Established in 1908, Willys-Overland initially focused on passenger cars. However, after World War II, the company made a strategic shift towards utility vehicles, particularly the iconic military-spec Jeep.

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The Trio of CJ, Station Wagon, and Truck

In 1944, Willys introduced the civilian CJ, followed by the Willys Station Wagon and Willys Truck, all designed by Brooks Stevens. These models remained relatively unchanged for years, enduring through the competitive 1950s market.

Facing increased competition, Willys unveiled the Jeep Forward Control in 1956, a departure from their traditional utility vehicle designs. Designed by Brooks Stevens, the FC featured a cab-over-engine layout, carving a niche in the market.

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The Forward Control, known for its space efficiency and versatile chassis, gained popularity among municipal, corporate, and military operators. However, it fell short of Willys’ expectations, selling just over 30,000 units by 1965, leading to its discontinuation in favor of the Gladiator.

The Forward Control’s Modern Cult Following

Despite its initial lackluster sales, the Jeep Forward Control has gained a cult following in contemporary times, especially among collectors. This interest extends beyond civilian models to include sought-after commercial and military versions.

The Forward Control M679, showcased as a rare example, served as a military ambulance for the US Marine Corps. With unique features like a reinforced frame, a 24-volt electrical system, and a Cerlist three-cylinder diesel engine, this variant stands out among the few surviving models.

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The Forward Control lineup featured various engine options, from the 134-cubic-inch Hurricane inline-four to the 272-cubic-inch Y-block V8. The M679 variant, unlike civilian versions, boasted a Cerlist diesel engine.

The Derelict M679: A Unique Restoration Project

Parked for 30 years, the showcased M679, a van-body variant from 1965, was one of four military-spec FCs based on the FC-170. It served as an ambulance and features a unique Cerlist diesel engine.

Despite its poor condition — covered in dirt, moss, rust spots, and a deteriorated interior — the van presents a restoration opportunity for enthusiasts. The original Cerlist diesel engine adds value to this potential restoration project.

For Sale: Willys Jeep M679 in Pinetown, North Carolina

If you’re interested in reviving this rare Willys Jeep M679, it’s currently for sale in Pinetown, North Carolina. The owner is seeking $10,000 for this piece of automotive history.

1965 Willys Jeep Forward Control barn find

# FAQs

## FAQ 1: What is the historical significance of the Jeep Forward Control?

The Jeep Forward Control marked Willys-Overland’s shift to utility vehicles, introducing innovative designs like the cab-over-engine layout in 1956.

## FAQ 2: Why did Willys discontinue the Forward Control in 1965?

Despite success in utilitarian applications, the Forward Control fell short of sales expectations, leading Willys to discontinue the line in favor of the Gladiator.

## FAQ 3: What makes the showcased M679 variant unique?

The M679 served as a military ambulance for the US Marine Corps and features a reinforced frame, a 24-volt electrical system, and a Cerlist three-cylinder diesel engine, setting it apart from civilian versions.

## FAQ 4: What restoration potential does the M679 van offer?

Despite its poor condition, the M679 van presents a restoration opportunity, particularly with its original Cerlist diesel engine. Enthusiasts looking for a unique project may find value in this rare piece of automotive history.

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