FC Find! Jeep Forward Control Truck Collection

From 1956 to 1965 Willys Motors produced various models of the Jeep Forward Control truck in what turned out to be a modestly successful attempt to expand the company’s presence within the utility vehicle market.  The FC was never quite the big seller Willys hoped for, largely due to its unusual design and strange, space insect appearance.  To me these trucks look an awfully lot like Japanese mini-trucks widely produced and distributed nowadays from the likes of Daihatsu, Suzuki, and Mitsubishi among others.  Did the design and appearance of the FC directly influence mini-trucks later developed in Asia?  This collection of at least a half-dozen FC’s is available from the same seller via three separate Craigslist ads here, again here, and once again here in Upstate, New York – just a stone’s throw from Oneonta.

At $4,500 OBO, the “green and blue” FC-150 in this photo seems to be the nicest one in the lot and the one the seller values the highest.  It’s tough to sort through the hastily written Craigslist ad, but from what I gather the seller is offering a total of four more-or-less complete 150’s, one 170, and a 170 DRW – along with extra motors and parts.  It’s hard to tell which if any of these trucks are running and there are no decent photos provided of any of the engines or interiors.  Ol’ green and blue looks to be all there and still wears its Jeep badge behind the passenger door.  Check out the clever design of the spare tire carrier.  I can’t decide if this truck would look better after going through a full restoration, or should it be proudly preserved in its vintage state (minus the pigeon-dropping patina)?

The above photo shows the one FC-170 available in the collection and it’s being offered at $3,500.  It’s looking pretty rough without a windshield, a somewhat gutted interior, and no box.  The seller claims to have a dump mechanism for it, however, it’s not clear if that’s included in the price.  In each of the ads, the seller lists 1960 as the model year, but I am curious to know if that is accurate for all the trucks or if he simply didn’t take the time to list specific information about each one.   Amazingly the FC-150 came with a 78-inch cargo box – on a vehicle that only measured 147.5 inches in total length!  FC-170 models were bigger, offering a wider wheelbase and a longer 108-inch bed.  Willys mounted its famous four-cylinder F-head Hurricane motor under the cab of the 150, the same 72 horsepower motor that powered the CJ-3B.  Speaking of which, could that be an old blue “High Hood” parked behind the 170?  As for the FC-170, it was powered by a Willys Hurricane 6, which produced 105 horsepower.

Willys also offered a dual-rear-wheel version of the FC-170 dubbed the DRW.  The seller is offering this DRW tanker for $4,000, claiming it looks to be complete and that he has a windshield for it.  He is one of those Craigslist seller’s whose CAPS lock button on his keyboard is strangely stuck on, and he goes on to explain in the ad that the DRW is “NOT RUNNING BUT TOLD IT RAN.”  Willys intended their FC trucks for work and as such, any survivors that haven’t been restored are typically in fairly rough condition, as with these examples.  However this seller has amassed a nice collection and for someone looking for parts to keep their FC restoration project moving forward, he might be able to help.  For someone wishing to start a new project from the ground up there might be some decent bones here to choose from.  Willy’s aficionados are a talented and resourceful group – at least a couple of these trucks might just be back-up and running in no time!

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Designed by Brooks Stevens and got the inspiration from larger cabover semis. FC’s are rare, not because they didn’t make many, mostly because they were very popular with gas stations and municipal depts. for their tight turning in plowing, and consequently, rusted terribly. A CJ, at least when it rusted out, you could still sit on a 5 gallon pail. When the cabs fell off of these, it was curtains. Most had the guts pulled and junked. Person wants top buck, in my opinion, but given the rarity today, it may just be worth it. That dually is as rare as hand signals.

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    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Rare as hand-signals? Oh, come now, Howard. Every time I take the ol’ ’49 out for a cruise down the 2-land blacktop there’s always people giving me hand-signals, usually those driving an import personal luxury car or SUV. I just smile and signal them back, with a different signal of course. No sense two of us playing the same game….

      9
      • Howard A Member

        Not those hand signals, silly!!

        2
  2. Farhvergnugen

    170 occupies a place on my bucket (seat) list.

    4
  3. Neal

    Simple comment:

    Those aren’t high on my vehicle wish list, but they sure are cool!

    6
  4. Alexander

    There has been a 1958 FC-150 listed on Facebook classified for at least 6 months locally (Tennessee). In about the same price and condition as “ol’ green and blue,” above. I believe it has the longer bed, is missing it’s windshield, and an additional chassis is offered.

  5. Jimmy

    If I had the space and time old Green & Blue would certainly have a spot in my garage.

    2
  6. wuzjeepnowsaab

    You haven’t lived ’til you’ve driven a 150 through a big city and had to slam on the binders. No roller-coaster can make your tail end pucker like a panic stop in one of these can.

    The 170 is much more civil with that extra wheelbase…but a 150 has a better space bug look. I love them.

    4
    • scottymac

      In the 60s, when the major manufacturers went to the forward control layout for their new baby pickups, they were similar to the Jeep.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrhCAiV7diY

      If you watch to 3:45, you’ll see what wjns above talks about. Ford placed a 150 pound weight in the rear bumper, but using “poetic license” (lies), the advertising agency removed the Econolines weight for a more dramatic presentation.

      1
  7. Vegaman_Dan

    It’s like a Jeep and a VW Bus had a baby.

    I like it! Has that nice cabover appearance on a vehicle of a reasonable size to still park in the driveway. I love utility vehicles and these scream purpose built and used.

    7
  8. Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    That’s one of the best opening photos of all time!

    2
  9. Camaro Joe

    That brings back memories. My Dad had a 1957 FC-170 in 1967. We headed out to go deer hunting in Franklin PA about 5:00 AM. The throttle cable broke, but we took the motor cover off and I worked the throttle by hand for about 20 miles and 35 miles back home. At 14 it’s pretty good stuff.

    It’s one of those “You know you grew up with a Redneck” if you did this stuff. Every time I thought I have a mechanical engineering degree and I’m smarter than him, it blew up in my face. Gott’a love those days.

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  10. Howard A Member

    They had a ton of concept vehicles for the FC. One was the FC190, that was supposed to have a 272 Ford V8 behind the cab. THAT would have been interesting.

    4
  11. Doug Member

    I’ve loved these ever since I saw my first one a few years ago. I’m still hoping that Jeep will move the Mighty concept to production…being a VW Westy enthusiast lusting after a Synchro the thought of a new, go-anywhere van with a cool design gets me hot and bothered.

    1
  12. boxdin

    I’ve thought many times how I need a ranch or at least a ranchette to move dirt around, dig trenches, move hay and all the other things I could use my FC170 for. Alas I’m stuck in suburbia with no dirt to move or trenches dug. I still lust after a nice FC170 like the jeep concept one of 5 yrs ago(?) Geared axels wow!
    Responding to another post we receives one finger salutes regularly due to our ponderous Ramcharger in front of them.

    The scorn I receive when driving my Ramcharger 2wd from the lexus crowd makes me smile from ear to ear. My wife has taken it over explaining “I’m big now” so we all better get out of her way.
    So we are familiar with “hand signals” too from those who think we are backwards toothless trolls. But when the good looking blonde drives the Ramcharger lots of heads spin.

    5
  13. Wayne

    I have always liked these ever since having one at the dealership to plow snow with. The braking situation is even more scary with a plow mounted on the front. I always thought ( yes even back in 1972 ) that these would be the best vehicle ever to mount a full size ( but short) travel trailer on the back. ( it would help the weight distribution). But these always looked the best nice and pretty with stake sides mounted on the bed rails. (JMHO)
    There was one at Hot August Nights a few years ago.. It was at the burn-out contest. It had a nasty sounding small block Chevy that lit all four wheels until you could no longer see the truck! It did not leave under it’s own power however.

    5
  14. Karl

    Very unique vehicles here definitely the most I have ever seen in one location. The US military used a few of these not as a tactical vehicle but just for general use. If you want to take the term “Rare” one step further, they also made this vehicle with a diesel engine. The engine was built by Cerlist (please check spelling) but I believe it was a 3 cylinder diesel that made around 80 hp. I have never seen one in person but to the folks who collect these vehicles it’s like the Holy Grail I guess!

    3
  15. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    This was when Jeeps were real Jeeps built by Willys. Now their all just Fiats, like all the Chrysler products are now. Wouldn’t give you two cents for all the new ones. But these things were real mountain goats, you needed a job done this would get it done.

    1
  16. Ken

    I wonder if John North Willys would be annoyed or amused to know people mispronounce his last name. Replace the “y” with an “i” and you’ll have the correct pronunciation.

  17. Philip

    In the early 80’s, I bought a 58 FC150 from a widow who sold me all her husbands VW’s. I drove it home, but the engine needed rebuilding. I visited my local machine shop and asked if he would rebuild it for me. He said that he had a rebuilt under the bench that the original owner never picked up. So, for $300 and my engine, I had a ‘new’ engine. It was set up like the one in the pix with the snow plow. It had the flatbed with hoist and a PTO winch on the front bumper.

    I used it for getting/hauling firewood for my fireplace. Later traded it for a 72 Ford PU that only needed painting. My former boss and his sons had done all the work to the Ford except paint. I painted the PU and they went through the Jeep and fixed all the air gaps and other things wrong with it, then mounted a snow plow on the front. It looked great when they got done with it.

  18. chad

    frnd did nose stands in the late 60s w/his – used a alu beer keg on the side for a gas tank. Wrked it in his landscapin biz.

  19. Craig B.

    I have a couple of FC’s in my fleet…

    3

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