Gun Truck? M35a2 Test Vehicle

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mikeseal43

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Hello All Steel Soldiers Members! I have a very Odd Vehicle in my collection that I have been trying to find out some information on for years! So, I have come to ya'll for help!

A couple years ago, I bought an 1966 M35a2 in the woods of Louisiana setting up that I truly believe is a real deal (one of the first) Test Vehicle guntrucks!! Everything about this truck is very odd. I know if it is a real test vehicle guntruck, It would be unique. The only surviving original truck is the 5 ton "Eve of Destruction".

My Vehicle USA number is 4H 4442. I asked the previous owner of this truck some questions about the truck when he bought it from Camp Shelby in Mississippi decades ago so the modifications were done by the military except for the round high pressure cylinder holders in the bed.

It has a ONE INCH THICK steel plate in the bed, side exhaust, had a radio wire going up through the floor of the cargo bed, interesting bolt pattern in the cargo bed, Roll cage in the cab, roll bar in the forward cargo bed, "TEST VEHICLE" in white letters on the rear tailgate, truck number was "TV 23". I can't make out the unit numbers on the passenger side front or the drivers side rear.

Thats the main characteristics. I am going to send ya'll a few of the best pics to view. The pics of the cargo bed I cleaned and marked all the holes and welds with soap-stone for easier viewing. Thanks for reading!! Mike Seal.

P.S. I found where txdodge43man put a post on this site years ago asking about info on this same truck!
 

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mikeseal43

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Very True!! I didn't think about that! They could have installed the extra weight in the cargo bed to try to make it top heavy! Whatever the military did, they make the ole truck overweight from the get-go! Here are more pics!
 

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gimpyrobb

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Well, the old gasser trucks had the exhaust like that, maybe they rigged up the multi to copy it. The roll bar could have been a "bubba" mod. What are the frame numbers, maybe we could get a build date on the truck.
 

hndrsonj

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Well, the old gasser trucks had the exhaust like that, maybe they rigged up the multi to copy it. The roll bar could have been a "bubba" mod. What are the frame numbers, maybe we could get a build date on the truck.
The 427 multi's had the rear exhaust also.
 

m816

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Guntrucks were built incountry by ingenious GI's, and modified to the needs of their crews. The early multifuels started with the exhaust shown in your picture. If anything, your truck looks like it was modified to sustain a rollover. I" thick steel would be too heavy for deuce, I would think. especially after loading up with weapons and ammo and a crew. A deuce probably wouldn't make it out the gate much less hold up to a convoy operation. The first hard turn would put it over on its back.
 

maddawg308

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TacticalTruck owns the world's only M124 10-ton that was used as a test bed for RO/RO operations in the 1960s, and it had a huge weight in the ass end of it for static load testing. Perhaps this was the reason the thick plate was installed? I thick the rollbar is simply to protect the driver because of said plate during a rollover.

I don't think this was an early guntruck test. Any engineer would know that 1" plate is WAY too much for armor protection, and that doesn't explain the fact there are no sides, door plates, etc. that would be much more useful. I don't see any bolt holes or attachment points for side armor either...

This looks like to me a bubba vehicle. Granted you got it direct from the military, or from the guy who did and he said he didn't mod it. If that's true, every base has a weird vehicle that has been modded to **** for a one-time strange use and the scars and seen on it for the rest of its days. Who knows what it could have been for.

My best guess, is a driver training vehicle. Stick a heavy load in the back, welded down, and a rollover bar in case the student driver screws up, and you have a ready-made vehicle for driver training - the deuce is loaded to max load capacity without a bunch of loose boxes or cargo in the back, and the safety bar is there for protection.
 

73m819

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In pic 5 of the second set, shows a MAGNETIC MOVEMENT SENSOR, most likely counting drive line rotation, or movement of a locked up drive line
 

nattieleather

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This is just a guess...but I bet it was a moving target for range operations. The plate in the back was for the range target (maybe early tows or dragons that fired a subcaliber round) and the roll bar was incase the drive slipped of the pit berm. The plate might have been an anchore for the target? Again this is only a theory since we don't have much info to go on, but most of the modified trucks from the military that I've seen had something to do with range ops.
 

mikeseal43

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Thank Ya'll for all the info and posts! This truck also has a faint white line painted all the way down the truck horizontally in addition to a vertical line painted down the front of the cargo bed. The Guy that bought the truck from camp shelby said it was already set-up with the ROP System. It's definately a weird vehicle! I also Found a smaller painted "TEST VEHICLE" underneath the existing "TEST VEHICLE" on the tailgate.
 

maddawg308

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Your last best bet at finding out what it is, is to contact David Doyle (here he's ddoyle), he might know more info. That, and you can write Military Vehicles Magazine, they might put your short letter with a pic or two in the front couple pages with a request for more info on the truck.

After that, if no positive news of it being a rarity or some unique piece of history, I'd just part the truck out and scrap the rest. Once again, I doubt this is something really unique or historically valuable. It's just a truck that got rode hard and put up wet. Many times.
 

M1031CMT

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The truck is "different". But even if it was some special test vehicle, it is in such bad condition that restoring it wouldn't be worth the effort. If it had some special equipment on it, or modified considerably then it might be worth it. But you are going to spend way over what the truck is worth to fix it up. Pretty much every bed panel, fender, or other surface is either badly dented or badly rusted. It would be cheaper to part it out and use the money to buy a better truck. But that is just my opinion.

Good luck on your hunt for information. I hope you find something positive.
 
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