During my Army career, I was responsible for the vehicles more often than not due to my gearhead nature and the ability to do paperwork on them that would shut up the motor pool know-it-alls that loved to be a pain in the ass to any of the helicopter guys. But my own rigs, the ones I actually signed the paperwork for, those were babied and treated like royalty compared to the others, which were just maintained. I had three main rides throughout my time: an M1097 HMMWV single-cab, an M1078 LMTV, and during my last couple of years at Fort Lewis, an M923A1. Compared to the HMMWV, which was an off-roading go-kart and the LMTV, which felt modern and new for a military vehicle, the 923 felt like an absolute throwback. Non-turbocharged Cummins NHC 855ci diesel, five-speed Allison automatic, and the ability to drive through a tree if needed (one soldier decided that was a necessary thing shortly after I signed for the keys, requiring some percussive maintenance with a sledgehammer and some paint work.)
The one thing that really stood out to me, however, was the comfort factor. Now, it’s no shock that military vehicles aren’t designed to be luxury machines. But driving that tank was the closest I came to operating an old-school tractor up until I moved to Kentucky, and legroom was startlingly absent for such a large vehicle. Compared to the LMTV, which I could stretch out a bit in, the 923 felt like I was in the front row of a regional jetliner with no place to put my feet. No bueno.
I don’t know what mad genius built this thing. This is the combination of an M939A1 tractor (the semi-tractor variation of the M923 family of vehicles) and a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado. I don’t know how you would justify it to your spouse, or what kind of well-crafted story you’d have to sell your DMV on in order to get it registered. All I know is that this thing looks properly badass. This is the rig to shut down the local coal-rollers right in their tracks, and it needs a better engine than the NHC, which is a dog down low and up high and gets miserable mileage to boot. Maybe a 6.7L for parts, maybe an X15 for displacement. Can’t lose either way, I think. All you would need after that is a pintle hitch-equipped RV trailer and you would be good to go!
Mecum Auctions’ Orlando 2021 – Lot S103, 2008 Chevrolet 3500 HD “Yeti” Custom