Hunting Truck Alternative: ASV 2800

This ASV 2800 is a nifty track truck that has been fitted with an aftermarket pickup truck cap to make it into a compelling utility vehicle for off-road activities like hunting and camping. Originally designed as a mini trail groomer of sorts, the ASV 2800 is powered by an Isuzu-built diesel four-cylinder engine, which means I find this oddball even more endearing for the Isuzu connection alone. Find it here on Facebook Marketplace for $5,500.

The ASV typically is seen with a traditional pickup bed, and I’m amazed at how cleanly this generic bed cap fits the unusual trail truck. It really transforms the appearance from something only your local ski slope would use to a vehicle that looks useful beyond simply keeping the trails groomed for snow sports athletes. The track condition is obviously important to verify in advance, and the seller notes it comes with cleats for icy conditions.

Interestingly, in one of the few pieces of online commentary offering an opinion on the driving experience of a 2800 model, the feedback by one user mentions how the track truck isn’t great at charging up icy hills. Perhaps the cleats address that, but this one particular user also notes that the 2800 also struggles with heavier “drags” when using an attachment to groom a trail. If you’re on flat land with a lighter drag, it is described as a wholly capable machine.

The seller notes the ASV steers like a car, so perhaps the driving experience isn’t as utilitarian as one might expect just by looking at it. I like the brush guard and metal “exoskeleton” the 2800 wears, but you likely won’t be going fast enough to ever need the protection it offers. The good news is that the Isuzu 4JB1 that likely powers this off-road device was used in multiple applications, so parts-sourcing may be easier than expected. Thanks to Barn Finds reader James B. for the find.

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    This is pretty neat, but not the 1st time we’ve seen these. I thought CL had crummy pictures, FB is even worse. Not to upstage Jeff at all, but Scotty G wrote a very informative article on one a couple years ago, and kind of fills in the blanks.
    https://barnfinds.com/on-track-1985-asv-2500-track-truck/
    I think it’s good idea, but the way it’s equipped, those front tires are for no snow applications, they will hold you back in snow, and unless the tracks stop independently, turning will be impossible. Also, that Isuzu diesel, while dependable, is lax in the power dept. and you could get this baby stuck real easy. I think new, these were like $40 grand, so a pretty good deal here.

    Like 2
  2. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Howard is right, those tires will just plow snow. You need tires that are narrower with deep lugs to cut through snow. Interesting vehicle though it’s apparently underpowered but maybe it has enough if you’re not dragging something or it’s not overloaded. Looks like a fun rig though I’m not sure there will be a lot of interest in it. But what do I know, there’s a butt for every seat.

    • chrlsful

      these things “get stronger” w/more weight on’em (NE groomer at ski mtn in mid ’80s), but, yes, change out to skids on the frnt…we even used one to visit individual buckets on maple trees in unpacked sno…

      Like 3
  3. Redwagon

    Brush guard and exoskeleton for grooming where there are low hanging branches. Intimate nordic ski experience.

    Like 1
    • Steve

      My thoughts exactly. The exo is meant to protect the sheetmetal from brush/ limbs, not a safety device.

      Like 1
      • chrlsful

        yes – safety, no – roll bar

        Like 1
  4. CanuckCarGuy

    You’d want to be more bouyant on the snow if you’re trail grooming…putting deep ruts into it would be somewhat counterproductive. Unless this is driven beyond its design speeds, you’d be fine taking it off road as your traction is from the tracks.

    Like 1
  5. Wayne

    The body lines look to be the same as an early Isuzu pick up. (Chevy LUV) So I think it is safe to assume that the modified bed started at least from those dies. So the addition of the shell was not that “lucky” to find. It may have even been an option when new., Yes, wrong front tires to be worth anything in the show.

  6. the one

    OK who doesn’t want this????? Holy moly! Crashing through the woods etc!! Fun fun,fun!!!

    Like 5
  7. Millwright Chris

    Howard A, Thank you for that link. Half tracks are interesting machines. All tracks are higher maintenance than wheels, sprung tracks higher than solid undercarriage. My sprung-track Studebaker M-29 Weasel has so many grease fittings (64 I think) I lose “track” going from the outside to inside sets. I wipe the zerks off after ALL of them are greased, to be able to tell where I’ve been. The advantage of tracks over wheels is undeniable for floatation though. I don’t see mention as to whether or not the wheels are driven, and from the photos they don’t appear to be. The WWII vintage U.S.of A. halftracks had driven front axles and were very effective on and off road machines. The German halftracks did not have driven front axles, and were said to be far less effective than the U.S. machines, being hard to turn and bogging down in front in low traction conditions. That was the impression of G.I.s that had driven captured German equipment. Mud and snow front tires, as said above, would definitely help. A driven front axle with a limited slip or locker in it would make this hard to stop in the slop. Very cool, and I agree more so with the cap.

    Like 1
    • local_sheriff

      Without having driven any of them personally(sadly…) German WW2 halftracks are said to have superior X-country characteristics compared to the US variants. Being more 3/4tracked than just halftrack more of the vehicle’s weight is put on the tracks, and when front wheels exceed 15deg final drive steering brakes assist steering.

      Though a complex design German AFVs were reverse-engineered postwar by Czech Praga and Tatra as OT810 and were in Army reserves well into the 90s. Chances are have you seen any WW2 movie lately any SdKfz 251 will be a facelifted OT810

  8. Patrick Farmer

    Allright, where is the rest of the Jupiter 2. By looking at the redneck damage to the Chariot, I am assuming Dr. Smith lived through the crash.

    Like 3
  9. John

    Damn, fabricate a mount for a snowplow and add a pair of tri-ribs, so it can steer, and it would be much nicer for plowing than the tractor I now use. And, it’s less than 2 hours away … damn.

  10. Millwright Chris

    Yes, The OT810 was almost a direct copy, however the most noticeable difference, often removed in an effort to be more “German” for movies, re-enactors, and whomever, was the addition of a “roof” over the cargo area to keep grenades and other “offensive” objects from entering. I believe the piece of half-track equipment you are referring to with the final drive brake steering “assist” is the Kettenrad, a curious small prime mover for lightweight artillery pieces. It basically has a motorcycle handlebars and front wheel ahead of the driver, which was all but useless for anything beyond keeping it pointed straight down it’s path. As the handlebars swung through their arc, they would actuate the linkage to assist steering through the final drive that is referred to .THAT piece of equipment did indeed have good cross country ability as it was virtually a full tracked vehicle. The Sdkfz. 251 half tracks didn’t have that kind of reputation. I did happen to have the opportunity to see a Kettenrad up close, and also being driven around. Very interesting piece of equipment.

    Like 1
    • local_sheriff

      SdKfz 2 Kettenkrad is indeed a ‘cute’ halftrack (is it OK to say that…?) and I’ve had the enjoyment of observing some examples up close at a few occations.

      Actually; EVERY WW2 German halftrack – from the SdKfz 2 via the armoured 250/251 siblings to the massive SdKfz 9(FAMO) – were equipped with final drive steering brake assist. Only halftrack equipped with regular truck axle was the Maultier.

      I agree the open top SdKfz250/251 made their occupants vulnerable to mortar and artillery fire as opposed to the OT810 – at the same time they had superior visibility and were able to fire their personal weapons from the vehicle

  11. BR

    I don’t believe this particular machine was meant for snow duty at all. More for a recreational/hunting vehicle, or hiking trail maintenance (not building one. That’s for a Sweco 480) As y’all know, ASV is better known for it’s brand of tracked skid steers, or CTL’s (Compact Track Loaders).

    Like 1
  12. Richard Gugenberger

    my snowmachine club had one of these , replaced it with a Tucker , Like someone said , ok but Tucker much better . ASV stands for all surface vehicle , yes they can be used year round , front axle is not powered , might change things if it was , ours had a perkins diesel if I remember right . Used like it was ment to be
    is an Ok vehicle

    Like 1

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