the steering box. Jack the front wheels off the ground and shake them to check for loose wheel bearings and worn out steering-knuckle bushings.
18 - TIRES: Check for obvious wear, damage and excessive aging. Examine the front tires for cupping or irregular wear, which usually indicates misalignment, and/or loose steering knuckle or wheel bearings. Be wary if the rear tires are cupped but not the front: this usually means they have been switched around.
19 - TEST DRIVE: Let the seller drive first and pay attention to how he treats the vehicle. While one would logically assume a seller would baby a vehicle in such situations, this is not always the case.
Listen for loud howls or whines from the drive train. Most older model transfer cases whine because of the arrangement of their gears, but they should not scream. Lots of rumbling vibration that gets louder the faster you go may indicate loose universal joints or yokes, or bent or unsynchronized drive shafts. It is fairly common for older Jeeps to jump out of second gear on compression, but most other HMVs don’t. There should be no front end shimmy, a lot of drive train vibration, or much body rattle.
20 - SECOND LOOK: If possible, always come back the next day for another look at the vehicle. In the time between inspections, review your checklist in private without the seller hovering about you. This will give you a chance to check your references, contact other knowledgeable hobbyists and prepare yourself to look at certain problem areas again. You will always find things you missed on the first inspection. A second look will often prevent “buyers remorse.”
NOT “ONE IN A MILLION” - Patience is often the very best attribute you can carry to a potential purchase deal. There are very few, truly “one of kind” vehicles in this hobby. If there is one, there is probably another one just waiting for you to discover it. Don’t become an “impulse buyer with regrets.”
It is important to remember that most military vehicles were produced in the thousands. Don’t be afraid to walk away if your pre-inspection doesn’t produce good results. There will always be another vehicle to purchase. — Steve Turchet
AND NOW THE MAIN EVENT...
G-503 Ford GPW and Willys MB 1/4-ton
With the Jeep’s design having been standardized as that of the Willys MB, a second source of supply was sought. Ford was licensed to build copies of the Willys design, to which Ford assigned its model designation GPW, with “G” meaning it was a government contract vehicle, “P” indicating it was an 80-inch wheelbase reconnaissance car, and “W” referring to the Willys-design engine.
The first 25,808 MBs had what is now known as a “slat grille.” This was a welded assembly of heavy bar stock. Vehicles produced after June 1942 used the now familiar lightweight stamped-steel grille (now the registered trademark of Jeep). The stamped grille was not only lighter, but also reportedly could be produced for about one third the cost of the fabricated unit it replaced. The early models had “Willys” embossed in the rear body panel and are known as “script” Jeeps. Add 20% to the value for script and /or slat grille jeeps.
Like the MB, Ford’s earliest models had the maker’s name embossed in script on the rear panel. The grille was of fabricated steel construction until Jan. 6, 1942. Then Ford introduced the stamped steel grille, which was later ironically registered as a trademark for Chrysler’s Jeep.
Ford built its own bodies at the Lincoln plant until the fall of 1943. Then Ford began buying bodies from American Central, which was already supplying bodies to Willys. After only a short time, representatives of Ford, Willys and the Ordnance Department met and created the composite body, which incorporated the best features of each maker’s body. This body is what is now known as the composite body, and it was used by both Ford and Willys from January 1944 onward, although a few were used during the last months of 1943.
Throughout the production of the 277,896 GPWs, Ford marked many of the components with the Ford “F” logo. Among these components were pintle hooks, fenders, bolts, etc. Due to materials shortages, non-F-marked parts were sometimes substituted on the assembly line.
The script Ford name on the rear panel was discontinued in July 1942. Add 20% to the value for script jeeps.
Ford built the GPW at six plants: Louisville, Dallas, Edgewater, Richmond, Calif., Chester, Pa., and of course Ford’s huge Rouge complex.
As a rule, the most readily spotted difference between the MB and the GPW involves the front cross member. This is a tubular member on Willys vehicles, and an inverted U-channel on the Ford.
G-740 M38 1/4-ton Truck
Even before WWII had drawn to a close, efforts were made to standardize as many components as possible to simplify supply problems, as well as to improve the overall quality of the vehicles.
Advancements such as 24-volt electrical systems, waterproof ignition, and a deepwater fording ability markedly improved the combat readiness of the vehicles.
Though work was begun in 1948, the M38 was always regarded as a stopgap vehicle. The M38 was slightly larger and heavier than its World War II MB counterpart, but resembled its ancestor and used a power plant very much like that of the World War II era “Go-Devil” engine. Still, with the increased weight of the vehicle, the flat head four cylinder was underpowered.
Continuing a pattern established earlier with the MA and MB, the M38 was given the Willys model number MC.
From 1950 until 1952, Willys produced 45,473 M38 Jeeps. A rare few were equipped with a PTO-driven winch.
G-758 M38A1 1/4-ton Truck
Because of the increased size and weight of the M38 compared to its predecessors, performance suffered. A more powerful engine was desired. It was found in the F-head Willys “Hurricane” engine. However, this engine was taller and the vehicle had to be redesigned to accommodate it. This resulted in the most profound difference between a base vehicle and its A1 successor in Army military history, the M38A1, or in Willys terms, the MD. The changes were so extensive that the new version was even given its own G-number, G-758.
Production of the M38A1 began by Willys-Overland Motors in 1952. Many scholars believe the M38A1 to be the last “real” military Jeep.
By the end of production, 80,290 vehicles had been produced for use by the U.S. military and an additional 21,198 units for other countries. M38A1 CDNs were built by Ford of Canada during the 1950s, then by Kaiser-Jeep in Windsor, Ontario in the 1960s. The Netherlands used its own domestic-built version of the M38A1. The Dutch-built Jeeps were assembled at the “Nederlandse Kaiser-Frazer” (NEKAF) factory in Rotterdam, in part using U.S.-made components supplied by Willys. The first of the 4,000 initial “Nekaf Jeeps” was delivered on May 28, 1955. When the last of the Dutch Jeeps was completed in 1962, almost 8,000 had been built.
Off-road performance of the Jeep was improved with the M38A1 by installing larger 7.00-16 tires, providing greater ground clearance, and the improved transmission, allowing easier shifting under adverse conditions.
The more powerful F-head engine allowed the new vehicle to handle the increased payload specification as well as keep up with the rest of the faster M-series vehicle family.
G838 M151 Series 1/4-ton Truck
Design work on the M151 Military Utility Tactical Truck (MUTT) began even before its predecessor, the M38A1, was produced. It would be 1959, however, before Ford’s design and pilot model stages resulted in a production contract. Delivery of the M151 began in March 1960. In 1962, Willys Motors, underbid Ford and began producing 14,625 vehicles.
Because the rear suspension buckled or collapsed under burden, a high-strength rear suspension was introduced. The new vehicle was designated the M151A1. Production began in December 1963 at Willys Motors. In January 1964, the company’s name changed to Kaiser-Jeep Corp.
In 1964, Ford regained the contract and production restarted in January 1965 and continued into 1969.
The independent “A” frame used on M151s and M151A1s was replaced with a semi-trailing arm suspension. The redesigned vehicle was designated the “M151A2” and sported improvements over the earlier versions, including a deep-dish steering wheel, larger composite marker and tail lights, electric windshield wipers, and a more reliable mechanical fuel pump.
Ford began producing the M151A2 in 1969. AM General won the next contract and produced the trucks from 1972 until the end of production in 1982. Values of early M151s are about 20% higher than the A1 or A2 models
G-843 “Mighty Mite” 1/4-ton Truck
Mid-America Research Corporation designed the M422 for the United States Marine Corps to fill the requirement for a small, lightweight, low-profile vehicle that could be transported by helicopter for their new “Vertical Envelopment” tactics. The result was a 4x4 with an aluminum body and an aluminum, air-cooled, 108-cid V-4 engine. Dubbed the “Mighty Mite,” the rugged vehicle weighed just less than 1 ton.
Two versions were built: The M422 (1,250 vehicles) and the M422A1 (2,672). The most obvious difference is the latter is six inches longer, has the rear seats on the rear fender top, and the presence of an additional reinforcing rib in the body in the area near the front seat and rear wheel well.
G-502 Dodge 3/4-ton Command Cars
The 3/4-ton Dodge is probably second only to Jeeps in popularity with collectors of World War II military vehicles. There were a variety of trucks in this series — cargo trucks, ambulances, command cars, even antitank weapons.
This series had its roots in the earlier Dodge 1/2-ton G-505 trucks which, while nice, left the military wanting for something more. The “more” was to be delivered starting in 1942 with these 3/4-ton trucks that had the Dodge engineering designation “T214.” The G-502 series was standardized by OCM item 19107.
The style of these vehicles has made them very sought after by collectors and movie producers. It seems anyone with any importance in a war movie must ride in one of these trucks, probably because the open top allows the star to be seen and the dual bench seat creates a chauffeur-driven look. For the military, however, the purpose of this vehicle was to convey officers while providing them with an excellent field of view of the battle zone.
The WC-56 did not have a winch, while the harder to find WC-57 used the same MU-2 that was mounted on the WC-52 cargo trucks. The third variant, the WC-58, was essentially a WC-56 equipped with a full suite of radio equipment in the back seat and a new data plate. Only 2,344 of the WC-58 were built, making these the scarcest of the Dodge 3/4-ton command-type vehicles.
Production of all these command type of trucks was discontinued in April 1944, in part due to their distinct appearance, drawing unwanted attention from the enemy.
WC-51 and WC-52 3/4-ton Dodge Trucks
If you are looking for a WWII-era vehicle that is larger than a Jeep but small enough to fit in an average home garage, then a WC would be an excellent choice. Except for Jeeps, Dodge 3/4-ton trucks of WWII are probably the most popular military vehicles with collectors and drivers today. The 3/4 ton WC Dodges were basically improved models of the 1/2-ton Dodge 4x4s of pre- and early WWII production. The 3/4-ton trucks can be most easily differentiated from the 1/2 models by their flat grilles (the 1/2 trucks usually had rounded grilles).
WC-51s and WC-52s Weapons Carriers are nearly identical. The primary differences are that the WC-51 has no winch, whereas the WC-52 has a 7,500 lb front-mounted winch and a longer frame to accommodate it.
Production began in 1942, and many thousands were built. Almost three quarters of Dodge’s 255,195 total 3⁄4-ton G-502 WC series production were either WC-51s (123,541) or WC-52s (59,114).
The G-502 family of trucks very simple, rugged vehicles that were easy to maintain and repair with basic tools. When it comes to the WC-51 and the winch-bearing WC-52, parts and accessories are readily available with many essentials components available as NOS or as reproduction.
Although feeling heavy and underpowered by today’s standards, WCs are comfortable trucks to drive. A WC will make a good daily-driver, as long as you don’ have to travel on freeways — the safe cruising speed is 45 mph.
While these trucks have no common faults or quirks, they are prone to breaking axle shafts and drive train components due to age and metal fatigue.
If you are considering a WC for restoration, do a lot of research into the model or variant one is interested in. This is relatively simple due to the large number of extant vehicles. As with all historic military vehicles, buy the manual before you buy the vehicle — it is one of the best investments you will make.
G-741 M37 Dodge 3/4-ton Truck
With the success of the World War II military Dodges, it was only natural that the Army turned to Dodge for an updated design in the late 1940s when the M-series vehicles were in their infancy.
These vehicles incorporated the lessons learned during the war, including the key M-series design elements of 24-volt sealed, waterproof ignition, improved weather protection, organic deep water fording ability and standardized ancillary equipment.
A synchronized transmission replaced the World War II-era crash box, and a two-speed transfer case was used, allowing manual engagement of the front axle as well as an additional reduction range. The six-cylinder engine of the WC-series was enlarged and reinforced for the new trucks. Steel doors with roll-up glass windows were a major improvement.
The M37 was slightly narrower than its World War II counterpart. This provided a tactical benefit and was a definite improvement when operating off-road in wooded or rocky areas.
Production of pilot models for the new design was begun in the spring of 1950 and, in January 1951, mass-production began. The initial series production ended in January 1955.
The M37 tooling was placed in storage until February 1958, when it was dusted off and slightly modified to incorporate minor changes to accommodate a new style transmission and relocated spare tire mounting. The first of these new vehicles, designated M37B1, was completed in April of 1958. Except for 1960, the demands of the military, especially as the war in Vietnam escalated, were such that M37B1s were built every year through 1968.
The M37 family was the last series-produced, medium weight, specially-designed tactical truck purchased by the U.S. military until the advent of the HMMWV.
M939 Series 5-ton Truck
Introduced in 1983, the M939 series of 5-ton trucks was essentially a Product Improvement Package upgrade of the M809 series of 5-ton, 6x6 trucks. AM General Corporation built the initial M939s as well as the M939A1s. Beginning in 1989, Bowen-McLaughlin-York produced the M939A2 trucks with Cummins engines. Over time, the M939 evolved into its own family of cargo trucks, prime movers, and recovery vehicles, with about 32,000 in all produced
The earliest M939s were actually rebuilds on the M809 chassis. All models of the series share a common chassis, cab, hood, and fenders. The series was produced in three basic wheelbases: Short (13 ft. 11in.) used for tractors and dump trucks; long (“standard” measuring 14 ft 11 in.) used for cargo trucks and wreckers; and extra long (“XLWB”— 17 ft. 11 in.) used for long cargo trucks and expansible vans.
The most common complete trucks to be produced were M923 Cargo; M925 Cargo w/Winch; M927 XLWB Cargo; M931 Tractor; and M936 Medium Wrecker.
All of the M939 and M939A1-based trucks were equipped with the Cummins NHC 250 855 cu in (14.0 L) naturally aspirated inline 6 cylinder diesel engine. The M939A2 models were powered by a smaller Cummins 6CTA8.3 504 cu in (8.3 L) turbo-charged inline 6-cylinder diesel engine
M4A3 “SHERMAN” Medium TANK
The Sherman tank is remembered as the tank that won WWII. Even now, decades after the war, “Sherman Tank” is instantly recognizable in the general public.
The M4 Sherman replaced the M3 Medium Tank. It is no surprise that the powerplants of many early U.S. tanks, including the M3 and M4 medium tanks, were based on aircraft engines. The variant of the Sherman that came to be “America’s tank” was the M4A3. The engine installed in the M4A3 was the Ford-designed and -built model GAA V-8 liquid-cooled gasoline engine.
Ford began production of the M4A3 in May 1942, although Ford’s production of the tank would be relatively short lived. (Ford M4A3 production ended in September 1943). M4A3 and variant production was continued by Fisher Tank Arsenal and Chrysler’s Detroit Tank Arsenal until eventually reaching a total of 12,596 units.
Shermans are so desirable that it is a sellers’ market. The demand far exceeds the supply.
M715 Kaiser-Jeep 1-1/4-ton Truck
When the Army needed more trucks comparable to the M37, but hoped 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 M715 was the first “M” series tactical vehicle to use primarily civilian commercial components.
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.
M880 Dodge 1-1/4-ton Truck
The United States military instituted the Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle or “CUCV” Program to provide a cheaper, light utility vehicle to augment the purpose-built—but expensive—Gama Goats and M151 series 1/4-ton trucks that were approaching the end of their service life. The military intended to replace the M715 5/4-ton trucks and any M37 3/4-ton trucks still in service with the new CUCVs.
The Program initially provided Dodge D-Series trucks with several military modifications. But these Dodges were a far cry from the proven World War II-era WC-series trucks and the Vietnam-era M37 workhorses. Rather than being purely tactical trucks, the M880 series of vehicles were an attempt by the U.S. military to use commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) vehicles with minor modifications in non-combat roles. Dodge supplied the mildly militarized civilian trucks in 1976 and 1977.
The basic 4x4 vehicle of the series, the M880 pickup, was created from the Dodge 3/4-ton W200 pickup. A 4x2 version was based on the D200 chassis and designated the M890. A folding set of steel bows was available to support a cargo cover over the standard civilian bed. A form of the standard military folding troop seats fit into the bed’s stake pockets.
The trucks were powered by the standard civilian Chrysler 318 V-8, that drove the truck through an automatic transmission. The trucks also had power steering. A civilian-type step bumper on the rear provided the mounting point for the pintle hook. A kit was available to add a 24-volt power system to the trucks. Most of the vehicles did not have military-type lighting systems, but a few had them added.
The M881 had a 24-volt 60-amp generating system in addition to the standard 12-volt electrical system of the vehicle. With the addition of a communications kit, the M881 became a M882. When a S250 shelter was mounted inside the truck’s standard cargo bed and secured with tie-downs, the truck became an M883. A truck with the S250 shelter, 24-volt, 100-amp electrical system and communications kit was known as the M884.
The M886 was an ambulance model using standard pickup sheet metal from the cab forward. It had an especially designed rear patient compartment. A sliding door in the rear of the cab allowed the attendant access to the heated rear patient compartment. A pair of double doors in the rear of the body could be opened for patient loading. Five litter patients could be carried.
Between 1975 and 1978, Dodge delivered 33,759 vehicles in both four-wheel and two-wheel drive configurations to fulfill a $145.7 million contract. The vehicles remained in Army and Air Force service until the early 1990s.
M1008 Chevrolet CUCV 1-1/4-ton Truck
Economics once again drove the U.S. military to become interested in commercial vehicles in certain roles rather than relying strictly upon tactical vehicle designs. In the post-World War II era, this was first evident with the Kaiser-Jeep M715, then the Dodge M880 series, and more recently the Chevrolet CUCV family of vehicles.
The Chevrolet Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle series replaced the Dodge M880 series beginning in 1984. Like the M880, the trucks began with off-the-shelf civilian four-wheel drive vehicles, which then had some military components added. The militarization of the Chevrolets was fortunately a little more extensive than it had been with the M880 series.
The M1008 was the base vehicle of the CUCV series. It was essentially a diesel-powered version of the Chevrolet K2500, but used the front axle usually reserved for the K3500 in the civilian line. At the rear of the truck was a standard step bumper with a pintle hook mounted in the center. The cargo bed itself differed little from the civilian model, but did have a lightweight folding cargo cover and removable troop seats added.
Modifications included the addition of a brush guard and towing shackles on the front bumper and a dual 12- and 28-volt 100-amp charging system.
The power plant was GM’s 6.2-liter diesel coupled to a Turbo Hydramatic transmission. Most models used the New Process NP208 two-speed, chain-driven transfer case. All models have non-slip rear differentials. The front axle had lockout hubs.
M1009 5/4-ton Chevrolet CUCV Blazer
The M1009 was the lightest-duty member of the CUCV family. Based on the half-ton Chevrolet Blazer, it used the standard components rather than the heavy-duty suspension components of the rest of this series. The interior of the truck was essentially the same as that of its civilian counterpart, though lacking amenities such as air-conditioning, radio and carpeting. The interior upholstery was maroon vinyl, and originally rubber floor mats were installed, but these were later ordered removed because they trapped moisture.
Like the other vehicles in this group, it was powered by a GM 6.2-liter diesel engine and equipped with an automatic transmission and two-speed transfer case.
M274 “Mule” 1/2-ton Truck
Widely known as the Mule, this vehicle’s official name was “M274 Truck, Platform, Utility, 1/2 ton.” Four different companies produced six different varieties of Mule between 1956 and 1970. All M274 vehicles had four-wheel drive and the first five varieties could be driver-selected to be regular two-wheel steer or put into a four-wheel steer mode.
Two different versions of rear-mounted, air-cooled engines were used, 4-cylinder on early production and 2-cylinder on later (many early Mules were upgraded with 2-cylinder motors). All Mules were built as pull-start. The first five versions had cargo decks made of magnesium; the last (M274A5) had a deck made of aluminum. The M274 had twice the cargo-hauling ability of a Jeep.
M998 HMMWV 1-1/4-ton Truck
Following an extensive competition, AM General won the contract in 1983 to begin building the military’s new High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV). The basic vehicle is the M998 and could be configured in either two- or four-doors. When supplied with a winch, the same vehicle is designated the M1038. The M998A2 series, introduced in 1994, had numerous improvements in the power train. The engine was now the 6.5-liter (400 cubic-inch) diesel, and the automatic transmission was now a four-speed unit rather than the three-speed previously used.
Surplus sales of HMMWVs resumed in 2016. Hundreds have been sold. While almost all are sold with paperwork indicating “For off-road use only,” many states have passed legislation to title these for road use. Check with your state’s titling body before making any purchase.
G-506 1-1/2-TON CHEVROLET 4x4 CARGO TRUCK
Chevy produced about 160,000 of these ton and one-half all-wheel drive trucks during WWII. A 235 cu. in. inline six-cylinder engine powered the trucks through a four-speed transmission crash box. The two-speed transfer case (high and low range), which includes a provision to disengage the front wheel drive, completed the power train. Banjo-style axles were used on the entire series.
Over the years of production, Chevrolet assigned model numbers G7116, G4112 and G4162 to winch-equipped dump trucks, while non-winch model numbers were G7106, G4112 and G4152.
G-507 Dodge 1-1/2-ton WC-62 & WC-63 Trucks
Compared to the creation of many of the military’s vehicles, the genesis of the ton and one-half Dodge was simple. The army increased the size of a rifle squad from eight men to 12 men and, when that occurred, a squad would no longer fit into a 3/4-ton Dodge. Therefore, Maj. Gen. Courtney Hodges, chief of infantry, suggested the 3/4-ton Dodge be stretched 48 inches, and the vehicle became a 6x6. Most of the mechanical and some of the sheet metal parts were the same as those used in the 3/4-ton series.
Certain components, primarily in the driveline and suspension, were strengthened in the ton-and-a-half models, and many of these changes were incorporated into subsequent 3/4-ton production as well.
The transfer was a dual ratio in the ton-and-one-half version vs. the single speed unit used on the 3/4-ton trucks. The truck does not run in 6x2 drive. There is no way to disengage one of the rear differentials to achieve 6x2. It runs in either 6x4 or 6x6.
The difference between a WC-62 and WC-63 is a winch on the front bumper. The WC-62 does NOT have a winch.
The second version of the “Big Dodge” was the WC-63. It differed from the WC-62 only by incorporating a Braden MU2 winch. Like the WC-62, early models of the WC-63 had a Zenith 29-BW-12R carburetor, while later production used the Carter ETW-1 carburetor.
The total US Army Ordnance acceptance of WC-62s and WC-63s was 43,224 vehicles. A total of 6,344 WC-62 and WC-63 cargo trucks were provided to allies as part of the Lend-Lease program: 4,074 to the free French forces, 2,123 to Great Britain, and 137 units to Brazil.
Although the Fargo Division of Chrysler Corp., handled government contracts, the trucks were all built at Dodge’s Mound Road truck plant in Detroit.
These vehicles are popular with collectors today because they have the “big truck” look with the ease of driving of a 3/4-ton truck. Additionally, their long wheelbase gives them a smooth ride, at least compared to that of other military vehicles.
CCKW 2-1/2 ton 6x6 Cargo Truck
The GMC CCKW is generally considered to be the truck that won World War II. It was a medium-duty all-wheel-drive 2 1/2-ton truck. The CCW was an almost identical truck, lacking the front wheel drive.
The short wheelbase version was the GMC model CCKW-352, and the long wheelbase truck was known as the CCKW-353. The CCKW-353 was intended as a general-purpose cargo truck and personnel transport, while the CCKW-352 was built as a prime mover for the Field Artillery, towing 75mm and 105mm weapons.
Some of the trucks were built with winches. The cargo beds were initially steel, but in August/September 1942, the trucks began using wooden beds and, finally in January 1944, a body of composite steel and wood construction began to be used.
The earliest models had fully enclosed cabs, but these were replaced in production during 1942 with the military standard open cab.
The CCKW was fitted with a greater array of body types than any other World War II era vehicles. In addition to cargo trucks, several different body types were installed including the dump body.
DUKW 2-1/2-ton Amphibious 6x6 Cargo Truck
The DUKW was standardized in October 1942, and production began immediately at the Yellow Coach plant in Pontiac, Mich., which was also home to CCKW production. The automotive components were developed by GMC, using many of the same parts as found in the AFKWX and CCKW trucks. The name DUKW is an acronym resulting from GMC model code: D indicates 1942 model year design, U is utility truck, amphibious, K for all-wheel drive, W for tandem rear axles.
Demand for the DUKW became so great that a second production facility had to be added, this one at the Chevrolet plant in St. Louis, Mo. Production totaled 21,147 vehicles by the time production ceased at war’s end.
M35A2 2-1/2-ton 6x6 CARGO TRUCK
A dual-wheeled version of the new truck was created for use primarily on roads (the single-wheel M34 being preferred for off-road operation). The dual-wheeled variant was the M35. Using dual 9.00-20 rear wheels, its cargo bed lacked wheel wells, providing a flat floor for loading cargo, although like the M34 it was equipped with fold-down troop seats.
Through the years, Reo’s 1949 design has been produced by no less than 10 companies, including Reo Motors, Studebaker, Studebaker-Packard, Curtiss-Wright, Kaiser-Jeep and AM General. Like all the early postwar vehicle designs, these trucks were equipped for fording with virtually no preparation.
G-630 Studebaker & Reo 2-1/2 ton Cargo Truck
The US6 trucks were designed by Studebaker Corp, of South Bend, Indiana, to be competitive with the GMC CCKW or the IHC M5-H6 6x6 trucks. Production began in South Bend in June 1941 and continued through August 1945, totaling 197,678 vehicles.
These trucks, like the White M3A1 Scout Car and the Ford M8 and M20 armored cars, were powered by the 320-cid Hercules JXD six-cylinder engine. The proper engine for the US6 has the Studebaker spoked logo cast into the manifold. The US6 used the same transmission and transfer case as the GMC CCKW, and even the Timken axles were the same as those used on many of the GMCs.
Most of these trucks have a hardtop cab based on the civilian Studebaker M-series cab. This was not the same as the later M-series military cab. Rather, Studebaker used letters to denote its various truck models, J, K, M, etc. The civilian cab was modified by the addition of a swing-out windshield with top-mounted vacuum wipers, metal interior panels, and military instruments. A source of confusion regarding designations for these trucks comes from Studebaker’s number system. The U.S. model was built with a number of body codes. These codes were U1 through U13.
The brake system employed by Studebaker was not the Hydrovac system that GMC used, but instead was a vacuum-boosted system.
These trucks were produced in short (148-in.) and long (162-in.) wheelbases, and in 6x6 and 6x4 form. Since the 6x4 version was intended for on road use only, its weight classification was 5-ton, whereas the 6x6 version was rated using the traditional off-road system of 2-1/2 tons.
During December of 1942, production of the US6 with an open cab was begun. However, this was not to the liking of the major user of the US6 — the Soviet Army — and production reverted to the closed cab in March of 1943, with only about 10,000 of the opencabbed trucks having been completed.
Reo Motors of Lansing, Mich., was contracted to build copies of this truck in addition to the output of Studebaker. The 22,204 trucks that Reo built were indistinguishable from the Studebakers, except for the data plates.
- US6 U1 SWB cargo without winch
- US6 U2 SWB cargo with winch
- US6 U3 LWB cargo without winch
- US6 U4 LWB cargo with winch
- US6 U5 LWB 750 gallon tanker
- US6x4 U6 SWB Semi-tractor
- US6x4 U7 LWB cargo without winch
- US6x4 U8 LWB cargo with winch
- US6 U9 LWB cab and chassis without winch
- US6 U10 SWB Rear Dump without winch
- US6 U11SWB Rear Dump with winch
- US6 U12SWB Side Dump without winch
- US6 U13 SWB Side Dump with winch
Note: US6x4 production stopped in July 1945, with the last all-wheel-drive version being built the following month.
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