Original Forward Control: 1958 Jeep FC-170 4×4

Pickup truck buyers in the mid-1950s weren’t overwhelmed with the posh, four-door, 12-latte-holding, Bluetooth enabled, 12″ touchscreen bedazzled kid-haulers as they are today with the current crop of ladder-adorned keyfob-operated tailgate trucks. I mean, not that there’s anything wrong with them, but we present this 1958 Jeep FC-170 as a counterpoint. The seller has it posted here on craigslist in Bonney Lake, Washington, just east of Tacoma. They’re asking $14,500.

This tough 4×4 Jeep FC-170 is a skin your knuckles every time you get in it and drive somewhere tough truck. Not that you can’t skin your knuckles on a new $75,000 pickup but this one doesn’t come with an onboard manicure option. Enough of that, you already get the idea that this is one rugged six+ decade-old pickup so, of course, it’s going to be a little lacking in the personal comfort area. I think they’re as cool as hell.

The Jeep Forward Control or FC-150 was made from 1956 to 1965 and the FC-170 came along two years later in 1957. The 150 version was the smaller of the two having an 81-inch wheelbase compared to 103-inches for the FC-170. Hemmings did a story that showed a sketch by designer Brooks Stevens and the proposed 1960 FC series, but it never made it to production.

The seller doesn’t include an engine photo here but for this cabover/forward control truck, they can be forgiven. If you have a hood (bonnet) that opens on the outside of your vehicle and you don’t show an engine photo, you can’t be forgiven. Well, ok. It should be a Willys F4-134 Super Hurricane 226 cubic-inch L-head six, made by Continental, I believe, with 105 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque.

The seller has done some work on this one to make it a good driver, including a new battery, a tune-up, and new brakes. The interior looks good and hey, there’s no padded dash or power windows here. I’m wondering if anyone else has a Jeep FC on their master wish list as I do? Have any of you owned one?

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    My friend also owns a FC-170. His had a lot more rust than this one when he got it. He has all the rust repaired and drives his on occasion. They are really cool as well as a rare site to see. This one’s in pretty good shape which reflects in the asking price.

    Like 7
  2. Holly Birge Member

    David Tracy from Jalopnik would be drooling over this.

    Like 13
    • nycbjr Member

      Right was about to say!!

      Like 3
  3. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Re Scotty’s comments: Imagine being Rip Van Winkle, going asleep in 1958 and waking up today, and then being shown what the typical four-wheel-drive pickup now is.

    My only recollection of an FC is that the ma-and-pa low-budget oil company my dad worked for had one, for a while. It was the only four-wheel-drive in their fleet, using it on occasion when the going was tough. Most of the time it sat in the tool house, non-operational. I don’t know how much of that was because it was a poor vehicle, or because it was routinely abused. The latter, I suspect.

    I agree, rare and cool.

    Like 6
  4. Howard A Member

    No surprise here, and the author does his usual well researched article, even though, I happen to know, a FC Jeep is probably the furthest thing from his mind. It’s the unusualness(?) of the vehicle, that catches this guys eye.
    If I might add, Brooks Stevens worked for an independent designer before going to Studebaker, and copied the heavy duty cab over semis, that, due to length laws, were extremely popular at the time. The main feature, like the semis, were it’s tight turning circle. I remember, parks and municipal depts. had these for snowplowing. Due to the harsh conditions they were created for, few survived. I remember cabs falling off, or broken in half. Willys had big plans for the FC, including a longer Ford V8, ( FC180) and several others that never made it to production, even though, I read, the 170 was available with a V8, but had to be an automatic. Not many of those were sold. Great find, here, and yes, I put in a lot of time in a cabover and this has all the features and handling of one. Quite frankly, I’d stay clear of a cabover ANYTHING,I never step on a steer tire to get in a truck again,,,but that’s me.

    Like 5
    • alphasud Member

      Very true Howard. I have seen a lot of these way past the restoration stage with snow plow attachments attached to them. Another workhorse that was used and abused and discarded when used up.

      Like 5
      • Howard A Member

        Snow plows were just the beginning. Jeep had lofty dreams of the FC becoming the American “Unimog”, and like the CJ, had a slew of attachments, aimed at the farmer. Backhoes, front end loaders, grader blades, just about any attachment could be adapted to the FC. Kind of the “skid steer” of today. People found out quickly, it was severely underpowered for any of those tasks, and even with 4wd, with those attachments, it had poor traction, and was just “too far out there” for the public.

        Like 3
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Thanks, Howard – what better to haul a Rokon in than an FC-150? A 170 would be overkill for me. Two very slow, very rugged, all-wheel-drive American-made vehicles. Hmm…

      Like 2
      • Howard A Member

        Oh, oh, I’ve heard THIS before,,,let’s see, a FC with a Rokon in the back, pulling a trailer with the Sno-Runner and vintage Honda 65( my favorite) be quite a show!

        Like 1
      • alphasud Member

        Funny you mention the Rokon as my friend with his FC-170 owns several. Guess they were made for one another.

        Like 1
  5. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Nothing will clench your cheeks faster and tighter than having to do a panic stop in one of these in traffic. Double speed if you’re the passenger

    btdt

    Like 11
  6. Sam61

    Take this Jeep and marry it to the Airstream from several days ago…badda bing badda boom…rv.

    Like 2
  7. PaulG

    Owned one almost exactly like this except nice white paint. Was akin to an amusement park ride off-reading.
    This appears to be overpriced but worthy of a light restoration….

    Like 12
  8. JOHN SZUGDA Member

    If it wasn’t on the west coast, I would probably snatch it up. It looks very fixable.

  9. Karl

    Always an interesting vehicle the petrol models were reasonably common at one time, the one to be looking for had a Cerlist diesel engine extremely rare and the value in increased accordingly!

  10. G Lo

    My dad had one of these when I was very young. It was very good off road, and would absolutely bake you in the summer, and wasn’t too warm in the winter-no interior insulation. Noisy as an oil drum full of rocks rolling down a hill, and slow on the road. Windscreen wipers were just about worthless in any but the lightest of rain conditions. Tons of torque and very maneuverable in tight spots.

    Like 3
    • Howard A Member

      “An oil drum full of rocks rolling downhill”, oh, I’ve been in trucks like that, just not described that way, good one, but it’s true. Spend any length of time in one, and you’ll want to kick a dog,,

  11. Alan R Church Member

    The last truck my dad purchased before we left the mission station in Mozambique was the Jeep FC-170 4X4. We lived a four and a half hour drive from any kind of “civilization” that involved deep sand, rivers , etc. He fashioned a cage for the bed and covered it with a tarp which is where I got to ride (lucky me!) I must say it was one tough truck!!!

    Like 3
    • chrlsful

      he would have liked my fav model here – the enclosed van, never made into a real production model

  12. Jim Mitchell

    I just purchased an all-original ’73 FC-170. Upholstery, headliner, everything is original including the seats and the tailgate. NO BODY RUST, These were under-powered but with 4WD gearing, they climb like a Billy Goat – but quite slowly of course!

    Like 2
  13. Bob Washburne

    I can relate to the article – I have a ’65 Econoline pickup; body is not bad but overall more rust than this one (almost all cosmetic). Spent most of the summer getting it mechanically safe & sound. I just started driving it more since I installed 3-point seatbelts last week. Seatbelts were an option in most cars in 1965.

    I learned how to drive on a ’67 VW and had my share of rustic vehicles in my youth (including a ’66 Econoline Bell Telephone van) but 30-years of driving ‘modern’ vehicles dimmed my memory of how rustic trucks used to be. Good with it now.

    Like 1
  14. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    …the seller is now asking $12,500!

  15. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Annnnnnnnnnd, it’s gone. Which one of you bought it?!

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