We’re all familiar with the BMW M8. It’s fast, expensive, and it kind of looks like a Mustang from the right angle. What most people won’t know, however, is the story behind the Mustang maker’s own M8 — a vehicle never sold to the general public, but built to embarrass the competition from Munich. Despite never hitting dealers, Ford’s M8 tested its performance mettle around the world. Germany, Italy, even Japan heard the wail of its inline-six engine.
They also heard its guns, because the Ford M8 was a tank.
“Tank” may be overstating it, since the M8 was more technically a reconnaissance vehicle, but with that armor and those tires I’m gonna count it. Not to mention, that gun sitting in its turret atop the vehicle.
The gun was a particular sticking point back in 1941, when the U.S. Army set out the proposal that led to the M8. It called for a lightly-armored all-terrain vehicle with enough speed to reach the front, see what’s going on, and report back before the main tanks ever saw combat. It also laid out that this vehicle needed a big gun: A single 37mm cannon.
Eighty years after that initial proposal, these vehicles are still around: On display, in active use in Paraguay, and now on Bring a Trailer. The one up for sale is a 1943 model, donated to West Germany after the war and used in their equivalent of the National Guard, according to the seller. They also claim that M8s can be legally registered to drive on the roads in California — as long as you never need to exceed 55 mph.
Unlike most Bring a Trailer listings in recent memory, this M8 is listed as a “non-running project” — you’ll actually have to bring a trailer. The seller isn’t sure when its 320-cubic-inch, 110-horsepower inline six last ran, so be prepared to put some work in before adding this one to your active armory.
I think whoever buys this should turn it into an overland rig. It may not be as fast or as comfortable as an F-750, but it’ll certainly be the most unique on Instagram. And after all, isn’t that what overlanding is really all about?