Pretty interesting story behind this “one-of-a-kind” restomod 1964 Kaiser Jeep Forward Control M677 that came into our shop back in 2017 and have been working on steadily for the past 5 years. Originally this M677 started off its life as a government vehicle which its sole purpose was to assist the US Navy & Marine Core. With only about 400 made in the total production run this makes these cab over “forward control” trucks extremely rare! These special order units had to be special ordered from Kaiser and were based off the FC-170 platform. Kaiser – Jeep offered a few different civilian models of this vehicle such as the wide & narrow track FC-150 and FC-170 heavy duty platform. They were the next generation “universal” jeep just like its predecessor the Willy’s jeep that served overseas in world war 2 that virtually won the war. I personally love seeing old pictures of these Forward control vehicles with multiple different attachments such as wreckers, tow trucks, trench diggers, ambulances, fire trucks, dump trucks, farm trucks, and one even attached with a custom cab and backhoe attachment. The production run of the FC platform ran for about 10 years (1956-1965)
Originally painted army green from the factory with military issued heavy duty bumpers this truck was quite the unit. When these trucks were special ordered, Kaiser would actually join two FC cabs together to make a double cab (4 door). During the restoration you could see the seam on the room where the cabs were brought together and another roof section was spiced in (pictures below). The rear doors were actually front doors with bottoms fabricated and welded onto them to cover up the front tire area. Whatever they could do to save money and efficiency at the factory they would.
The trucks were originally powered by a 3 cylinder supercharged Diesel engine by Cerlist with about 85 HP that couldn’t get out of its own way. The Cerlist engine was mated up to a 3 speed manual transmission and model 18 transfer case. Eventually later in this vehicle’s life the combo had been ripped out of the truck and replaced with a 70’s Ford straight 6 with automatic transmission out of we believe a Ford Maverick from running the engine numbers.
Everything else on the vehicle was in stock form when receiving the truck from Northern Alabama minus missing the rear bench seat. The owner Jeff purchased this vehicle on eBay sometime in 2017 and was shipped over 1200 miles to our restoration facility in Massachusetts. The vehicle was found in a farmers field with a tree growing up between the cab & front brush guard and showing up on the trailer with the tree still in it and also missing both front wheels & tires. And yes we still have the tree!
The scope of the project was really unknown until we had all the rust repair figured out. It was so heavily rusted that some of the doors would open and shut right, floor was rotted through, roof had issues and doors themselves were pretty rotted but the chassis and bed were really solid. With not a huge aftermarket support for body panels and parts a lot of sheet metal had to be fabricated in house. After about a year of metal work and fabrication the truck started taking its true form and then it was decided to keep the patina paint job. Originally this vehicle was military green and then painted Mopar green by its new owners at Joe Webster Tree Service in Huntsville Alabama. For many years this vehicle was Joe’s personal truck through the mid 70s and 80s and was then retrofitted with a sprayer in the bed to defoliant High-Tension power lines and radio tower as seen on the door picture. It was later sold off to a local farmer where it was used for truck duties around the farm. We tracked down this information by reading the very faded phone number on the side of the truck and doing a general google search finding out the company was still around.
The scope of the build now was to install a new drivetrain to make this vehicle user friendly for today’s use. Keeping it on the Jeep family we decided to find and install a 4.0L fuel injected engine out of a 2000’s Jeep. We decided on buying a 2000 Jeep Cherokee off craigslist with just over 100k miles on it from the Boston area. Using the Dana Axles front & rear and as well as the automatic transmission this vehicle is going to drive like a dream. The swap was very complicated and overwhelming but in the end was well worth it. The front suspension is biased off the stock Cherokee suspension setup with upgraded coil springs and 3 link A-Arms with rear leaf spring suspension. The factory coolant system was too small for the application we are doing and the custom aluminum radiator was mounted in the bed with electric fans for optimum cooling in the southern warm climate its going to be living in. Electric assist power steering was added to the factory steering column to turn the oversized BF-Goodrich mud terrains on Steel smoothie wheels. One of my favorite things about this vehicle is the custom Jeep hubcaps that were made in-house. Sitting now about 3-4 inches over stock height this vehicle is one mean looking machine. As for the interior we went with factory front seats, custom rear bench seat out of a Ford truck the folds up to utilize the rear storage space, custom door panels & headliner, raptor lined color matched floor, and custom dash with Auto-Meter gauges. Everything in the interior was wrapped with Distressed brown leather and suede. Even a hidden Bluetooth sound system was hidden in the cab sponsored by Boss Audio. We also upgraded the original 24 volt electrical system to a modern 12 volt system.
For the exterior we decided due to what the customer was planning on doing with this vehicle we added a custom bedrack to the factory stake holes with a overlanding pop-up tent on top for weekend trips. The front bumper was modified to attach a Warn 8274 winch that was donated by the company for this cool build. This 1964 Kaiser Jeep Forward Control M677 will be featured at Sema 2022 in Las Vegas and if your curious about more information about this build please watch the YouTube video!
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