Hooniverse Asks: What’s your favorite Forward Control-style vehicle?

The Forward Control vehicle had quite a run for some time, but then it disappeared. Crash standards on these are… well, they don’t exist. You are the crumple zone. Forget that for a moment though because FCs are definitely still cool. Take the risk and run a rad ride, like the Forward Control Land Rover Defender in the lead photo. That was recently restored by Osprey Custom Cars from Wilmington, NC.

This specific truck is a 1975 Defender otherwise called the 101 Forward Control or 101FC, according to Osprey. Its square shape made it easy to load into transport vehicles for ground support during war. The owner of this one wanted to turn it into a beach mobile. Something to pack the family in and head to the ocean, and I say it’s perfect for that. Gone is the 3.5-liter V8. That’s been replaced with a 6.2-liter LS that cranks out 400 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque. That… is a lot in a vehicle like this, but if you want to actually make it to the beach it’s probably a good choice. Assuming you don’t mash the upgraded brakes and do an endo into the sand.

There are other great FC vehicles that have been built throughout the years. What are your favorites? Share them below.

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30 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: What’s your favorite Forward Control-style vehicle?”

  1. Batshitbox Avatar

    I’ve owned an Isuzu NPR and am no big fan of Forward Control after that. So I’m just going to post a picture of the weird.

  2. Professor Bananahohohot Avatar
    Professor Bananahohohot

    I gotta say, that Defender has it all.
    That probably comes the closest to checking off all of the boxes for a terrestrial Millennium Falcon:
    1. Unorthodox control position
    2. Incredible speed
    3. Active across multiple generations
    4. Useful Cargo capacity
    5. Unreliable
    6. Gray
    7. Commanding vessel of an insurgency (Unknown)

    Despite this, my favorite will always be the M274 “Mule”, because WOW what a lack of regard for form, my goodness, it’s perfect.

    1. salguod Avatar

      That’s taking “You are the crumple zone.” rather literally.

  3. Batshitbox Avatar

    I’ve owned an Isuzu NPR and am no fan of forward control vehicles, so I’m just going to post a picture of the weird.


    1. Alff Avatar

      Why aren’t you a fan?

      1. Batshitbox Avatar

        Maybe it’s because I drove that NPR across the United States in January, alone, with no radio and the heater stuck on full tilt. I’m not a detractor of forward control, but I just never got into it enough to answer the “what’s your favorite? question.
        I saw a VW Hormiga on the streets of San Francisco recently and it was the most far-out thing I’d seen in a while. Even Wikipedia says it’s one of the rarest VWs out there. That was as close to ‘favorite’ as I could get.

        1. Alff Avatar

          That would tend to sour things. I thought it was perhaps due to ride quality, given that the driver hangs out on one end of the seesaw.

  4. GTXcellent Avatar

    Well, I’ll have to be the negative nelly again and have an opinion in complete contrast to the rest of the ‘verse – much like station wagons, small Japanese pickups and Datsun 240Zs, I really don’t like forward control vehicles. I guess I can streeeeetch the definition of forward control and pick the Kenworth K100 Aerodyne from my very first favorite tv show.

    1. salguod Avatar

      The right answer.

  5. Maymar Avatar


    Kei vans and trucks are all a little interchangeable and adorable. The best way to deal with the inherent crash protection issues is to drive something you’d never, ever want to (or be able to) drive all that fast.

    1. crank_case Avatar

      Apart from the Turbo versions, one case where the non-JDM export stuff can be a good option, my dad had a van version of one the 80s Daihatsu Hijet with a mighty 850cc similar to the one below, but a full commercial panel van version with no back seats in the rear, and damn right you don’t want to corner too enthusiastically, centre of gravity isn’t a strong point. Crosswinds could be a bit hairy too.


  6. 0A5599 Avatar

    On a post last week I expressed my affinity for A100 pickups, but for today’s Hooniverse Asks, let’s scale that up a bit and nominate TV Tommy Ivo’s glass-sided L700 hauler with two dragsters inside and a Vette on the roof.



    1. Batshitbox Avatar

      The ‘rail’ type dragster being the exact opposite of a forward control. Nice juxtaposition.

      1. 0A5599 Avatar

        Years ago i was on a project that required me waking at 3:30 am, driving (I daily drove a Corvette much like the one in the picture) to meet a crew and pick up one of two loaded bobtail trucks, drive a truck to a jobsite 4.5 hours away, unload the trucks and install the contents, drive back to my car, and go home. It was about a 30 hour day for me, and I was quite exhausted when I was finished.

        I remember that when i got into the Corvette for the final leg, the sensation when turning felt very strange. It was the difference between sitting over the front axle in the 24 foot truck to sitting barely in front of the rear axle in the 98″ wheelbase Vette, multiplied by road fatigue and lack of sleep. I wonder how much more I would have noticed that in a slingshot dragster at 220 mph.

        1. Batshitbox Avatar

          If you notice the sensation of turning in a rail at 220 mph it’s probably one of the last sensations you’ll ever notice.

  7. mdharrell Avatar

    I’m fond of the Lockheed Dragon Wagon, among other reasons for the thought of owning a vehicle with a data plate specifying the manufacturer as Lockheed Missiles and Space Company. Well, that and the name Dragon Wagon.



  8. Sjalabais Avatar

    By now, my obnoxious repetitiveness…oh, well, let’s call it ‘stability’, has made it pretty clear that the UAZ Buhanka is my favourite. So I will throw out something else that was everywhere when I grew up: The GDR’s famous Multicar, the country’s only production vehicle that survived the advent of capitalism:
    And, yes, of course there was a more frugal version. Who needs to warm up a full cabin when you can be a solo worker bee?:

  9. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

    The Landrover 101 is a favorite, with the extra bonus of being designed with quickly removable body work so it can slung form a helicopter. In addition to stuff like FC Jeeps, and Kei trucks I’ve always like the MAN Kat1 high mobility trucks that were popular Paris Dakar support vehicles. These beast have coil sprung suspension and originally ran air cooled Deutz diesles behind the cab.


  10. 0A5599 Avatar

    How about the Panthermobile?

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      Point of order, should that last be plural??

      1. sunbeammadd Avatar

        My use of the plural might be optimistic!

        1. mdharrell Avatar

          Not necessarily. This is the same driver but what little of the registration plate is visible appears to indicate a different number:


  11. crank_case Avatar

    I’m torn between the “I’d actually seriously use it” appeal of Kei vans (really, a Kei van would be genuinely useful) and the utter ridiculousness of a Tatra 813


    1. outback_ute Avatar

      How about a Tatra 603 NP as a compromise? (Can’t seem to load a photo, but it’s a FC pickup version of the 603 sedan with the drivetrain moved to the front axle leaving a flat low bed. They also did a 603 MB van or people mover version, but both were only prototypes.

      1. crank_case Avatar

        It’s interesting, but I’m not really about middly compromises. Go Kart or Monster Truck, not much in between.

  12. Lokki Avatar

    Let’s see (Studies rules of contest again, carefully)… We’re talking about vehicles, right?

    Then I think this qualifies. Anyway, I’ve always wanted one.


  13. Gurdil_the_Dwarf Avatar

    Gaz 66. When you absolutely need to get somewhere, but a Tatra 813 is too big.