The Dodge M880 marked the early stages of the military’s CUCV (Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle) program. The M880 was essentially a militarized version of Dodge’s third-generation D-series civilian trucks, but it proved to be an awkward fit for their intended applications. The trucks were powered by a 5.2-liter gasoline V-8 engine, but much of the armed services was moving to diesel, and they were not equipped with power steering — this was a choice likely initially made for durability and reliability reasons, but made the trucks a bear to drive, especially in tight quarters. However, the M880 did
In 1973, Dodge began developing militarized adaptations of their current civilian trucks. In 1976, the M880/M890 series was put into production under a large contract., For almost a decade the Dodges were referred to as “880s”, “890s”, or most commonly called “five-quarters”. The term “CUCV” did not appear until the 1980s when GM was contracted to replace the M880/90s.The M8XXs were an attempt by the U.S. military to use commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) vehicles with minor modifications in non-combat roles.[
They were intended to replace the M37
and their related variants. The 1¼ ton M880-series was based on the Dodge W200
, a ¾ ton capacity The 880/90s had a 2500 lb cargo rating, enabling it to have a 5
-ton load rating. The similar 1¼ ton M890-series was based on the The M880/M890s had several failings: a gasoline powerplant, 12-volt electrical systems (a separate 24 volt system was added to communications units), and no power steering, due to the PS pump location being used for the 24V generator.The 318 gasoline engine
proved to be a fatal flaw as the military moved increasingly to diesel engines during this time period. The lack of power steering was a hindrance in off-road, close quarters, and snow-plowing duties (although most civilian and Air Force models had power steering). Around 44,000 M880/M890s were produced during the 1976–1977 model years and faithfully served the Army and Air Force until the late 1990s.
An armored variant was built by Cadillac Gage as the Ranger.
All M880/M890s were powered by Chrysler’s 5.2L 318 gasoline engine with a two-barrel Carter or Holley Carburetor. These were rated at 150 hp (110 kW) and 230 lb/ft of torque. Most were equipped with the Torqueflite 727 3-speed automatic,a precious few left the factory with a 4-speed manual. The 880s used a 2-speed NP203 transfer case. A Dana 44 4.10:1 front axle and floating Dana 60 4:10.1 rear axle completed the setup. They were equipped with front wheel disc brakes and rear wheel drums. 880/890s had a Military rated top speed of 70 mph (110 km/h).
The M-880 is a Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle (CUCV pronounced “cuck-vee”), a military modified Dodge pick-up truck, procured in the mid-1970s to replace the Kaiser M715 5/4 truck and any remaining M-37 Dodge trucks in military inventory. The CUCVs were an attempt by the U.S. military to use COTS (commercial, off-the-shelf) vehicles with minor modifications in non-combat roles. After the M880 series, the U.S. military procured the M1008 – M1009 – M1010 Chevrolet CUCVs as a second try of the COTS concept. This effort to save money was not very successful and eventually all CUCV units where replaced by HMMWVs.
The M880 cargo truck (pick-up body) (NSN 2320-00-579-8942) is the base model of the M880 Dodge Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicles (CUCV) series of trucks. The linked page provides more information on the general characteristics of the Dodge CUCV trucks and a directory of links to Olive-Drab.com pages for other models of the series.