In 1950 US Army submitted a request for of a new vehicle to replace the "Jeeps" in use at that time - Willis GP, Ford MB, M38 and M38A1. The Ford Motor Company was awarded the contract for development and built the first prototype in 1952. Parallel to testing further prototypes were built. Some of the bodies were aluminium, and some were steel. Finally the steel-bodied model was chosen for production, and Ford produced the information batch of such vehicles in 1960. Later, also Kaiser-Jeep and AM General were also awarded production contracts for the M151, which was also known as MUTT - for Medium/Military/Multi Utility Tactical Truck.
The resulting vehicle has many interesting characteristics, the most important of them being the unitized steel frame/body, which simplified the construction of the MUTT, increased the ground clearance at the same time lowering the center of gravity. Another unusual feature of the M151 is its independent wheel suspension, which greatly enhanced its cross-country capabilities and ride comfort. Unfortunately the rear suspension proved to be the most tragic feature of the M151, leading to injury and/or death of many inexperienced drivers who, coming into a curve with excessive speed caused the machine to overturn, with serious consequences to the occupants. This characteristic led to relative rarity of M151 on civilian market, as the US goverment introduced the rule, that all bodies of such vehicles had to be destroyed prior demilitarisation, and only components were sold to protect the unknowing users against danger.
In 1964 an improved variant, the M151A1 was introduced. The main modification was a stiffer, heavier-duty rear suspension, to remedy the turn-stability problem, and to improve the load carrying capability for hauling weapons such as the pedestal mounted machine gun. The most visible external difference of the A1 variant are fender mounted indicators in small bullet-shaped housings. The M151A1 is was the standart light military vehicle of the Vietnam war.
The exhibit is a 1:35 scale model of a M151A1 built from the Academy model kit, with many modifications. It wears the paint scheme from 1968 belonging to 716 MP co., responsible for Cholon - the China-town of Saigon.
|Empty weight:||975 kg|
|Payload on the road:||545 kg|
|Payload, cross-country:||363 kg|
|Max. trailer weight, on the road:||908 kg|
|Max. trailer weight, cross-country:||681 kg|
|Max. speed:||88 km/h|
|Engine power:||65 KM @ 4000 rev./min|
|Torque:||172.8 Nm @ 1800 rev./min|