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What the...?

Posted in Project Vehicles on June 1, 2000 Comment (0)
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p71850 large+1955 Marine Corps Jeep+Front Driver Side
p71851 large+1955 Marine Corps Jeep+Rear Driver Side
p71852 large+1955 Marine Corps Jeep+Engine
p71853 large+1955 Marine Corps Jeep+Interior Radio
p71854 large+1955 Marine Corps Jeep+Rear Axle
p71855 large+1955 Marine Corps Jeep+Rear Leaf Springs

We spotted Troy and Yvonne Archer’s ’55 Jeep from a mile away during TDS Safari. Our first thought was that we had to photograph it. Our second thought was, what is it? As it turns out, the Jeep is one of about 400 dual rear-wheel M-170s built between 1953 and 1955. You may be saying, “What’s an M-170?” But we at least know that it was an ambulance based on a CJ-6. What’s even cooler is that it’s still wearing the olive drab paint sprayed by the Marine Corps. However, while it may look original from a distance, Troy has carefully added modifications that don’t detract from the stock looks.

A Chevy 350 replaced the original four-popper. Behind that rests an Art Carr-modified TH400 with an Allison torque converter. Headers, a 650 Holley, and an MSD ignition complement the balanced mill. The Marine Jeeps have the Dana 25 with 5.38 gears and a Power-Loc, and both it and the Spicer 18 were retained. Troy got tired of breaking the puny axleshafts in the original Dana 44, so in went a Currie 9-inch with a Warn full-float kit.The steering Troy added uses a Saginaw box with a Corvette pump and reservoir and rod ends at the attachment points. The original Power Loc’d rear was replaced with a Currie 9-inch loaded with 5.29 gears and a Truetrac. Despite looking massive, the spring packs are surprisingly supple. Still wondering why we dig military stuff? Blackout lights, tow rings, and waterproof storage compartments in every crevice are but a few of the goodies you get. Close the door and the CD player and 2-meter radio disappear. For safety and comfort, a full rollcage that’s tied into the frame was bent to fit under the canvas top and Beard seats were bolted in. Other odds and ends, such as a custom 15-gallon fuel cell and a 2-meter radio and CD player offer a stark contrast to the rest of the factory pieces.

With a tasteful blend of cool old military hardware and functional upgrades from today, this is one vehicle we’d love to own.


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