Ford M151 MUTT
Military Utility Tactical Truck
During the 1950s Ford designed
the M151 to replace the M38A1-series Jeeps. It was an advanced design inspired
by European off-road vehicles and in effect only looked like its predecessors,
as it was technically totally different. It had several improvements such
as independent coil spring suspension all round, a unitary body and an
overhead valve engine. It was designed to be faster, more comfortable and
agile than the M38A1. Several options were tested, such as an aluminium
body, revised front suspension etc.
In 1960 quantity production of the
M151 started at Ford's Highland Park factory in Michigan. The engine
was the Ford L142 - a 4-cylinder 2,320 cc. unit delivering 72 bhp. at 4,000
rpm. - but the steel bodies were built by Fruehauf. It was fitted with
cast magnesium wheels, identifiable by oval cooling slots.
Because of its independent swing-axle
type rear suspension, the M151 had the unfortunate tendency to flip over
when cornered too aggressively. The rear suspension lay-out (comparable
with Volkswagen Beetles) could result in big rear wheel camber changes,
causing drastic oversteering and a subsequent roll-over.
The M151 was replaced in production
by the M151A1 in 1964. Still built by Ford, it had minor changes in the
rear suspension including stiffer components, firmer mountings and an extra
rubber bump stop to reduce rebound. The basic suspension lay-out (basically
an A-frame mounted parallel to the direction of travel) remained unchanged,
which still resulted in negative camber when unloaded. Therefore the M151A1
shared most of the undesireable handling characteristics with the M151.
The most noticeable difference between the models was the addition of turn
signals mounted on the front fenders. Early M151A1s also had the oval-slotted
cast magnesium wheels.
In 1970 the rear suspension system
was drastically changed, and it was taken in production on the M151A2.
A trailing arm assembly, with pivots almost perpendicular to the frame
rails, allowed the rear wheels to rise and fall with very little change
in camber. Although much safer than its predecessors, the lightness of
the rear still results in some peculiar handling. The most noticeable cosmetic
changes were the large turn signal and blackout lamps mounted in wells
in the front mudguards (matching the ones at the rear), one-piece windshield,
dished steering wheel with wider spokes (compared to a flat thinly spoked
one) on a collapsible steering column and lifting shackles on the rear
body corners. The electric in-tank fuel pump was replaced by a mechanical
fuel pump. It had windshield washers plus two-speed wipers, and dual brake
Over the years, production contracts
of the M151A2 were awarded to Ford, Kaiser Jeep and the AM General Corporation
(of Wayne, Michigan, U.S.A.), while bodies were built both by Fruehauf
and Budd .
By early 1980 AMG had built 95,000
M151 series. In 1983 it was reported that AMG held the production contract
to supply M151A2 series vehicles on a "requirement basis".
Variants include the M107 and M108 communications
vehicles with radios installed in the rear of the vehicle. The passenger
seat faces to the rear to enable the radio operator to work his equipment.
The M718 and M718A1 are ambulance
versions based on the M151A1 and M151A2 respectively. They have a crew
of two, a driver and a medical attendant. This version has a rear overhang
and can carry a stretcher and three seated patients, two stretchers and
two seated patients or three stretcher patients.
The M151A1C 106-mm Recoilless Rifle
Carrier was based on the M151A1 and was assembled by Rock Island Arsenal.
It was replaced by the M825 based on the M151A2, which had the M40 106-mm
recoilless rifle mounted in the rear. This model was itself replaced by
a similar vehicle mounting the
ATGW. A combination of stiffer rear springs at the rear to bear
to increased load and a raised centre of gravity affected the already peculiar
handling. Normally these weapon carriers are therefore restricted in permissible
Various experiments were carried out
with the M151-series: a gas-turbine engine was fitted, different tyres
(from 9.5/9.0×16 agricultural type to 36×30-14R Goodyear Terra-Tires),
flotation kits and bolt-on track elements. The XM384 was a one-off 8×8
vehicle using as many M151 components as possible. It was rebuilt into
an amphibious version.
To counter the rear axle problem
a M151 was fitted with leaf springs and a solid rear axle. Although this
set-up essentially solved the handling problems, the reliability of the
modified design was insufficient and it also lead to distortion of the
Also, an XM29 155mm launcher was
fitted to one M151A1C.
The US Department of Defense deems all
M151 series vehicles "unsafe for public highway use". Therefore, these
vehicles have to be made "unusable by removing major components and destroying
the unitized body so it cannot rebuilt". However, this policy gradually
changed from releasing vehicles intact to releasing cut or crushed bodies
only. These are the official demilitarisation methods and dates for the
"INTACT BUT UNSERVICEABLE
SOLD TILL 4 FEB 1970"
In practice demilitarisation is done
by crushing the body with a bulldozer or cutting
the body in half and removing a section across the middle. The
US Government is convinced that this method prevents any of these vehicles
to come into civilian hands in a driveable condition. In a pamphlet of
the Defense Reutilization & Marketing Service it is stated that: "Stories
and ads claiming that US military jeeps are available for sale as vehicles
to the general public are not true"(!)
"INTACT BUT SERVICEABLE SOLD TILL
4 FEB 1973"
"1/2 CUT BEGINS 5 FEB 1973 ENDS
8 APR 1981"
"1/4 CUT BEGINS 9 APR 1981(?) PREFER
"1/4 CUT TO DATE IF CRUSH IS NOT
Countries which received their M151s
through military aid have to comply with US regulations. Canada also demilitarises
its M151A2s when disposing of them.
Probably because of the fact that
this demilitarisation procedure leaves a lot of components but no bodies,
there are a few companies who supply "remanufactured" MUTTs. These companies
in fact supply a new body and mostly use the M151A2s drive line and engine.
Many options are offered such as 6×6 versions, diesel engines, disk
brakes, etc. As far as is known none of these vehicles has been taken into
Major users of the M151-series are the
Army, Air Force,
Marines and Navy.
It is claimed that they are also in use by over 100 countries. Argentina,
Arabia, Singapore, Venezuela
(also M825) and Vietnam are
known users, while others are said to include
Ecuador (also M825),
(Note: I recently found a picture
of an M151 in Royal Australian Air Force
(RAAF) service in Vietnam in 1970, possibly this was a one-off?)
purchased the M151A2 in quantity in the mid-1970s, but used a number
of M151 and M151A1 jeeps as well during UN operations before that.
Read more on the separate Canadian M151 series jeep page
replaced its Jeeps (MB/GPW, CJ2A, -3A, 3B) with the Willys M38A1 and Ford
M151A1. The first 600 were delivered in 1967. They were used in the Liaison-,
Scout car role and armed with TOW. A typical registration number is 36.804.
The M151A1 has now been superceded by the Mercedes GD 240.
when searching for a replacement of more than 8,000 Jeeps (Hotchkiss M210,
Willys MB, Ford GPW) in the late 1970s, also tested the M151A2 albeit mainly
for comparison purposes.
supplied with a large number of M151-series vehicle by the US. The M151A2s
are fitted with roll-over protection.
bought the first version of the M151-series. About 80 M151s replaced its
Army's wartime Jeeps. Some of them are used for special purposes, for example
weapon mounts (including TOW) or radio-equipped. They were in use well
into the 1980s when they were replaced by the "Hummer".
bought Budd's body dies and tooling. Supposedly some bodies and complete
vehicles were built there.
used - at least - the M825 recoilless rifle carrier, as in June 1996 approximately
half a dozen of these with SAF markings (but without their recoilless rifles)
were present in the yard of Staman Trading at Nijverdal, the Netherlands.
They had no windscreens and extra brush guards fitted over the headlights
and radiator. Of interest was that some examples had markings to warn drivers
not to exceed 30 km/h, while other had markings not to exceed 50 km/h!
used all three models, all over the world during war and peace time. It
was the principal ¼-tonner during the Vietnam war, for example.
Even during the Gulf War the HMMWV (Hummer) had not replaced some special
versions of the M151A2, like those used by Rapid Deployment Forces. In
service the M151A2 was retrofitted with full roll-over cages called Roll
Over Protection System or ROPS.
With the USMC, the M151A2
remained in service as a Fast Attack Vehicle (FAV), as it is the only vehicle
that fits inside the CH-53E and V22 aircraft. Used by Marine Expeditionary
Units, it saw wide service by from Africa (22
MEU, 1996) to Albania and Kosovo (26th MEU(SOC), 1999). The latter
unit had fitted their FAVs with a HMMWV
turret ring, which adds stability to the weapons as well as better
support for recoil compared to the original pintle mount.
Of the 112 M151 FAVs in USMC
inventory in 2000, 62 are to be replaced by the Interim Fast Attack Vehicle:
the Mercedes Benz 290GT long wheelbase truck. But still, six
M151A2 FAVs scheduled to deploy with the 15th MEU, were overhauled
in January 2000.
(also see Sources below)
US Army Technical Manuals for the M151-series:
Operation manual for M151, M151A1.
Much information, 123 large pages. TM9-2320-218-10.
Change to above, covers M151A2.
28 large pages. CH-218-10.
Maintenance. 335 pages.
Rebuild and overhaul service.
490 pages. TM9-2320-218-34.
Basic parts listing. TM9-2320-218-20P.
Rebuild and overhaul parts.
428 pages. TM9-2320-218-34P.
Lube chart. LO9-2320-218-12.
Warmachines No.14 : 1/4 Ton M151
Mutt. Verlinden Productions, Inc., January 1993. ISBN: 1930607067.
Frantisek Koran & Jan Mostek:
Mutt in Detail
Richards, T., Off-Road Jeeps,
civilian & military, 1944-1971. Brooklands books. 100pp, 180
ills, paperback. Covers Willys, Ford, Mighty Mite, CJ2A, 3A, 3B, CJV35,
M28, M29, M38, M151, M170, M422, M606, M718, M825. 22 articles on
tech. bulletins, company profile, camouflaging, spec's, history, maintenance.
(Note: some copies erroneously have Clarke as compiler.)
Crismon, Fred W., U.S. Military
Wheeled Vehicles. Sarasota: Crestline Publishing Co., 1983, p.99-100,
226-229, 390, 452, 454, 462, 468. ISBN 0-912612-21-5
Jane's Military Vehicles and Ground
Support Equipment 1983. London: Jane's Yearbooks, 1983, p.299-300.
Wheels & Tracks magazine,