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Extreme 4×4: 1968 M274-A5 Military Mule

Not the stubborn kind – quite the opposite – here we have a Mechanical Mule. These were manufactured by several companies starting in 1956. Designed by Willys, the original intent was medical evacuation but their go-anywhere capabilities soon ushered in new uses, from carrying sandbags to weapons. About 11,240 Mules were made over fourteen years and maybe 6,000 survive. Here on eBay is a 1968 M274-A5 Military Mule, bid to $5,000, reserve met. This Mule is in Redding, California. The seller has been working this Mule like a …. well, like a rented mule. It is shown in the snow, in the tropics hauling coconuts, and loaded with equipment for hunting. The A5 can carry half a ton of… whatever.

This is a Baifield Industries Mule. It’s an A5, the last in the line-up before Mules were discontinued in 1970. The A5 has an aluminum frame and an electric start for its rear-mounted two-cylinder air-cooled Hercules motor. Prior versions were pull-start. All Mules are four-wheel drive; the A5 offers a driver selection between two-wheel or four-wheel steering. The transmission is a three-speed crash box with one reverse gear. There’s no suspension except for the tires, so expect your teeth to rattle out, even at the typical speed of about 15 mph. Technically the top speed is 25 mph, but I don’t know if anyone has ever survived that speed in a Mule. This photo shows the lumber rack that the seller modified to fit this Mule, a handy item for sure since it offers modest weather protection as well as another platform for carrying stuff. The new owner gets the rack, but only one ammo box.

Yes, you can drop a Mule from the air and expect it to survive. (By the way, this is a stock photo in the eBay listing – the Mule shown is not the actual vehicle for sale.) Seriously, the Mule had attachment points for a harness for this very purpose. This Mule also comes with a rear Jeep seat so you can haul your buddies – but if you drop the Mule from the air, no buddies in the jump seat please!

Other charming details of the Mule include a moveable steering wheel so the vehicle could still be steered if the driver wanted to duck behind its frame to avoid gunfire. Yes, the Mule is geared so that a soldier can walk behind it and steer it. But let’s consider the civilian uses for this gem: Hunting, hauling hay to feed cattle on a 1200-acre pasture, landscaping, construction, towing. Maybe with a little modification – ice racing! What would you use it for?

Comments

  1. Lothar... of the Hill People

    In case you don’t want to go to Redding, CA to purchase this but still want to see one up close, you can go to the Military Veterans Museum & Education Center in Oshkosh WI. They got it running and have used it in parades, etc.

    They have a museum with interesting artifacts and a fantastic motor pool full of old military vehicles and equipment.

    https://mvmec.org/m274-mechanical-mule/

    https://mvmec.org/

    Happy 4th of July and God Bless America!

    Like 11
  2. Squigly

    Though interesting, I will stick with my Kawasaki Mule. About the same speed but a lot more comfortable. I have never gotten mine stuck, never.

    Like 4
  3. Doug E. Baeghe

    maximum overdrive…

    Like 9
  4. Howie

    Cool, $6,600 now, ends in 6 hours.

    Like 1
  5. Kevin

    TONS of fun, but not good for much in civilian world. I played with one for a few days in Vietnam.

    Like 6
  6. CaCarDude

    I remember those well from ’69 at Camp Evans in I Corps RVN. They were constantly running around the base. I sure would like to have this for hauling firewood rounds and other duty on my 5 acre parcel. Redding is only 3 hr form me, very tempting and interesting Barnfind!

    Like 6
  7. erik johnston

    cardude- if you got the funds, go get it. i wish i had 5 or more acres where i could use this.bad ass work horse. maybe when the grand babies get older-let them at it!

    Like 2
    • CaCarDude

      If I was 20 years younger and in better health I would have been the buyer for that, guaranteed. Sure did tempt me, need it with all the oak trees we have. I see it sold for $7100, a good deal for one lucky buyer!

      Like 2
  8. Gdrbo

    My Dad had two of them. Being young and maybe not too bright I had to see how fast one could be driven on a dirt road. I got it up to 40 MPH before I decided that was my limit. Dad was right behind me in his truck so I had a witness.

    Like 3
  9. Cooper

    Sure makes me miss Knob Creek!

    Like 1
  10. Howie

    Sold, $7,100.

    Like 2
  11. Pete

    Lo and Behold the first ATV. I’ve hauled a couple in the back of my Chinook. Drove them on and off. I think they also had a trailer that came with it. Maybe I am thinking Gama Goat. 40 years ago has sort of fuzzed up my memory. A great tool though for any era.

    Like 3
  12. Lesgo

    I had one when I was 15, It was a blast, I went everywhere on that thing.
    We took it to the Smoky mountains on a jeep ride, and to south Georgia deer hunting. It was a great fund raiser for the Boy scouts in Nashville. I kept it for almost 30 years.

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