The AEC Matador was an artillery tractor built by the Associated Equipment Company for British and Commonwealth forces during the Second World War.
AEC had already built a 4 x 2 lorry, also known as the Matador (all AEC lorries received 'M' names).
The Matador was distinctive with its flat fronted cab with gently curved roof, wheels at the corners and a flat load carrying area covered by a canvas or tarpaulin tilt. The cab was made from Ash and clad in steel. It was equipped with a winch (7-ton load in its case) like all artillery tractors. The O853 provided the basis for the 'Dorchester' Armoured Command Vehicle.
AEC also produced a larger 'Marshall' 6x6 vehicle (model O854) based on the 4x4 Matador which were generally, if not officially, also called Matador. The O854 also provided the basis for an Armoured Command Vehicle, the O857.
About 9,000 Matadors were built, some going to the RAF.
For the British Army, it fulfilled a role between the Morris C8 Quad pulling smaller guns such as the 25 pdr Gun-Howitzer and the Scammell Pioneer used for the 7.2 inch howitzer, and was commonly used for the 5.5 inch Medium Gun and the QF 3.75 inch AA gun. It was also found to be a generally useful vehicle and adapted for other roles including carrying a 25 pdr gun on the back.
The RAF used theirs in the flat bed form for load carrying. The 6-wheeler Matador Type A was used as a refuelling tanker, capable of carrying 2,500 Imperial gallons of fuel and also for towing ashore Short Sunderland flying boats at their stations.
In 1942/43 for the North African campaign some Matadors mounted the 6 pounder anti-tank gun to give the AEC Mk1 Gun Carrier "Deacon".
Post war the Matador was found in civilian use as a recovery truck, a showmans vehicle, and general contractor use. Also useful for forestry work because of its good offroad performance.