Honestly, if you don’t have a sense of humor, then you probably don’t like Forward Control (FC) Jeeps. Why? Well, it’s been said that they have a face that only a mother could love. We love them—does that make us their mothers? Probably not! Also, if you do like FCs and you don’t have a sense of humor, or hold a grudge, do us a favor and quit reading this article. Sure, you are welcome to look at the pictures, just don’t read what we have written here because we are gonna poke a little fun at these odd Jeeps. Of course, most of the worst things that have been said about FC’s have come from the mouths of FC fans, collectors, and owners, so we are really just repeating it here.
Much like the canine known as a Pug, FCs have a short stubby bodies and even shorter stubbier faces. Also like the Pug, an adorable and fun loving doggy, an FC is unquestionably a lovable, yet somewhat goofy, member of the Jeep family. Since FCs are part of the family, we feel that it is alright to poke a little fun at them from time to time. But be forewarned, if you are not part of the Jeep family and you mock the FC, be ready for any and all Jeepers to go all irate mother bear on ya! Why? Well, ‘cause you messin’ with our goofy Jeep, and you’re going to pay!
When not restored, FCs make a great slate for some awesome customized off-road rigs. Check out Jesse’s ’64 M677 powered by a Chevy 383 mated to a TH350 and an NP205. With an 8-lug heavy-duty Dana 44 front axle and a Dana 70 rear, this sinister rig would make a perfect zombie fighter or be great to take deep into the woods to get away from civilization for whatever reason. The truck has tons of custom parts, including an air-bag suspension for the cab for a smooth ride. The truck is actually quite capable, because the driver can easily see what is coming on the trail.
In all seriousness, we here at Jp do love any and all Forward Control Jeeps (and reserve the right to poke fun at them at will). So, when we heard about the 11th-annual FC Roundup in Phoenix this past March, we knew we had to go. Jesse and Andrea Ybarra invited us, as well as all FC fans, to their Phoenix property with the offer of multiple FCs in different stages of restoration and modification—and a free lunch. When we arrived and had a chance to mingle with the FCs and their people, we realized what an amazing gathering of cool and different vehicles we had found. Truly, the FC Roundup is an amazing experience where more FCs have gathered since the last few left the factory. On top of that is a wealth of knowledge of everything Forward Control. If you are a budding FC freak or a long-time FC fan, you owe it yourself to check out this FC-themed website, the FC Connection (thefcconnection.com). Until then, have a look at the many cool FCs we found. There are so many cool FCs that we didn’t have enough space to show them all. Want to see them? Go to jpmagazine.com for more from this year, or be sure to hit up next year’s Arizona FC Roundup.
Our Favorite FC Survivor
Out of the whole group, it was difficult to pick a favorite. Perhaps because of the patina’d Sea Foam Green paint, perhaps because of the un-restored condition, perhaps because of the dings and dents that show how this survivor FC170 was used, or perhaps just because we are insane this ’57 FC170 owned by Eric Lawson caught our eye and held it.
Bob Thomson’s M677 Tow Rig
Bob Thomson owns this in-progress FC truck build. Bob is a bodywork guy and the seamless lines on this rig show that. Bob started with an M677 (that’s the four-door military pickup FC) he bought from Jesse a while back with big plans. The M677 cab has been cleaned up and modified to fit the extended length of a 3⁄4-ton military Chevy truck (a CUCV). So far, the axles are 1-ton units also from a CUCV, and power will come from a 500ci Caddy mill bolted to a TH400 and a NP205.
FC for the Dirt
While a few FCs have been restored, preserved, and bottled up in museums or private collections, we hope the rest get used as intended: to be driven on- and off-road. Such is the case for Roy Wallace’s M677 truck. Roy and the truck occasionally hit the trails around the Southwest. The truck is prepped with Dana 60 axles, a Chevy 350 bolted to a 700-R4, and an NP208. The truck also has 37-inch tires, power steering, and power brakes.
If we hadn’t fallen head over heels in love with the Sea Foam Green FC170, this beautiful silver/grey FC150 wide-trac was second in line for our love and attention. This thing was like a time machine out of the past. Originally bought in Glendale, Arizona, this ’60 FC150 that used to belong to Marvin and Florence Lehman now belongs to Andrea Ybarra, Jesse’s wife. The truck has quite a history, with a dealer-mounted camper shell, CB radio (with PA to communicate with passengers in the back—yep, people rode in the bed), AM radio, gun racks, an in-cab swamp cooler, an air-horn to scare cattle out of the road, and a small bed-mounted crane to lift pretty rocks into the bed. Marvin used the rig as a backcountry exploration vehicle and also used it to help build a cabin made of rocks near Sedona, Arizona.
Forest Service FC
Scott Billings and Benita Hennessey own this ’60 FC 170 that formerly served as a Forest Service truck in New Mexico. The truck is unrestored and beautiful, but Scott and Benita have fixed up a few items in the interior of the truck.