We have all seen them. Lurking in a back corner of a yard or on the back row of a used car dealer lot lies that forgotten gem waiting to be rescued.
One day recently while I was out cruising, I found this treasure hidden on the back of a used car dealers lot in Frontenac , Florida.
The M37 was a 3/4 ton 4X4 truck built by Dodge for the military from 1950 until 1968. Over 115,000 copies saw their way into service as ambulances, fire trucks, ammunition carriers and radar vans. The The M37 came from Dodge with a 230 c.i. 7.9:1 compression ( low by modern standards, but good at the time of production) flathead L-six that pumped out 120 HP and 202 lb.-ft. of torque at a nice low 1600 rpm’s which was great for towing and off-road. There was one significant flaw in the old larger displacemnet L-6 engines, they achieved good low end torque by having a really long stroke. That’s ok as long as the rpm’s are low like when you are in the woods, but on the highway these engines had a reputation for snapping connecting rods at sustained higher rpm’s. The M37 has an NP-200 2 stick transfer case for the 4 wheel drive with a shifter for 2 /4 wheel drive and a shifter for high/low. The NP 200 (or NP 88845 in military terms) has a 1:1 high and a 1.96:1 low range for serious stuff.
Like any retired military vehicle, there just isn’t much interior to rot away, a quick coat of paint will have this one ready for the trails again.
Other than the removable hard top roof, this specimen has little rust for a 50 to 67 year old Florida ruck.
It looks like someone has invested in a decent set of tires. Drop in a Cummins 6BT (they can be found starting around $2500 for a running used one on craigslist) and a good bedliner paint job and this one will really turn some heads while slinging some mud. This could be a great build project for a truly unique off roader.
An employee attending the lot said the lot owner was out of town and he didn’t know if the truck was for sale, or was just in storage. If this is your truck, or if you know the owner, let us know in the comments. We would like to know more about this cool ride and if it is available for sale.If it’s not for sale we’d still like to know more about what you have done with it and plans for it’s future.
If you have a cool old ride in your yard collecting cobwebs and rusting away quietly, don’t shoot if you see me peeking over the fence! You may be featured on the next installment of Seen from the Road
See you on the road!
pictures by David Wilhite