JR Potts, AUS 173d AB (Updated: 12/21/2014):
The M35 appeared in 1951 to replace the wartime GMC CCKW and M135 utility truck types then in service with the United States Military. The M35 took the 2-1/2 ton cargo truck torch and went on to forge its own amazing legacy, being evolved into a number of special variants including dedicated "war wagons", troop carriers, cargo transports, dump trucks, wreckers, medical vans and a guided-missile launchers to name a few. The truck's size and availability in number made it possible for it to be transformed into varied mission-capable vehicles to fulfill required roles within the United States Army and elsewhere. The M35 went on to service the US military well into the late 1990s with some still used today in both active service and reserve components across many foreign armies. Production (local and overseas) of the M35 was undertaken by AM General, REO, Kaiser and Kia. All told, the M35 truck served as the prime mover for the US Military for over 50 years.
The M35 sat at 2.8 meters high, 2.4 meters wide and 7 meters long with the engine in front, the crew cab directly aft and the cargo bed at the rear. Its dimensions were such that it could be relatively easily transported through the air by medium- to-large aircraft transport types and unloaded by way of amphibious landing craft as required. The crew cab featured straight lines throughout with flat glass panels across the front facing and along its hinged automobile-style side doors. Creature comforts were few and far between with the most basic of seats. The transmission was activated through a basic stalk-like appendage under the dashboard between the two cabin seats. The steering wheel was a three-spoked system with a utilitarian column. Gauges reported on basic engine functions along the flat dashboard. Vehicle headlights were simple in design and function and rounded, straddling either side of the engine grill at front. The chassis consisted of ten total wheels set across three paired axles with the two-most rearward axles sporting four wheels apiece. When empty, the truck weighed 13,000 pounds. Throughout her life, she was powered by various engine installations that included gas, diesel and multi-fuel types from a variety of manufacturers. The multi-fueled version was rather unique in its design for it could accept gas, diesel or aircraft fuel as needed. The engine was exhausted through a vertical stack along the right side of the crew cabin front, allowing the truck to ford water sources to an extent. The vehicle fitted a single 50-gallon fuel tank along the right side (under the passenger seat floor) and its cruising speed was listed at 48 mph with a maximum speed of 56 mph along paved roads. The M35 rated at just 11miles per gallon on road and 8 miles per gallon in city traffic with 5 miles per gallon off road. The truck, however, was mostly an on-road vehicle and its cargo bed was 8 ft wide and 12 ft long with a load capacity of 10,000lbs. For off road traverse, the maximum load was reduced to 5,000lbs. Her 5-speed transmission was complemented by a 2-speed transfer box controlling the 10-wheel drive system that connected the 3-axle shaft arrangement. The range for the truck, before it required refueling, was 400 to 500 miles depending on the condition of the road and cargo loads being hauled.