Classic Cars Wiki
Classic Cars Wiki

The Jeep Forward Control is a truck that was produced by Willys and then Kaiser Jeep from 1956 to 1965. It was also assembled in other international markets. The layout featured a cab over (forward control) design.


Willys produced utility vehicles that remained almost unchanged since 1947. As the marketplace grew more competitive in the 1950s, management developed a new range of modern cab and body trucks. Designer Brooks Stevens used styling cues from full-size cab-over-engine trucks. Engineering was based on existing CJ-5. Power came from the Hurricane F-head and L-head 4-cylinder engines.

The Forward Control models were primarily marketed as work vehicles for corporate, municipal, military, as well as civilian use. Regular pickup box beds were standard, but customers were offered a large number of "Jeep approved" specialized bodies from outside suppliers. These ranged from simple flatbeds to complete tow trucks, dump trucks, and fire trucks.

Proposals included a "Forward Control Commuter" design that may have been among the earliest minivan-type vehicles. Three operational concept cars were built by Reutter in Stuttgart, West Germany. Brooks Stevens was also involved in the transformation of this truck platform into a passenger vehicle.


Introduced in 1956, FC-150 models used the frame and wheelbase of the CJ-5 81 in (210 cm) with a 78 in (200 cm) bed. In 1958, the FC-150 received a new, wider chassis. Its track was widened from 48 in (120 cm) to 57 in (140 cm).


Introduced in 1957, FC-170 models had a 103 in (260 cm) wheelbase with a 108 in (270 cm) bed. This was achieved by the forward-control layout.

FC-170 DRW[]

This is a 1 short ton (0.91 t) dual-wheeled rear axle (dually) model with a 120 in (300 cm) load bed. These models have gross weights of 8,000 lb (3,600 kg) or 9,000 lb (4,100 kg).


The FC-180 was shown in concept form on paper in a 1957 Willys company brochure titled "1958 Projects - Product Engineering". It was essentially a lengthened FC-170 DRW (wheelbase increased from 103 in to 120 in), a 150 in flatbed, the 226 ci Super Hurricane inline-6 or a new 272 ci V8 (based on the Ford Y-block) as available engines, and the T-98 4-speed manual or a new 3-speed automatic (based on the Ford Cruise-O-Matic, available with the inline-6 only) as available transmissions. This model had a gross weight of 10,000 lb (4,500 kg).


The FC-190 was also shown in concept form in 1957. It featured a 150 in (380 cm) wheelbase, a 202 in flat bed and tandem dually axles. The T-98 manual transmission was standard with the automatic as an option. No six-cylinder option was offered; only the V8 was available. The FC-190 would use components from the FC-170 and FC-180 to keep costs down. This model had a gross weight of 16,000 lb (7,300 kg).


The FC Jeeps were exhibited to Jeep dealers in a closed-circuit telecast on November 29, 1956, and were on display for the public at the December 1956 National Automobile Show in New York City. The FC-150 went on sale at dealer showrooms on December 12, 1956. The initial response to the four-wheel drive FC Jeeps was favorable. Their best sales year came in 1957, when 9,738 trucks were sold. After the introduction of the FC-170 in 1957, FC-150 sales dropped to 1,546 units in 1959, before rebounding to 4,925 in 1960. Neither model became the big seller that Willys had hoped. Total production in nine years was just over 30,000 units. The FC line was discontinued in 1964.

Military variations[]

Aside from Forward Control Jeeps being built for civilian use, there were also four models manufactured for the military.

  • M676 - Basically a civilian FC with minor modifications
  • M677 - A four-door crew cab with a canopy over the bed
  • M678 - An FC with a van body
  • M679 - An M678 refitted as an ambulance

Non-USA models[]

Numerous versions of FC models (most not available in the domestic market) were manufactured in many other nations under collaboration agreements with successive owners of Jeep: Willys-Overland, Kaiser Jeep, and American Motors (AMC).


Mahindra & Mahindra Limited in Bombay (Mumbai), India began its vehicle business in 1947 by assembling complete knock down (CKD) Jeeps. It started FC-150 production in India in 1965 and later expanded the model range for the domestic market to include the FC-170, as well as its own intermediate sized FC-160.

The FC-160 (and later FJ-160) uses a 93 in (240 cm) wheelbase. The pick-up box was by Mahindra and other bodies were available. The "cowl and chassis only" FC-160 model was popular during the 1970 s for conversion into mini-buses, ambulances, and other vehicles. Most have the basic front face of the FC. Manufacture of the Mahindra FC-160 pickup truck ended in the summer of 1999.

The FC-260 Diesel light truck was introduced in 1975. Currently, Mahindra's FJ-460 (introduced in 1983) and FJ-470 van or mini-bus vehicles retain the grille arrangement of the original Forward Control. These vehicles can accommodate from 11 to 15 passengers plus the driver.


In the 1960 s, Kaiser-Willys licensed VIASA (Vehículos Industriales y Agrícolas, S.A.) to build Jeeps in Spain. During the late-1970 s, VIASA was absorbed by Ebro trucks (a division of Motor Iberica). The "SV" line of commercial trucks were built using a Jeep chassis, just like the FC models in the USA. The unique Iberian models included the Campeador (one-ton pickup), Duplex (double cab pickup), Furgon (one-ton van), and the Toledo (9-seat van). Two engines were available: the Super Hurricane in-line six or a Perkins 4-cylinder diesel.