Jeeps and the Military go together like boot camp and calisthenics. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe M-677 Forward Control is a special edition that was built for the military, but does its project status and price have you exclaiming this means war?
The American Bantam-designed, Willys-contracted Jeep was the do-all vehicle that helped kick Hitler's ass, and made local mademoiselles accessible to overseas troops seeking a respite from the horrors of the war. Post Greatest Generation global conflict, Willys, like many soldiers, returned to civilian life and in fact named their lightly revamped for non-combat four-by-four with complete transparency, giving it the appellation Civilian Jeep.
That first CJ spawned a small family of rugged trucks and idiosyncratic personal vehicles that over time became renowned for their capabilities and dirt-honest simplicity. One of those was the FC which - again with full transparency in naming - stood for Forward Control. That was taken from the fact that, while mounted on the 81-inch wheelbase frame of the CJ-5 jeep, the driving controls had been moved to a cab which sat ahead of both front wheels and engine, in a place where on the CJ the bumper normally resided. That packing of driver and passenger all the way at the extreme nose made for a vast space behind for pickup beds, dump truck barrows or whatever struck your industrial fancy.
Designed by the legendary Brooks Stevens, and offered under both Willys and Kaiser-Jeep brands from 1956 through '65, the FC Jeeps where some of the company's least consumer-oriented products, but that doesn't keep them from enjoying cult status today.
This one may be even more cultish based on its rarity and engine. One of only about 50 crew-cab FCs built for the Army, this 1964 Jeep M-677 is powered by a Cerlist 3-cylinder supercharged diesel engine. You don't see that every day.
Cerlist's existence paralleled that of the FC, having been founded in 1956 in Burlington NC as a producer of stationary and military diesel engines. Financial issues forced the company into bankruptcy in 1967 at which time its assets were bought by the Waukesha Motor Co. and manufacture was moved to Iowa. This 170-cid triple is a two-stroke, loop scavenged unit producing eighty five horsepower at 3,000 rpm. Yeah that's right, eighty-five.
The M-677, like its 676, 78 and 79 companions, backs that engine with a 3-speed Warner T-90a and Spicer model 18 transfer case. Spicer axles, 44 front and 53 rear, support the truck, mounted on semi-ecliptics. Behind the extended cab sits a short boxed bed and the whole thing rides high enough that it's unlikely to get bogged down in either snow or zombie entrails. That is, if it ran.
This is a project truck, and a non-running one with a freakishly rare engine and body parts that are made from unobtainium. The interior - check out the massively cool triple lever switches on the dash - is likewise in need to de-craptituding, but the thing is, it all seems pretty complete. That includes what appears to be a cider press behind the passenger, or perhaps, this originally being a military vehicle, that's a honey pot.
On the outside, there's rust. Of course there's rust, these things inevitably go to ground as it seems most Jeep FCs spend a decade or two living out in the wilds of someone's back field or serve as a backwoods home for the mentally disturbed. This one's not that bad, and the too cool for school crew cab makes it well worth saving- check out the matching scallops in the leading edges of both front door and back. There's a lot to be saved here, the left-side rocker has gone missing, and the all doors, and in fact any vertical surface, show the fraying of metal at the bottom. That's a look that, were this some hippie girl's blue jeans, might seem charming, however here it's probably just drafty.
As a final indignity, two of the iconic Jeep grille slots have been combined into a single large opening into which a cycloptic third lamp has been mounted. At least the panoramic wrap-around windshield appears intact.
The seller of this M-677 appears to be an eclectic collector, or by military parlance Article 7. I say that because not only does he possess this truck, but also seems from the pics to own several others including a weird melange of FC and Airstream behind it. In one shot, there's a primer-covered Crosley sitting on a tandem trailer, which only serves to up his cool-factor. As he appears to be just one area code over from me, I wonder if he'd be interested in my adoption?
That would a cheap way to get into an FC, however as it's for sale, not this particular one. For that, it looks like it'll take $14,000, an amount that demonstrates that either the seller is nuts or knows exactly what he has and its value. It's now up to you to either validate his pricing decision, or repudiate it, that being what we do here.
So what's your take on this truck? Is $14,000 fair for an FC so rare? Or, is this a Jeep for which your money you will keep?