Before the Jeep Gladiator, There Was a Properly Bizarre Jeep Truck You’ve Never Heard Of
“Jeep” is a loaded term in the automotive world. It is a brand, model, and general vehicle type, for some. Long before the Jeep Wrangler existed as a model, the Willys Jeep mountain goated over battlefields all over the world. Many years after the dust of WWII settled, and far before the Jeep Gladiator, Willys made another vehicle far weirder than anything it had made before, the Willys Jeep FC-150, a cab-over, forward-control Jeep truck.
What is the Willys Jeep FC-150
The Willys Jeep FC-150 is a cab-over truck with three seats up front with a large cargo bed in the back. The idea was to make a Jeep that could serve farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural applications. The FC-150 never sold like Willys had hoped, making it a strange and obscure model today.
The FC-150 debuted in 1956 as a more practical and efficient offering from the brand. The Jeep truck was designed to be super capable while keeping a small footprint. The cool part was that this cab-over Jeep truck initially rode on the same chassis as the Jeep CJ5. This kept the truck light and small with an 81-inch wheelbase while also keeping Jeep architecture simple and interchangeable. As noted by Silodrome, not only was the chassis the same as the CJ5 but the drivetrain and powertrain components were also borrowed from the existing CJ models, including the bulletproof Willys Hurricane engine, a 2.2-liter inline-four.
What was the best Jeep ever?
The Jeep FC-150 was a true innovator. By 1958, it offered a 1:1 ratio between its curb weight and payload – the lowest ratio offered by a domestic manufacturer at that time in the light-duty commercial market. Willys achieved this insane ratio by taking full advantage of chassis space. Although this weird Jeep truck only had an 81-inch wheelbase, the bed is 78 inches. Try getting that kind of utility from an F-150.
Despite how poorly it did in the States, the Willy Jeep FC-150 went gangbusters in certain cities in India and across Spain. It excelled in these markets because of the live axles on leaf springs front and back, four-wheel drum brakes, and non-power assisted steering – as you may have expected for a rugged 4×4 designed in the 1950s. The truck stayed in production with the cab-over configuration until 1965.
How much is a 1962 Willys Jeep FC-150?
This 1962 model we see here benefits from being a later model that features a nearly 10-inch wider track width. This is a massive improvement for a vehicle with such a short wheelbase. Also, with the wider track width, the later models traded the 3-speed transmission to a 4-speed. As a result of these key improvements, enthusiasts and collectors prefer these later models, making them more valuable.
This particular one has been restored at some point. However, the listing doesn’t talk much about the details of the restoration. You can check out the details of the Jeep truck at Collecting Cars.