Go Live Anywhere Tonight: 2005 Stewart & Stevenson FMTV 6×6 Overlander

by | May 2022 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Truckin Tuesday

(To stop the slideshow and expand the pictures, click on the current photograph below)

October 9, 2022, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

Those of us who haven’t served are probably more familiar with the classic, rugged profile of its M35 “Deuce and a Half” predecessor, but the FMTV, or Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles, and its myriad of variants have served as the backbone of US Army tactical mobility and logistics support since the early 2000s. While based on a 1985 Austrian military vehicle by Steyr, the FMTV was heavily re-engineered by Texas-based Stewart & Stevenson to suit a role defined by the US army in 1983. Base configurations include a 4×4 and 6×6, each available with a wide variety of role-specific options such as long wheelbase, armored cab, pickup, dump beds, etc. Originally listed in May 2022 on RVTrader in Santa Ynez, California, this 6×6 has been outfitted as an overlander with more style and attention to detail than we’ve seen before.

These rigs cost the government six-figure sums when new, but can now be found on a variety of surplus sites starting at under $10k. As this forum post points out, it’s best to avoid examples at the shallow end of the pool, as maintenance doesn’t come cheap. In fact, replacing (commonly) cracked tires alone can quickly surpass the purchase price for a needy truck. Fortunately, the one we’re focused on today seems to be very well maintained.

Well-maintained, nicely modified FMTV 6x6s don’t grow on trees, which is reflected in this one’s $98,500 asking price. Classic.com does track market data for the FMTV; however, with only nine listings over the past 5 years, it’s of relatively limited value.

We’ve seen plenty of overlander FMTVs, though for the most part, they’ve been budget builds with cracked tires and hastily chopped and camo’d canned ham campers clamped to the bed. They’re almost always based on the more common 4×4, 2.5-ton variant. This 6×6 offers twice the payload, meaning the lightweight mil-spec shelter used for living quarters should leave thousands of pounds of spare capacity for month-long, off-grid, deep-forest truffle hunting excursions. Built of insulating foam and aluminum, the armed forces use these modular Gichner units for everything from mobile drone command centers to air-conditioned field conference rooms; this one features a sink, toilet, shower, stovetop, refrigerator, high-end lockable cabinetry, and a cozy two-person mattress.

Though a quick look suggests the shelter might be a fairly easy task to remove, detailed images show that there’d be a fair bit of wiring and plumbing to remove before freeing up that massive pickup bed. Inside the cab is a custom tweed upholstered, air-suspended driver’s seat, while the middle, over-the-engine, and right-side passenger seats remain standard mil-spec items covered in hard-wearing olive drab canvas. Switchgear and vents look to be in much nicer shape than is typically found, and this one includes A/C too. We’d want to outfit air to the living space eventually, though a nice pull-out awning would help you stay cool too.

The cab tilts forward with power assist to reveal the big Caterpillar C7, a 7.2-liter straight-six turbodiesel rated at 300 hp and 925 lb. ft. of torque; in contrast, the 4×4 FMTV’s standard Cat unit is down from these figures by roughly 0.6 liters, 100 hp, and 200 lb. ft.

Here’s a video of the actual FMTV the seller provides:


Here’s the seller’s description:

“This 2005 Stewart and Stevenson M1083A 6×6 with Custom Gichner S-280 Shelter is a unique find. The seller reports that just about every component in this purpose-built overland camper has been upgraded or replaced to ensure its reliability.

The M1083A is powered by a Caterpillar CAT C7 inline six-cylinder turbodiesel, good for 300 horsepower and 925 lb-ft of torque between 1,800 and 2,200 rpm. This 1200-pound engine features direct injection, HEUI injection, ACERT (Advanced Cat Emissions Reduction Technology), and an ADEM A4 Electronic Control Unit. The seller reports that the EGT sensor on the turbocharger has been replaced, along with all the filters. The bottom of the cab has been soundproofed with Dynamat to reduce engine noise.

The cab tilts forward with a power-operated mechanism. The Allison seven-speed automatic transmission provides power to all six wheels at all times. The vehicle has an on-road mode where 70 percent of the available torque is directed to the rear wheels, 30 percent upfront. The off-road mode splits torque evenly between the front wheels and the two sets of rear wheels.

This Stewart and Stevenson Custom is primarily painted camouflage and shows well with no obvious damage to the exterior sheet metal visible in the photos. According to the seller, the Gichner S-280 Shelter is painted olive drab and was professionally painted. The shelter features custom fabricated Marine windows with heavy-gauge aluminum framing for the front and rear of the unit.

The seller reports that all of the exterior lighting is functional, with the front lights having been converted to LED. Modifications include a propane water heater, a gray-water tank, an extra 50-gallon fuel tank with a 12-volt DC pump, two 5-gallon propane tanks for cooking, and the water heater.

At the rear, the truck has twin tow shackles and winch line rollers, ladder storage, a pintle hook, and a Front Runner roof rack over the cab. The mirrors are heated and have remote electrical operation.

The driver’s seat is a custom air ride unit with upholstery that doesn’t match the center or passenger seats. The upholstery on the driver’s seat is a gray tweed cloth, while the two other seats are olive drab canvas.
The cab features an array of reportedly functional gauges, which glow green at night when the exterior lights are on. The center of the dash is dominated by switches for the air brakes, air-conditioning module, and controls for the PTO and winch operation. The cab has a round center door in the roof to access the outside if the roof rack isn’t in place. Storage includes areas behind the seat and a rifle rack.

The shelter is custom-built inside with…”

Check out the full listing for much more detail and a fascinating, deep-dive build thread on the seller’s personal site.

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