About the Dodge CUCV

The Dodge M880/M890 series were the family of Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicles (CUCV, pronounced cuck-vee) procured from Dodge during 1976 and 1977. Total production was about 44,000 units. They were not originally called CUCV, but the intention was to use commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) vehicles, lightly militarized, as a substitute for purpose-built tactical trucks such as the then in-service G741 M37 as well as the first COTS truck, the Kaiser Jeep M-715.

The term CUCV later came to include the Dodge M8xx-series as well as the successor Chevrolet M10xx series vehicles.

An M880 CUCV parked in the staging area before being loaded aboard the Ready Reserve Force ship SS CAPE HORN (T-AKR 5068) for shipment back to the United States at the conclusion of the joint US/South Korean Exercise TEAM SPIRIT '87, 15 Apr 1987.  An M-88 Hercules recovery vehicle is in the background
An M880 CUCV parked in the staging area before being loaded aboard the Ready Reserve Force ship SS CAPE HORN (T-AKR 5068) for shipment back to the United States at the conclusion of the joint US/South Korean Exercise TEAM SPIRIT '87, 15 Apr 1987. An M-88 Hercules recovery vehicle is in the background.

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22 Jul 1942 Daily gassing of Jews from Warsaw begins at Treblinka; 4000 men, women, children killed daily, the largest slaughter of any single community during the Holocaust [22 Jul-12 Sep].
22 Jul 1944 Setbacks in the Japanese war effort force the resignation of Hideki Tojo as Prime Minister of Japan.
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Dodge CUCV Family of Light Trucks

The 1-1/4 ton (five quarter) M880 series of trucks were based on the Dodge W200, a 3/4 ton capacity pickup body vehicle equipped with a Chrysler 318 cid V8 gasoline engine, 3-speed automatic transmission, power assisted disk-front/drum-rear brakes, and a 12 volt electrical system. Exceptions are the M893 4x2 Ambulance and the M888 4x4 Telephone Maintenance Truck, both based on the Dodge D200.

The military cargo trucks in this series include steel bows for a cargo cover, troop seats, and a pintle hook mounted on the rear step bumper (vehicle towed load allowance is 3000 lbs). In the base configuration, the M880-series trucks had civilian 12-volt electrical systems with a 50 amp alternator. Military 24 volt power, enhanced amperage, and blackout lights could be added with kits. Other specialized changes were made for individual models in the series variants, such as auxiliary rear springs. These trucks could carry a crew of three in the cab plus additional personnel if equipped with a troop seat kit for the cargo bed. No winch was supplied with any of the Dodge trucks in the M880 or M890 series.

Front grille position of turn signal lights.  From TM 9-2320-266-34, Figure 1-5
Front grille position of turn signal lights. From TM 9-2320-266-34, Figure 1-5.

The turn signal lights in the front panel of the trucks underwent a change of position during the production life. Trucks produced before 19 August 1976 had the turn signal lights under the headlights while trucks produced after that date had the turn signal lights inboard of the headlights, as shown in this drawing:

M882 dataplate, typical for M880-series Dodge vehicles.  Photo:  Vintage Military Trucks
M882 dataplate, typical for M880-series Dodge vehicles. Photo: Vintage Military Trucks.

Variants of the M-880 include the M88x series (4x4) and M89x series (4x2);

The M89x 4x2 versions of the Dodge M88x series, including the ambulance, are identical to the equivalent 4x4 model but without the front wheel drive. The 4x2 versions are therefore approximately 430 pounds lighter in curb weight. Operation of such trucks was limited to hard-surface roads where 4x4 was not needed.

Tabulated Data and photos for the individual models of Dodge CUCV will be found on the linked pages. Manuals for the M880 series trucks will be numbered TM9-2320-266-xx where the xx represents the maintenance level. The Shelter Tiedown Kit (NSN 5410-01-026-4708) and its installation in M-880 series vehicles are described in SB 11-640. You can purchase the Dodge CUCV manuals at ABE Books.

Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the Dodge CUCV at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup.

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