This is an AM General M35A2 6×6 that has been converted into an overland camping rig, with a toilet, a shower, a kitchenette, space for a double bed, and a sitting area with a couch that folds down into another double bed when required.
The explosive popularity of overlanding and the “vanlife” movement have seen campers like this go from relative obscurity to vehicles of considerable value and desirability, and this transition shows no signs of slowing down.
Fast Facts – The AM General M35A2 6×6
- The M35 Series 2½ Ton 6×6 Cargo Truck was developed in the 1940s and released in 1950 as the replacement for the World War II-era GMC CCKW, often referred to as the “Deuce and a Half” due to its 2½ ton capacity.
- The M35A2 in this article is powered by an LDT 465 engine it’s an inline-six 478 cubic inch (7.8 liter) turbocharged multifuel engine that can run on diesel, jet fuel, kerosene, heating oil, or gasoline and it produces 134 bhp with 330 ft lbs of torque.
- Many thousands of M35s were built for military use, initially in the USA but it was quickly adopted by dozens of other nations around the world. On the secondhand market they now provide what is possibly the cheapest entry point into the world of off-road 6×6 trucks.
- The overland camping rig you see here was bought in 1989 as military surplus, then converted into its current form. It provides self-contained accommodation for up to four people for life off the grid.
The M35 Series Of 6×6 Military Trucks
In the mid-1940s the engineers at the REO Motor Car Company were hard at work developing a new 6×6 cargo vehicle to replace one of the most important trucks in the American Army’s fleet – the GMC CCKW.
Their new vehicle would originally be released in 1949 as the M34 single wheel tandem axles, however it was quickly succeeded by the M35 with its dual tandem axles and subsequently increased cargo capacity.
The GMC CCKW had been nicknamed the “Deuce and a Half” by soldiers during WWII due to its 2½ ton capacity and this same nickname was soon applied to the M35. It’s said that for a short time, due to the M35’s excellent river fording capabilities, that some troops started calling it “The Eager Beaver,” though this never caught on and it was usually referred to using the moniker of its forebear.
A wide variety of M35 variants were made, the most common was the standard cargo truck layout however there were also special tanker trucks made for fire fighting as well as tractor trucks, construction trucks, and gun trucks.
AM General M35A2 Truck Specifications
The M35 was offered in a number of model versions over the years including the M35A1, which was followed by the M35A2 and the M35A3. Of these the M35A2 is one of the most common, they’re typically powered by the LDT 465 engine which was built by Continental, Hercules, or the White Motor Company at various points in the model’s production run.
The LDT 465 is a straight-six with a displacement of 478 cubic inches (7.8 liters), it’s also a multi-fuel engine so it can run on diesel, jet fuel, kerosene, heating oil, or gasoline depending on what was available. It develops 134 bhp and 330 lb ft of torque which is sent to all three axles and 10 wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission and a 2-speed transfer case.
The M35 uses leaf springs front and back, with air-assisted-hydraulic six-wheel drum brakes. It has a 24 volt electrical system, a driveline parking brake, and it weighs between 13,000 pounds (5,900 kgs) and 16,000 pounds (7,300 kgs) depending on configuration.
After reading through those specifications you’re probably not expecting a particularly high speed and you would be right, the typical M35 has a top speed of 56 mph (90 km/h) with a maximum sustained cruising speed of 48 mph (77 km/h) with fuel economy of approximately 10 mpg US (24 L/100 km or 12 mpg Imperial).
That said, these trucks were never design for speed, they were designed for carrying heavy loads off-road in oftentimes difficult conditions.
Many thousands of military surplus M35 trucks have no been sold off into civilian hands, the model offers what is almost certainly the cheapest entry point into six-wheel drive ownership, with prices often hovering well below $10,000 up to $15,000+ for exceedingly good examples.
The AM General M35A2 6×6 Camper Shown Here
The truck you see here is one of the nicest 6×6 overlanding rigs we’ve seen come up for sale in recent memory. It was originally bought as a military surplus truck in 1989 and then carefully converted into its current configuration.
The camper box on the back was custom built using a tubular steel frame with a laminated plywood skin and 1″ foil-backed foam insulation. It has oak cabinets and drawers, a fold-down couch, a carpeted loft than can accommodate a double bed, removable tables, a sink with running water, an oven with a four burner stove top, a fridge, a catalytic heater, a classic cassette stereo, and both a toilet and shower.
The truck carries a 10.8 gallon propane tank and a 60 gallon water tank, with a 9 gallon black water holding tank for the toilet.
Up front the truck is fitted with two bucket seats with lap belts, a Kenwood two-meter amateur radio, a GPS unit, and it all rides on ten 20″ wheels wearing Goodyear G177 tires.
If you’d like to read more about this truck or register to bid you can visit the listing here. It’s currently being offered for sale on Bring A Trailer out of Fallbrook, California.
Images courtesy of Bring A Trailer
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