Editor Find! What the Heck is a Tugley?

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A few days ago, I spotted this winter-ready rig on the side of the road near North Scituate, Rhode Island. I was on my way to inspect some rare junkyard parts for my rusty 190E 2.3-16 project and had to pull over to grab some pictures for our readers. It’s for sale, but there’s just one problem: I can’t find any information on the make or model of this rig, which has one potential clue with the name “Tugley” on the front. Or is it just clever nickname?

I’m sure our readers can figure this out. The Tugley branding looks just close enough to professional to be an actual make or model, but I suppose someone who was friends with a graphic designer could create the branding as well. It certainly looks the part of an aircraft tug that’s been converted to snow plow use – perhaps this vintage rig formerly plowed runways at nearby T. F. Green Airport.

The truck itself is a simple apparatus, with an upright cab featuring seating for two. The body design absolutely indicates a previous life as a tow vehicle, so hopefully it’s counter-balanced properly with the heavy plow and attachment up front. Rust isn’t too bad, but there’s plenty of surface corrosion to contend with. The large tires appeared to have plenty of bite left to them.

The faded sign shows an asking price (or possibly firm price) of $7,500. I noticed the phone number got washed out, so let me know if you’re interested in the full number as I’ll be back this way tomorrow. If you know the origins of this truck or more details on the mechanical bits underneath, please let us know in the comments below.

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  1. john s

    It’s an airport tug of some sort.

    Like 7
    • john s

      Coleman MB4 Aircraft Tug

      Like 12
  2. Jon Rappuhn

    Interesting little truck but seems to me to have very limited use for $7500. (Or is it just me?)

    Like 4
    • GearHead Engineer


      It is not just you.

      – John

      Like 1
    • Robert White

      Living in CANADA’s capital necessitates efficient snow removal capability.

      MB4 Aircraft Tug looks like the King of snow plows IMHO.

      If I was Warren Buffett I would be on this like white on rice.


      Like 1
  3. David

    tow tractor for moving light ACFT

    Like 0
  4. Bill

    It could have come from Quonset Naval Air Station down at Quonset Point. They build subs down there now.

    Like 2
  5. Oingo

    knock a 0 off and we can talk.

    Like 5
  6. Kenneth Carney

    Don’t need that snow plow here in Florida,
    but I’ll bet she’d tow a tandem axle trailer
    full of scrap with no trouble at all. If I
    could get it for a much better price, I’d find some uses for it. Put a cammo paint
    job on it and I’ll guaranty the local rednecks here would be all over it!

    Like 3
  7. jdjonesdr

    Zero use for this even if it was free, but I want it. What’s wrong with me?

    Like 13
  8. whmracer99

    I’ll defer to John S if he knows what it is — to me it looks like the small tractors they use to ferry trailers around large yards to load/unload, for maintenance, etc.. They don’t go very fast and I wouldn’t want to drive this one at any speed with the potential counter-balance issues. Might be good for use as a plow vehicle but can’t really think of any other use for it. Agree with the above comment that it’s got 1 too many zeros in the price.

    Like 1
    • HoA Howard AMember

      Sorry, I defer your deferment, John is right. It’s a ’57-’70(?) Coleman MB4 ( all wheel drive, all wheel steer)airport tug. They were made in LIttleton, Col.

      Like 4
  9. FordGuy1972 Fordguy1972Member

    The name indicates what it is for to me. It’s a yard rig for moving trailers, boats, mobile homes, etc around a large complex instead of tying up an expensive road tractor. Not for highway use and probably has limited use as is. Just my guess. Curious to know what year it was made.

    Like 1
  10. Ike Onick

    It’s a Budd Tugley

    Like 2
    • GO-PAR

      AKA a tug that’s butt-ugly

      Like 1
  11. LAB3

    If you needed to do some plowing where there’s a lot of tight turns to be made this would certainly be the thing to have for $2k in running condition.

    Like 3
  12. Pete

    I used to drive one when I was in US Army Aviation to pull chinooks around. Top speed is like 35MPH. This one has had the back bed removed. As stated in the link above it has all wheel steering so that you can zig zag or make some really tight circles. You can set them so you can drive side ways to. Has a huge amount of torque and pulling capacity. You could pull train cars with it if ya wanted. His price would be fine if it was in mint condition,, like freshly restored. If it works correctly in the condition it is in now. Then I would say about 2500. You can get a better one though at a Govt Auction for a lot less and it would have twice the towing capacity so you could pull a C-5 Galaxy with it. LMAO

    Like 1
  13. Evan

    It may be a Coleman MB4, as folks have said, but that looks like a modified DJ-3 Jeep (aka Postal) cab to me.

    Like 0
  14. ctmphrs

    Are you sure it didn’t say fugly on the front.

    Like 2
  15. BR

    It has a huge counterweight hanging off the stern.

    Like 2
  16. Mike

    Coleman MB4 Aircraft Tug “TUGLEY” Ugly and F= Fugley hence: Ugley Tug = Tugley Dose not take long to figure out who ever named it said :Dame That’s Ugly.

    Like 0
  17. MDCustom

    This one looks similar but it MUCh better shape and a LOT cheaper:


    Not my ad. Just saw it pop up and it reminded me of this Tugley.

    Like 0
  18. j

    it is a coleman aircraft tow truck

    Like 0

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