Amphibious Rarity: 1960 LARC-V

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While we see a fair amount of articles and profiles around the DUKW amphibious vehicle, there was another model created in the same spirit of extreme cargo ferrying abilities in wartime exercises that gets far less airtime: the LARC-V. Just under 1,000 of these battle-ready machines were made, with a significant portion of them being scuttled upon the U.S.’ exit from South Vietnam. Few remain in private hands today, but this example listed here on Facebook Marketplace appears to be one of them. Powered by a Cummins diesel V8 engine, the LARC-V can reach lands speeds of about 30 miles per hour – but really, this cargo carrier belongs on the water. The asking price is $10,000.

The ad no longer reflects this, but the LARC-V was listed for $20,000 before the seller reduced it. I would have a hard time placing a value on something like this myself, as they are incredibly rare and have a good deal of historical value, but outside of that, how do you justify the restoration costs? While there’s a market for military vehicles, most of those are vehicles that can be pressed into daily duty once in a while if needed. The LARC-V isn’t exactly commuter-friendly, but it could be if you happen to have a few river crossings in your journey. The LARC-V sports an aluminum hull.

The U.S. Army did retail a few of these vessels after Vietnam, so this is likely one of those machines that fell into civilian hands following a surplus auction or related circumstance of the military selling off unwanted equipment. It’s surprising, as the LARC-V is still generally considered to be a useful tool even as on-the-ground combat begins to diminish. Recent successes enjoyed by the LARC-V include being deployed to Queensland, Australia, to assist with flood response efforts in 2010-2011. Today, you’re more likely to see one stateside being used for tour duty, such as how the DUKW can be seen in various harbors around the country as a waterway taxi.

The seller doesn’t provide any details on the engine’s health, other than noting it ran when parked 15 years ago. Now, normally, I’d say so what but given it’s a Cummins-built diesel, there’s a good chance it will shake the dust off fairly easily. That being said, even a neglected Cummins will prove challenging to start, and the military isn’t always kind to machinery, especially that which is considered outdated. The LARC-V can not only travel in water and on land, but it can scale grades as high as 60 percent and comes with the convenience of power-assist steering. While not the most practical project, it has a very real history and an impressive track record of service. Is $10,000 a fair price for this amphibious rarity?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Phlathead Phil

    A strange looking beast.

    Like 6
    • Bill McDonough

      Graduated from the DUKW to a LARC V 5 ton capacity in the Army Reserve in Victoria, Australia. Was one of the first part-time Army soldiers to be licensed to operate one of these vessels. The DUKW was a GMC truck with a hull and a very robust vehicle in and out of the water. It also had a good range on land. The LARC however relied on large tires for suspension and had limited range on land, but was faster and more maneuverable in the water. Loved the sound and power of that 300hp Cummins V8.

      Like 14
    • fordford1987

      she is a pretty girl

      Like 1
  2. Captainmark

    There was a stash of these in MA. I inventoried for a potential investor. IIRC 5 of the larc 5, a dozen or so of the larc 15 and 1 larc 60. Amazing machines. The smaller ones were Cummings 903 diesels, the 60 had a 6-71 for each wheel. Nice equipment, lots of work to make this one right, but probably worth it if you have the money.

    Like 17
  3. dogwater


    Like 2
  4. Allgonquin

    The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville has one of the large ones in their collection. It is a gigantic beast. Every year they take it out and crush a car with it in the parking lot as a publicity event.

    Like 17
  5. Bmac777

    Looks like a mini “Edmund Fitzgerald”

    Like 12
    • RJ

      Thanks. You just have to take the fun out everything. Here I’m thinking about driving around the desert, then cruising Lake Mead, now all I can think about is sitting on the bottom of Lake Superior.

      Like 5
  6. Leslie Mauldin

    The Lane Museum in TN has an example of the largest model of the LARCs.

    Like 4
  7. DavidLMember

    Best bet is to bargain it down and donate to a non-profit military museum for the tax write off if you’re in the right tax bracket?

    Like 4
  8. Mike

    Just to make car people scratch their heads, how about fixing it up and strapping an Amphicar on to it and hit the water?

    Like 8
  9. Bill

    Almost bought one of these in CA years ago. Incredible piece of equipment, Cummins diesels, all aluminum construction, all you would expect from a “money is no object” government build. Glad I flew in to look at it first though picture don’t do it justice it’s huge! Not something you’re going to comfortably drive down the road. Great if you have a spot near the water though. The tires are aircraft tires I think B-17 or B-25.
    I decided to hold out for a DUKW.

    Like 7
    • Bill McDonough

      Hi Bill, Did you eventually buy a DUKW? I cut my teeth on these vessels (GMC truck’s with a hull) and gained a great deal of respect for them. Have crashed through many a wave on our surf beaches in ship-to-shore transport exercises. A fun vehicle to operate, but don’t turn side-on in the surf.

      Like 1
  10. Kenn

    If I lived near New Orleans or any other flood-prone area I’d buy it, get it operational, and make a bundle during big floods.

    Like 12
  11. t-bone bob

    Item location: Baltimore, MD

    Like 3
  12. chrlsful

    “…fair amount of articles and profiles around the…”
    yup, as CapinM knows – more deaths locally.

    Like 0
    • Freddy


      Like 1
    • DavidLMember


      Like 1
  13. Kerry Duris

    The Navy still has the LARC V probably 12 or so on each coast with beachmasters. i was there in Coronado as the Equipment Officer and these beast are really expensive to fix and maintain. Most parts have to be reversed engineered.

    Like 3
  14. Jack Chomley

    Australian Army had some of these powered by the Cummins 855 V8
    (Forerunner to the V903)
    Many were auctioned off in the 1990s

    Like 0
  15. Bill

    Hey Bill, saw a few project DUKW’s and I think wisely decided to wait to buy a restored one at some point, lots of projects that have had to come first though.

    Like 0
  16. John McDowell

    1968 Vietnam Wonder Beach. I jumped from Barks and larks out in the middle of the ocean rain or shine park next to ships off loading cargo concrete ,asphalt, clothing, PSP and the 5th Infantry . The work shift 12 hours on 12 hours off 7 days a week.

    Like 3
  17. Lawrence

    The Singapore Army has quite a large number of the LARC V. I was a technician for this vehicle during my service. Please do not waste your time……

    Like 1
  18. Thomas Pickens

    I operated LARC’s in Vietnam, with the 458th Transportation Company LA. 66-67. Ship to shore of all things the military used. The LARC V had a 5 ton capacity, but in calm waters we sometimes pushed it to 12,000 lbs. I had the unpleasant pleasure of sinking one that was overloaded at ship side.the usage for cargo hauling tapered off 1967, and the company switched to Boston Whalers for patrol duties. In early 1968 the Company became the only Army unit to operate PBR’s.

    Like 1
  19. David Z.

    I was stationed at Fort Story, Va. Which is right on land that curves from the Chesapeake Bay to the Atlantic Ocean. I would sit up on the hill of our Nike Hercules launcher area and watch soldiers training in these LARCs. Fun to watch them drive in and out of the bay.

    Like 1
    • John Hanes

      In the summer of 1978, I rode one from Ft. Eustis to Ft. Story, hauling dummy cargo as part of JAWS 13 exercise for the 32d Trans. Gp. (Tml), USAR. A sweet ride, and with a full escort of dolphins off the port bow. Loved just driving up onto the beach. If I had the money, I would get one.

      Like 0
  20. Calvin Osterhoudt

    With all the work that it needs to be seaworthy again, $10K is a bit much, I’d buy it for about $5K

    Like 1
  21. Gerardo Madrigal


    Does someone know if there are parts available for LARC-V?

    I read an article saying the US goverment ordered a few units on recent years, that makes me think that there could be parts in stock somewhere.

    Thanks so much for any comment that could help!

    Like 1
    • Kerry

      General parts are available for the engines (Detroit) but we we had to reverse engineer alot of them. Seabee base in in Gulfport overhauls these when I was with the beach masters late 90,s and rye navy still has them

      Like 1
  22. Dennis John O'Rourke

    I Operated and maintained a LARK at Cape Canaveral 1963-66, they were used for Astronaut recovery on the Mercury and Gemina programs.

    Dennis O’Rourke

    Like 3
  23. Dennis O’Rourke

    I work on the R&D LARK that produced the Production version in these pictures. I wrote a paper about them – the machine is all mechanical – 25 hrs maintenance for every hour of operation, this was the design philosophy in the 50s

    Like 0
  24. Jack Chomley

    I used to operate these in Army at 42 TPT PL (Amphibious) Randwick Australia.
    Engine is Cummins 855 with PTG fuel system @300hp (forerunner to the Cummins V903 engine)

    Like 0
  25. Bruce Churchill

    I bought this old girl a couple years back. my health sucks, so it’s not getting reassembled to quick. I look at this photo and recognize a difference. I love it like I do my dog I live on the Clark fork river n hope to sail it there one day Seems a great deal of the metal parts are heavily rusted. Right now she needs axle brake calipers. It may need quite a bit more. It started out in Vero beach then went to mass. then to mt.If anyone knows of one or somone w parts please rsvp. thanx Bruce

    Like 0
  26. Michael

    Have you consider reaching out the the Beach Master Units in the Navy? They still operate them so they know where to get parts.

    Beachmaster Unit (BMU) 2
    1745 10th Street
    Virginia Beach, Virginia 23459-2942

    Quarterdeck: DSN 253-7722 and commercial is (757) 462-7722
    Command Duty Officer: 757 615-7850 (available 24hrs to assist if you are having any difficulties in reporting or if you are in need of transportation from the airport)
    Career Counselor: or (757) 462-3120

    Like 0

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