Curbside Classic: 1962 Studebaker M35 6×6 Truck – A Veteran For Veteran’s Day

(first posted 11/11/2011)    Time to salute our veterans, and what better way than with a military veteran, especially a deuce and a half. Next to the Jeep or Humvee, it is the quintessential military wheeled vehicle, the classic Army Truck. And since this one was sitting at the curb, it was just begging for a bit of appreciation and a closer look.

The M35 was developed shortly after WW2 to eventually supplant the really classic 2 1/2 ton truck, that was also built by Studebaker and was one of the great heroes of that war. The Germans loved to get their hands on them, and held it in great esteem. What better praise than that?

Originally developed by REO, the early versions of the M35 used gasoline engines. But later versions, like this one, used a “multi-fuel” engine, that operated normally on diesel, but could also swallow  kerosene, jet fuel, heating oil and even gasoline (in a real pinch). Running it on gasoline was to be done in an emergency only, and a quart of motor oil was to be added for every 15 gallons to lubricate the injector pumps.

The LDT-465 was built by several manufacturers, this one by White. Even with a turbo, it made all of 134 hp. This one was obviously retrofitted in 1986. More recent versions often have a more modern Cat diesel engine. Remember as a kid seeing those convoys of Army trucks on the freeway, and how they would all be doing about 40 or 45 mph? This is one reason.

There’s the manufacturer’s ID plate, which shows this to be a M35 A built by Studebaker in South Bend in 1962.

The gearing didn’t encourage freeway driving, although the tags on this one shows fifty-five as the maximum speed in top gear.

Who can resist the allure of an Army truck cab, with all those dozens of knobs, levers and other mechanical porn? Army trucks are the ultimate toy for hard-core freaks of having it all be rugged and exposed, in high quality metal too.

The drive shaft runs over the top of the differentials, and at the rear, there’s the provision for a take-off to power the driven wheels of a trailer.

The view between the rear axles is quite accessible, as is pretty much everything else about this rig.

A tough truck always ready to take on the toughest jobs, just like our veterans. Our hats are off to all of you, as well as those still in active duty.