V8 Powered 1960 Jeep FC-170 4×4

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Certainly one of the most interesting vehicle designs of all time, the Forward Control pickup has its fans and detractors, but this 1960 Jeep FC-170 4×4 has the added bonus of being a 4WD where most of the others were rear-wheel-drive. This interesting pickup can be found here on eBay in San Angelo, Texas and the seller has a $7,900 buy-it-now price listed or you can make an offer. Let’s check it out.

The Forward Control Jeep was made for a solid decade from 1956 to 1965 and the FC-170 had a 103-inch wheelbase compared to the FC-150 which had an 81-inch wheelbase. They were undoubtedly front-heavy with the center of gravity well forward of the center point of the wheelbase, but when the four-wheel-drive system was engaged they were beasts in the snow. The fender flares need help and it looks like some possible bodywork on the rear bottom cab corners, but otherwise this FC-170 looks incredibly rust-free, other than surface rust, of course.

I’m not sure if carrying around a tandem bicycle will do much to pivot that center of gravity towards the rear, but it does show how long the FC-170 bed is. You can see a little rust on the tailgate but this looks like a solid truck. A few years ago I had a wild idea: what if a Jeep FC had a cab like a regular pickup… (insert dream sequence here)…

Ok, I guess that sort of loses the point of a forward control pickup. Next slide…

The interior looks surprisingly nice in this truck, at least for a sixty-year-old pickup. There are a couple of cracks in the steering wheel and I don’t see any cupholders (kidding). Seriously, I was surprised to see how good the interior looks, but I think that the exterior also looks good. I don’t see a rip or seam separation on the seats or any broken glass or any other big issues. Hagerty is at $6,300 for a #4 fair condition FC-170 as a reference.

The seller says that this Jeep has a Chevrolet 307 V8 in it, which is quite different than the 115-hp 226 cubic-inch inline-six that would have been in the doghouse between the front seats. The seller says that this one needs a tune-up, tires, and brakes and it should be trailered home until the next owner can go through everything. Have any of you owned an FC-170 or FC-150?

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  1. geomechs geomechsMember

    They sure were a unique design. Used to see these out west, however, in limited numbers. I remember one farmer who drove one quite sparingly. I often wonder what happened to it because it was in real good shape. I’m a little skeptical of having an SBC powering it but then it wouldn’t be any heavier than the 226. Sure wouldn’t lack any power.

    Like 5
  2. HoA Howard AMember

    Little more history on the FC. It was the idea of Brooks Stevens who modeled them after cabover semi trucks which were, at the time, becoming popular. Also, the FC 170 was longer because it could be had with the 272 V8 Ford motor. The inline 6 could only be had with an automatic. The GM motor seems like a logical swap, these were terrible rusters, and to see one at all, is amazing. Most were used by municipal departments for plowing snow because of the tight turning. I’ve seen FC’s with cabs falling off. Not many survived. Great find here, although, a V8 will make these front heavy, even more so. Anything over 50 mph would be suicide. Btw, there was a FC170 DRW( dual rear wheels) a FC180 concept, longer,(123 in. w.b.) and a FC190 concept, longer yet( 150 in. w.b.) also a V8 dually.

    Like 9
    • John Goering

      272 Ford engines and auto transmissions? Neither were ever an option with the FC 170 or FC 150. The ONLY engine ever offered in the FC 170 was the 226 flat head six, and the 134 Fhead in the FC 150’s. The only transmission options were the T90 three speed and T98 four speeds, the latter being a rare option for the non dual wheel version FC 170. I’ve had 3 FC 170’s and 3 FC 150’s over the years. They do have a few quirks and a LOT of the frames cracked/broke.

      And for the record, I do not believe any FC’s were EVER offered in a rear wheel drive only version.

      Like 9
      • CCFisher

        Never trust Wikipedia as the sole source of anything.

        Like 4
      • HoA Howard AMember

        I trust Wiki for lots of things, sometimes more research is needed. After re-reading, the V8’s were concept vehicles and why the 170 was longer, but V8’s never made it to production. The “DRW” were all wheel drive, I never said they made a RWD only version. Thanks for the correction. Since these were front heavy to begin with, I’d have to think a V8 would be down right dangerous.

        Like 0
      • CCFisher

        No judgment. The comment was sincere. Wikipedia has its uses, but every Wiki assertion should be verified.

        Like 1
    • Blyndgesser

      I can’t find any reference to either a V8 or an automatic in the FC literature I’ve seen. What years were those offered?

      Like 2
  3. bobhess bobhessMember

    Might take a little work but the engine/transmission could be moved back to spread the weight out a bit. Like the Dodge pickup, when’s the last time you saw one of these?

    Like 1
  4. Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    The FC150 is the one to have if you want to offroad.
    The longer wheelbase of the 170 really hurts the steering radius. If you have ever driven a 70’s-80 Blazer and Suburban, you know what I mean. The 150 I owned in the early 80’s, had a six and 4 speed, and could go anywhere unless you but the axle down. Was great for snow plowing, With a load of sand in the bed, it was great for snow plowing.

    Like 3
  5. Bob C.

    I had toys exactly like this when I was little.

    Like 7
  6. Kenbone

    Yeah but how was it for snow plowing? lol sorry couldnt help myself

    Like 2
  7. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TNMember

    The ma-and-pa oil company my dad worked for had a FC for a while. Don’t remember if it was a 150 or 170. It was the only four-wheel-drive vehicle in the fleet and thus was used for the most rugged, nasty situations — maybe a better word to use would be ‘abused’. What I most remember about it was that it was stored in the company warehouse, and my dad would regularly comment “the Jeep is out of commission again, this time the (xxx) is (damaged, broken, not working right)”.

    I haven’t seen one in decades.

    Like 4
  8. Gaspumpchas

    Like you guys said, you don’t see these much. Looks like the 307 conversion was done a while back and the seller (sort of ) says the 4×4 is hooked up. Maybe a little overpriced but the body is real nice. getter running and roadworthy then take it to whatever level you want. I like it ’cause its DIFFERENT! Good luck and stay safe.

    Like 6
  9. Eamon Bishop

    The fact that the FC150 had 5.33 axles reminds me of a car magazine review for the 1979 Volvo 245, wherein the 0-60mph time was listed as “someday”.

    Jeep made this prototype cab-forward truck in the recent past, one that included portal axles and which serves to illustrate once again that manufacturers refusing to mass-produce their dream concept vehicles for all of us deserve to be shot.


    Like 2
    • John Goering

      The FC 150 gearing was 5.38’s. Typical of all non-military early CJ’s. The standard gearing for the FC 170 was 4.88 but the 5.38’s were an option there also. The FC 150, with the F134 was definitely “someday” 0-60 and in fact maybe needed downhill and a tailwind to make that. The 226 in the FC 170’s provided adequate power and would keep up with most modern traffic.

      My father bought a 1957 FC 150 used in 1957. It was what I took my driver’s test in a few years later and then proceeded to wheel the dickens out of it. Yes, a little more tipsy than a CJ (this was the early narrow tread version), but otherwise it would go anywhere a similar equipped CJ could. But you were lucky to get 75k out of a set of new pistons/rings before you reverted to mosquito control. I still have that 57 FC 150.

      A small block Chevy, as in the subject truck, would be a very good transplant for those not interested in an actual restoration. And the 307 with its moderately long (3.25″) stroke, was a good choice. But one would likely get a better price for a completely unmolested example.

      Like 0
  10. Paolo

    The US Air Force had some of these and Goodfellow AFB is located in San Angelo as is this beast.This pain looks a lot like Air Force blue but I don’t see any tell-tale data plates and bracketry. Mysterious!

    Like 1
    • Paolo

      Probably not USAF. According to Wikipedia the USAF contract was dated 1964 although it’s possible that there might have been some earlier ones. I’m speculating. USAF version might have had 24 charging systems as well.

      Like 0
    • Paolo

      “This paint…” (if anyone is bothering to read this and gives a rat’s patoot)

      Like 4
  11. Mr.BZ

    Always wanted one of these, used to drive past one in Longbarn CA on my way to the Jeep trails. The rush of driving it over the edge of a hill would be something you won’t soon forget!

    Like 2
  12. Wayne

    We had one at the dealership as a plow truck only. Yes, very tight turning radius. Not comfortable and without power steering it was a bear. Had to use it as a parts runner when the IH Travelall was down. I drove it home and used my personal car.
    There was a very pretty one at Hot August Nights one year that was entered in the Burn Out Contest. It was very wild watching all 4 wheels smoking! It was even more entertaining when driveshafts, u-joints and suspension parts came flying out after they bounced off the pavement. All proceedings stopped until the roll back tow truck came to scoop up all the pieces. And there were a lot of pieces!

    Like 5
    • DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

      Not a fan of burnout contests….

      And in particular I don’t understand why someone would torture a classic/vintage vehicle by doing it.

      Like 4
  13. howismydriving

    I used to be acquainted with a guy in AZ who had a Jeep FC-150 4×4 that he dropped a Mercury Marine 270 4 Cyl in it. He used it for around his property and for off roading. One thing he did was he converted it to run on propane. The two tanks were strapped to the tailgate for weight distribution, and a pair of Subaru Brat seats in the bed. Was quite fun or scary depending where you sat.
    If you were out during the day you would melt from the lack of air conditioning, and he was never able to hack a system together and sold it to a guy who rolled it the first time he took it off-road, and broke his neck.
    The lawsuits went on for years against the builder / owner, but finally were dismissed. Needless to say, rolling one of these is easier than it looks. It still wouldn’t stop me from getting one.

    Like 3
  14. Al

    Back in the 70s My father had a 59 FC 170 with the flat head 6 and standard transmission, he had two FC 150s with the 4 cyl flat head and standard. In 2001 I bought a 1960 FC 170 with stick. I should have kept it. I had it a short time but at the time preferred to keep my 46Dodge power wagon instead. I have never seen or heard of an automatic in an FC, or V-8

    Like 0
  15. TimM

    I have a 2000 model year UD cab over truck and I really love the cab over ride and steers on a dime!! I know it’s not the same type of truck but it’s nice not having the front of the truck hanging out so far when maneuvering!!

    Like 0
  16. Bruce O'Halloran

    In Seattle in the 1970s I owned a 1950 Willys station wagon with the 4 cylinder flathead and 3 speed with overdrive. I got a 1949 panel truck with the fhead 4 cylinder and the 3 speed on the tree with overdrive activated with a toggle switch on the shift lever to engage and disengage the overdrive. Both were 2 wheel, rear wheel drive. both needed careful square corner shifting, better with double clutching, to keep from jamming the gearbox between gears–That might have been why the Willys in the previous entry often got parked up awaiting repairs. Few folks knew how to treat them nicely. The gearbox locking was a problem with the small military jeeps also. The same gearbox also appeared on lots of later Ramblers as did lots of the drivetrain components. The drivetrain was designed for no more horsepower or torque than the 4 cylinder or flathead 6 could put out. I’m not surprised a drag racing repower would explode.

    A family acquaintance living on Foster Avenue, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho just East of Fourth Street owned a FC. I never heard of any problems; I never saw it drive nor heard it run. It would have only been 4 years old at that time.

    The 4 cylinder motor had an incredibly long stroke and massive torque at low revs, great for slip-free off-roading. The f head panel truck got the Jim O’Halloran trio from Seattle to Saskatoon for a new year’s gig once; ran out of fuel in the early hours at -50F somewhere above Minnesota. Didn’t start on refill, priming fuel unexpectedly ignited in carb, put out with extinguisher, nicely deiced carb to then drive the rest of the way to the gig and back incident-free.

    Refueling involved convincing an RCMP that breaking the no petrol carried in the cruiser was better than letting 3 humans freeze to death. Jimmy didn’t allow for a rig consuming about 20% more fuel at 50 below.

    Jimmy never really liked the Willys; he loved his Travelall until it threw a rod. The IH preceeded the Willys by about 5 years.

    If you understood and accommodated the Willys idiosyncrasies they served the owner well. I never trust engine/gearbox transplants based on an Auckland friend’s conversion of a 1942 Fargo box truck repowered with a 350 chev and a 3-speed automatic transmission. His flat deck Fargo with timber roller with the original mopar flathead 6 and manual 3-speed felt much better to me but always seemed to take twice as long as budgeted to complete delivery tasks.

    I still drive a rigs with manual steering–easy at under 800kg GVW.

    Like 1

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