Friday, August 29, 2014

Somebody's occupying a quarry in Kerhonkson

I was on a field trip up and around the Shawangunk Mountains when I passed this retired general:
Talk about stage presence! This truck is absolutely gargantuan in scale. When I walked up to it those headlights were about the same height as my head.
Now I'm a little out of my depth with this sort of vehicle but research has me thinking this is a mid '90s M35A3, which is about as government-issue as names get. 
These brutes were built with little change from 1951-1988, and then brought back into production from 1993-1999. The truck was originally designed by REO (the same folks who built the REO Speedwagon which was a car long before it was a Top-40 hit maker). After REO it was built by Kaiser for a while before AM General took over through '88. When the order came through to restart production in 1993 they were actually produced in Canada (!) by Bombardier.  
Get a load of those leaf springs! These are conservatively rated as 2.5 ton trucks meaning they can carry 5,000lbs. This rating is for off-road though and they're rated for twice that on normal roads. Considering that this thing weighs almost 13,000lbs empty and you've got a very heavy vehicle! 
I like the function-over-form details all over this thing. Simple mesh over the exhaust so some grunt doesn't burn his hands. Mirrors held on by the sort of metal tubing swing sets used to be made out of. Completely flat glass in all window openings.
That little bit of stenciling on the body is how we can discern this as a later Canadian-built truck. The diesel engine was only available in the Bombardier versions. The engine itself is an 8.2 Liter 500 (exactly the same size as my '74 Cadillac!). Top speed was around 55 which was enough for John Rambo to launch it into the air while crashing through a road block near the end of First Blood.
Seeing as this is parked at the entrance to a quarry I'm guessing this thing on the back is a tank for spraying down the work area to reduce dust. You would definitely need something like this monster to carry a tank that big filled with liquid over loose rock and sand.
These trucks are convertibles! The roof is a basic snap-on and tie-down canvas model.  
This little curiosity poking out from under the corner of the bed seems to be a PTO, or power take off. Again, I could be totally wrong because I really don't know anything about military vehicles, but this looks like the sort of device you hook a machine or a belt to which allows you to run an accessory off of the engine power. Many tractors had these to allow farmers to run anything from large saws and grinders to pumps  from that one power source. Way back when there were kits you could buy to turn the rear axle of your Ford Model T into a PTO. There's an old abandoned ski lift in the almost-ghost-town of Inskip, California that is connected to a rusted hulk of a Model T PTO.
I caught only this shoddy glimpse of the interior, but you can see that each side of the windshield can be unlatched at the bottom and opened outward thanks to hinges at the top. 
Well there we have it; a serious departure from my usual fare. On this same field trip I had a difficult time finding cars so I shot some even more out of character vehicles which will be posted at some point in the future. For now we'll leave this beast in it's picturesque setting because IT'S OVER JOHNNY!

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