Military Hauler: 1978 Dunbar Kapple M100

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Do you have a military Willys MB / Jeep? Have you been looking for a military trailer for it? Here it is: a 1978 Dunbar Kapple M100 found here on craigslist in Rapid City, SD; home of the Ellsworth Air Force Base. The seller says that the first $1,200 gets it and that may be a great deal for one of these trailers in decent condition. There are a lot of military collectors out there looking for these trailers to restore and pull behind their restored Jeeps for parades and other functions.

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This military trailer is actually in great condition, considering that most of them are rusted out after this many decades. Trailers in much worse condition than this one are being restored by military collectors and this one would be a snap to restore given its solid shape.

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See, even the rear flank is in great shape! I don’t even have a Jeep and I want this thing, it would be a fun restoration project. I have seen these trailers painted red but I’m not positive why that is, maybe one of you will know. Dunbar Kapple made boat trailers under the name Trailcar, and farm implement trailers – mainly grain vacuums and driers sold under the name Vac-U-Vator, and of course, military trailers. The company went bankrupt in the late-1980s after diversifying and changing ownership several times and moving from Iowa to Illinois, and they were bought out by a Minnesota company that continues to produce the grain-dryers.

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Things look really good here. This would not be a detailed, extensive, or expensive restoration project.

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This is a solid project. I’m not even a military vehicle collector and I want to buy and restore this cool trailer. How would you restore this trailer and how would you use it once it’s done?

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Comments

  1. Rustowner

    These trailers, including the later M416 version, (as well as their earlier civilian relatives, Bantam and Spen) are great for light duty hauling. This one is WAAAAAAAY over priced for the shape it’s in however. The sides look pretty good, but there are no pics of the floor or frame underside though. It’s missing it’s landing gear, lunette eye and looks like it’s parking brake. Also, I’m wondering why the paperwork says 1978 on it. Production for the M100 was long over by then (Korean war vintage) and onto the M416 (Vietnam vintage). A good starting point for one of these, but only worth $400 to 600 bucks in my opinion.

  2. Howard A Member

    OMG, OMG, OMG, FINALLY, the trailer of my dreams,,,,,( Scotty knows my sarcastic sense of humor) Well, they only made a few hundred thousand of these, but many were destroyed or dumped in the ocean ( Knew someone in the Navy, when returning from Japan, they were ordered to dump everything at sea) I agree with Rustowner, these had a “pintle type” hitch, and you could probably drop them out of an airplane, and they survived ( only to get blown up later) Great for a collector, but as said, a little pricey just for a trailer. http://www.offroaders.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/jeep-trailer-cemetary-Okinawa-1949-a.jpg

  3. Dave Wright

    I sold the last one like this I had last year. This is not a M100 But a less valuable M416 variant. M100s have round fenders. I sold lhe last one to my neighbor for 500.00. I bought it the year before with a generator in it and a aluminum top fabricated for 350.0O directly from the Forrest Service. Sold the generator for 1000.00, the top for 300.00 and the trailer for 500.00. It still had all the Military tags paint landing gear and brakes. It was in very good shape compared with this one having spent much of it’s life covered and the bed well oiled. They are great little trailers well designed for there job of being towed behind a Jeep. They are waterproof and could carry water or even fuel loose in the bed. For utility. I would buy a tailgate from a early Willys pickup and install it (it is the correct width) it is a pain to lift cargo over the fixed sides. Every nut bolt and panal can be bought new or even NOS for these the price is very high for a M416 but not for a M100…… I am sure the seller knows that and is looking for a fish.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Dave, good luck on finding a Willys tail gate. I had a few pickups, and luckily they had tail gates, but heard they are hard to find. Also, this trailer has the “1203 flammable” placard and is painted red. Cold this have been some sort of “jerry can” fuel transporter?

  4. Dave Wright

    Howard, How many tailgates do you want? Do you want it with or without the Willhs script, or a Jeep script? I have a buddy that makes them by the hundreds. If you want a cheeper one, the ones made in the Phillapines work too. When you cut the back of the trailer, you have to make some framing to support the sides but it is easy stuff. The hooks and brackets were used to mount what we call a pioneere kit that includes an axe, shovel and that sort of stuff. They also have hooks to attach a tarp.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Dave, do I get a price break at a thousand? Not in the Mid-west. What happened was farmers would remove the tailgate and put it in the barn and forget about it until long after the truck was gone. They do show up from time to time at farm auctions though.

      • Dave Wright

        Try Kiaserwillys auto supply but there are many many other sources.

  5. Terry J

    Of course the back story is the 1/4 ton 4×4 car Bantum built for the pre WW2 military trials that created a revolution (and got the horse out of war). But the Govt. awarded the production to Ford and Willys and Bantum got to build the trailer (plus a few of their light cars nicknamed the JEEP!) I had a 1946 American Bantum trailer with a tailgate. The Military versions did not have a tailgate because they were designed to float as the Jeep forded river crossings, but they did have a plug in the bottom to drain the water out. :-) Terry J

    • Dave Wright

      WW2 jeeps were built by Willys and Ford, but more by Willys. The Fords had several uneque features that collectors can be very (anal) about. You think Porsche collectors are nuts…..these guys are in a league of there own. These trailers had many manufacturers, including Checker Cab, Fruehalf, and probably a dozen others.

      • Mike H. Mike H.

        “You think Porsche collectors are nuts…..these guys are in a league of their own.”

        Definitely!

  6. Junkyard Jimmy

    I have one of these military trailers. The M416. It has a tailgate that was cut into it by one of my dad’s friends. Not a great job but functional. As Dave Wright said, it is a pain to always be lifting cargo over the sides. Currently I just throw the spare tire in the trailer or into the tow vehicle. I would like to mount the spare tire permanently on the trailer but not affect weight distribution negatively. So, can’t mount the spare on the tailgate as would interfere with the tailgate operation. Can’t mount on the front as would interfere with the manual brake lever. Can’t mount on one side or other for lack of room and throwing trailer weight balance off. (Trailers are very balanced.) Thinking of mounting on bottom of trailer above the axle as centered as I can get it but it would make access in many situations a pain in butt. Suggestions?

  7. Dave Wright

    The actual idea is to have the same wheels and tires as the tow vehicle and use one spare for both. I have seen guys mount them in the bed inside the front panal but that cuts into your cargo space. A little extra unloaded weight on the tongue will not hurt anything. It all changes when loaded anyway.

  8. Scotty G Staff

    You folks are THEE best! Sometimes when I think I have hopefully found all of the info on something like this trailer, a few of you ring in with the rest of the story. Thanks very much for the info on the model of this trailer and all of the interesting facts here!

  9. grant

    When I hover my mouse over the tab, it says “Barnfinds- dirty old cars for sale”
    Just an observation.

    • Howard A Member

      FINALLY, a negative comment,,,, :(

      • grant

        It’s not a negative comment, just an observation.

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