When overlanding first came about, everyone looked at vehicles a little different. Are they really putting a tent on their car? They want to do what with that? But those questions have morphed into, can you believe they put a tent on that? The underlining detail of all of it is to be and do something different than what is out there.
That is exactly what Roy Wallace and 1st Gear Off-Road did with the help of RSO Performance on this 1964 M677 Quad Cab Forward Control Jeep. In an overlanding world full of Jeep Wranglers, Toyota Tacomas, and vans, being a Jeep is nothing new, but being a quad cab forward control Jeep is something you do not see every day.
“I got the vehicle back in 2009. It was built for the military on a navy contract, it even had the navy decals down the side of it when I found it in Aguanga, California through Jeep club friends,” Wallace explained. “I have a few FC’s, but this is his only complete four-door.”
The M677 was the crew-cab version of the civilian FC170 pickup and was intended for the Army, Navy, and Marines to haul soldiers and gear around rough terrain. All told, only 50 M-Series Forward Control Jeeps are believed to have survived from the Forward Control Jeep’s 600-700 production total. To make this M677 even rarer there were only around 50 produced in 1964.
Build It Bigger
From pictures, the M677 appears big, but seeing it in person it is larger than life. To turn this M677 FC into one badass overland rig the modifications had to start to make it not only look right but perform properly off-road. With very little available for FCs the team at RSO Performance had to custom fit a lot of parts to the vehicle along with Wallace custom making a lot of parts to turn his dream into a reality with nearly build 1,200 hours into it.
About four months of paint and bodywork went into the truck. All the doors were shaved and welded to match all the door gaps. Holes were welded and rust was repaired with patch panels. All new seam seal from Teroson went down before primer and paint. LizardSkin was applied inside for noise insulation and heat dissipation.
“The overall stance and unique look of the rig was really appealing and a fun project to take on with Roy,” Tyler Francis of RSO Performance explained. “He had a lot of great ideas to bring to the table too and the color choice really sets this beast off.”
The M677 has been nicknamed Cordon Blue because of its custom blue paint job. The blue is Calvary Blue which is actually a Toyota color. Having a paint job like this sets it apart from all the custom wraps and high reflective gloss show paint jobs. Whether at a show or on the trail this FC will stand out.
Though originally powered by a two-stroke Cerlist three-cylinder diesel, this FC is now powered by a Chevy 350 TBI backed by a 700R4 transmission with an NP208 transfer case with an Aeromotive fuel system. The chassis sits on the stock springs and swapped in Posi Dana 60s with 4.88:1 gears. Keeping the body smooth are Energy Suspension body bushings.
The rockers were chopped and fitted for the sliders while custom made laser cut toolboxes and tube fenders dawn the sides of the bed. Removing the old school locking chain type tailgate support the tailgate on the M677 was custom made by hand to fit the truck with a more modern handle and hinge system.
“The custom fabrication in the bed is something totally different than what we’ve done before but makes the truck truly utilitarian,” Francis said. “The wheels and tires give this FC a nasty stance. Honestly, it’s just something different, fun to look at, and will be even more fun to hit the trails with.”
The hardest part of the build was getting everything to come together cohesively so there was a constant flow of body lines and theme without sacrificing any kind of function. The team at RSO Performance did this seamlessly as everything on the FC looks like it was meant to be there.
Performing on well on the trail will be easy thanks to the 38-inch Falken Wildpeak M/T tires that wrap around Raceline beadlock wheels. The bumpers on the M677 are slightly modified Rampage Products armor while Amp Research steps allow for easy access for entry into the rear doors and the bed steps help grab gear from the bed. Rugged Ridge lights and winch add to the exterior style.
Out back on the rear rack is a Power Tank nestled in the bed along with storage cabinetry from Rockland Custom Products allowing easy access to the cooler and storage compartments. On top of the rack is a Hi Tents Jalama that will give Wallace a place to rest after a long day on the trail.
Being tricked out on the exterior does not mean the interior was spared. The interior features all custom work using Wallace’s working skills. Bartact materials were used on the door panels to match its seat covers. There are a York onboard air system and Premier Power Welder for added reassurance on the trail.
Speedhut gauges were used to give an updated look to the dash while a brand new chassis harness and accessory wiring were run through a dual sPOD Bantam set up with dual Odyssey batteries and XS Power cables. The M677 even has air conditioning by Vintage Air to keep the cab cool regardless of how hot it is on the trail. To keep the ride smooth on the trail Sway-A-Way shocks were added, while a dual stainless Magnaflow exhaust keeps this FC sounding just right.
More Than Just A Show Queen
While being unveiled at this year’s SEMA show this vehicle will see more than just the show floor. The build is on display at the Truck Hero booth (no. 31031) during the 2019 SEMA Show, but we were able to see what it looked like in the dirt and can’t wait to see it on the trail.
“I am both excited and proud to have the FC at SEMA,” Wallace said. “I am looking forward to sharing this rare truck with an automotive community that can really appreciate it.”
The M677 will be heading to Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, King of the Hammers, Tierra Del Sol, Overland Expo, Offroad Expo, and a lot of trails in between with the Hemet Jeep Club. The build is unique great to look at and will be used extensively off-road after SEMA as a support rig for local trail rides and off-road events.
Wallace had told us that while he does plan to show it off at future shows, once the newness wears off it will be wheeled just as it was before the transformation, just maybe not as hard. Off-roaders young and old can appreciate a build like this that mixes new school technology with old school looks.