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Government Surplus Military Vehicle Auctions

NOTICE: As of 18 June 2014, there was a change in US Government policy regarding sales of many military vehicles, due to EPA regulations on the engines. The issues were apparently resolved in August 2014, as explained at this link. This episode shows that availability of surplus vehicles in the future cannot be taken for granted.

The information in this Olive-Drab.com section will help you understand the U.S. Government system for auctioning surplus goods, especially military vehicles. You will find the exact guidance you need to find what you want, get started bidding, winning, and receiving your surplus treasures.

You will also find warnings of the problems and pitfalls, along with pointers on what to do and where to get good advice.

M-35A2 For Sale at US Government auction
Kaiser Jeep Corp. Model M-35A2 Cargo Truck, on sale at Ft. Gillem, Forrest Park, GA by Government Liquidation.com, February 2005.

Today in WW II: 22 Oct 1941 Delayed bomb set by the Soviets detonates in Romanian headquarters, killing 67 people including the Romanian commander and other Romanian and German officers.  More 
22 Oct 1943 German industrial and population center of Kassel targeted by 569 RAF bombers that dropped more than 1,800 tons of bombs, causing heavy damage in a firestorm.
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U.S. Government Military Surplus Vehicle Auctions

Wrecked and cannibalized Kaiser Jeep Corp. Model M-35A2 Cargo Truck For Sale at U.S. Government auction, Ft. Lewis, WA

Government surplus military vehicles are just waiting for you to pick up cheap, right? Not quite. The main impression to take away from this section is that the government surplus auctions are a wonderful source of military vehicles, equipment and gear of all types but it is not necessarily cheap or easy to get. As usual, there is no magic, no fabulous secrets, and certainly no free lunch. There are risks and not every vehicle is a prize, like the M-35A2 on the left that was on sale at Ft. Lewis, WA.

The information here is primarily written regarding military vehicles as the target of interest, but everything pretty much applies to other types of goods available as well. If you want to buy sleeping bags or a boat, you can follow the same procedures and pointers as if you were looking to buy a truck.

Government Surplus Military Vehicle Auctions Guide

Before you think about bidding on a U.S. Government auction, there are many things you need to know. These sections will not only tell you where to go and how to find trucks, trailers, and other vehicles or equipment, they will also arm you with practical advice drawn from the experiences of Olive-Drab.com and our contributors.

M-1009 For Sale by Government Liquidation at  Letterkenny Army Depot, Chambersburg, PA
Event Id 1331, Lot Number 5, closed 11 February 2005. Described as "1985 CHEVROLET MDL M1009 BLAZER, 3/4 TON, 4 X 4, V-8 DIESEL, AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION. ODOMETER INDICATES 81, 891 MILES. BUYER MUST LOAD. THIS VEHICLE STARTS AND RUNS". For Sale by Government Liquidation.com at Letterkenny Army Depot, Chambersburg, PA.

Be sure to take the advice seriously. Just because a truck looks good in a photo, doesn't mean you can buy it, hop in and drive home. Far from it. Get yourself prepared for the reality of these sales or take advantage of alternatives like dealers who will take on many of the risks for you (at a higher price, of course).

These sections answer all the common questions and will inform you of many things you probably never thought of if this is new to you. Follow up on the links and other sources to go more in depth.


Find additional photos and hi-res versions of military vehicles of all types at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup:

M4A1 Sherman medium tank with cast upper hull and transmission cover, probably built at Detroit Tank Arsenal during WW II.
A lowboy trailer towed by a 6th Marine Amphibious Brigade M52 5-ton tractor awaits loading of the cargo container it carries aboard the prepositioning ship SS CPL. LOUIS J. HAUGE JR, Wilmington, NC, 15 Mar 1985
Japanese Type 97 medium tank mounting a 47mm tank gun and weighing 15 tons. Its manually operated turret could be traversed 360 degrees.
M-3 Lee medium tank manufacture at the Chrysler-operated Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant, Warren, MI, circa 1941. Test is thorough at the proving grounds adjoining the arsenal near Detroit. These are twenty-eight ton M-3 tanks, the steel monster which will make our mechanized forces the equal of any in the world in tank warfare. The lower of the two gun barrels is that of a 75mm gun, the upper of a 37mm anti-aircraft gun, both standard equipment on these tanks. In addition, four machine guns are mounted on each tank.
Bradley Fighting Vehicle and Soldiers belonging to the U.S. Army 1st Brigade (Tiger), 2d Armored Division, operating as a part of the 2d Marine Division during the Gulf War, training prior to the opening of the ground offensive, circa late 1990. Photo: Courtesy of U.S. Army, 1st Cavalry Division Museum
One of the divisions participating in Lieutenant General Walter Kreuger's Third Army maneuvers in Louisiana drawing its supply of gasoline from the provisional gas depot, circa 1942. Five gallon Jerry Cans are filled from a tanker supplied by a civilian Esso gasoline distributor.

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