The M151

M151 in Berlin
An M151 in Berlin, photograph courtesy of US Government, from the Olive-Drab collections

The first M151s rolled off of Ford's assembly line about 8 years after their design began in 1951, having been prototyped and tested throughout much of the 1950's. One essential job of this tough, versatile little jeep was to get men through the trenches to the front line. It was first put to that test in Vietnam, and it did the job well. Never intended to be driven at high speeds on flat surfaces, the M151 excelled on the land that it had been designed to conquer, and quickly became the primary combat jeep of that era.

The M151 might have looked a little like the M38A1 series jeeps that it had been designed to replace, but technically it was quite different. Inspired by European designs, it boasted such improvements as independant coil spring suspension all round, a unitary body and an overhead valve engine. It was designed to be faster and more comfortable than previous jeeps, especailly over rough terrain. The tyres were specifically designed with non-directional tread. This meant that there was no tread pattern, which helped it to grip wet surfaces, and in particular, soft wet earth.

  
M151 with Arctic Hard Top
An M151 with Arctic hard top. Photograph courtesy of US Government, from the Olive-Drab collections


M151's in the production line

M151's in the production line during the early 1960's. Photo from the Olive-Drabb collection.




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