After the end of the Second World War, orders for military vehicles ceased. The Canadian Automotive industry quickly reverted to civilian car design and production, with little thought to peacetime military needs. By 1950 however, the Cold War was in full swing, The Korean War had started, and the Canadian Government was fearing an imminent need for new military trucks, while already aware of the problems that arose in re-tooling civilian automotive industry a decade before.
During the war, Canada had produced the CMP (Canadian Military Pattern) truck for its armed forces. Although still held in large numbers into the 1950’s, it was to a British design specification with right hand drive and other numerous outdated features. At the end of the War, it was determined that Canada would standardise its military vehicles on US designs. The latest standard was the “M-Series”, commonly referred to as the SMP (Standard Military Pattern) family of trucks in Canada.
The M37 ¾ ton 4×4 truck was selected by the Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force as the replacement for the 15cwt CMP and Dodge APT trucks in service at the time. The vehicle was a standard cab and box arrangement that could also be produced with a van body if desired.
After much negotiation, an agreement with the United States was made where the trucks would be assembled in Canada by Canadian Industry using a mixture of US and Canadian supplied parts. The design was also adopted by the Royal Canadian Air Force at the same time to replace its outdated Dodge APT ¾ ton trucks. In March 1951, Chrysler Corporation of Canada received a pilot model M37 from the United States to use as a reference sample. By October of that year, the First “M37 CDN” as they were now known, rolled off the production line in Windsor, Ontario.
The Canadian trucks were similar to the US made versions except for the larger, Canadian produced 251 cubic inch engine and improved transmission. Other differences included the standardized fitting of a metal “Arctic Cab” instead of the canvas top seen on US examples. As with the US versions, Canadian trucks were made with and without, front mounted PTO driven winches. There was also a M42 CDN Command version planned, which was essentially an office kit installed in the rear bed of an M37, but this project was cancelled in favour of the enclosed M152 platform.
In 1952, the ambulance version of the fleet was introduced featuring an insulated metal van body with large barn doors in the rear. This model was known as the M43 CDN. 1952 also saw the introduction of the pilot model M152 CDN panel truck. The M152 CDN took over from shelved M42CDN Command truck project and was based on the US XM152. This truck was similar to the M43 but featured side windows in the rear body with wire mesh covers.
The M152 CDN was to be used for the basis of several specialised equipment vehicles including the Radio Van, (“Gin Palace” as it was commonly known, supposedly because of what may have gone on inside of it). Initially the M152 CDN incorporated the M43 designs double swing out rear doors, but Signals Branch trials indicated that the large doors prevented the mounting of antennas on the rear of the body. As a result, the design was modified to have a single rear door and after some delay the changes were incorporated in the production models. The final design of M152 CDN panel van entered full production in 1954.
The final model of ¾ ton SMP that Canada acquired was the M56 CDN. These were a cab and chassis only that featured the longer frame of the M152 and M43 but with the sheet metal of the M37. The intent was to use them for the mounting of mobile welder units and water tankers. Ultimately these roles were carried out by regular M37’s or trailers and the six M56 CDN manufactured in 1954 were surplus to requirements by 1957. The last of 4524 ¾ ton SMP trucks were delivered by Chrysler of Canada to the Canadian military in 1955.
While this was going on in Canada, the Canadian Army fighting in Korea was having problems of its own with its older worn-out fleet of Canadian and American supplied vehicles. By 1952 maintenance problems with the old Dodge Weapons Carrier (WC) series trucks were becoming acute and a solution to the vehicle problem was needed. The US army was in the process of introducing the M-Series in Korea and Canada was able to negotiate a scheme where Canadian US supplied Second World War era vehicles could be exchanged for brand new M-Series trucks. Deliveries were initially slow throughout 1953 but by March 1954 Canadians had 193 M37 cargo trucks and 27 M43 Ambulances, both types of US manufacture. At the end of 1954, the M37’s and M43’s were returned to US ordnance parks and left in Korea.
Canadian made ¾ ton SMP’s went on to serve with Canada in France, Germany and Norway as part of our NATO commitment, and in the middle east with Canadian contingents on United Nations missions. By the late 1960s, the fleet of Canadian made ¾ ton SMP trucks was starting to show its age and the newly amalgamated Canadian Forces was looking at a replacement within the next half decade.
In 1970, the Chrysler of Canada 1 ¼ ton 4×4 “Ram” amphibious truck was trialed, but it was the Chevrolet 1 1/4 ton 4×4 modified commercial pattern of truck, commonly known as the “Five Quad”, that was adopted in 1976. The last of the Dodge SMP’s was retired in the late 1970’s with the majority being sold onto the civilian market.
Tables of Known 3/4 Ton SMP Vehicle Data
These tables includes the information of known 3/4 SMP trucks. The serial numbers for the trucks are linear from 91400001 through to 91404524 but the CFR numbering rationale is not known at this time. Due to the quantity of vehicles acquired over the course of production no attempt has been made to enter every vehicle serial number. RCAF vehicles were assigned a unique registration number and only obtained a CFR if they were still in use after 1968. Dates of acquisition based on the original Canadian Army Registration (CAR) numbers have been entered when known.
As the vehicles were acquired, and mostly disposed of, prior to the adoption of electronic inventory control by DND the list contains only 114 records obtained from DND electronic records . The remainder of the vehicle data captured here has been obtained from period images and data plates of surviving vehicles. Any additions or corrections are very much appreciated.
M37 CDN Cargo Truck
|Date||CFR No.||Serial No.||Image/ Notes|
|1951||40001||91400038||Truck, Cargo, Modified For Radio Teletypewriter Equipment,w/Winch|
|40010||91400040||Truck, Cargo, w/Crane, Front Mounted, w/Winch|
|40046||91400054||Truck, Cargo, w/Crane, Front Mounted, w/Winch|
|40079||91400085||Truck, Cargo, w/Winch|
|40080||91400070||Truck, Cargo, w/Winch|
|40122||91400124||Truck, Cargo, w/Winch|
Truck, Cargo, w/Winch
|40171||91400166||Truck, Cargo, w/Adaptor Kit Cable Laying, w/Winch|
|40226||91400216||Truck, Cargo, w/Winch|
|40255||91400252||Truck, Cargo, w/Crane, Front Mounted, w/Winch|
|40268||91400271||Truck, Cargo, w/Winch|
|40287||91400294||Truck, Cargo, w/Adaptor Kit Cable Laying, w/Winch|
|40293||91400299||Truck, Cargo, w/Winch|
Seen in Ottawa towing the funerary 25 pounder and limber. (DND Image)
|40391||91400685||Truck, Cargo, Mod for Rtty Equip|
1962 in Ottawa, Ontario with the Governor General’s Foot Guards. Note the unit badge on the door. (Courtesy Lost Ottawa)
Front mounted derrick
|40544||91400463||w/Welding Shop Equip, Oxygenacetylene|
|40562||91400485||Truck, Cargo, w/Winch|
|40568||91400491||Truck, Cargo, w/Adaptor Kit Cable Laying, w/Winch|
Camp Wainwright in July 1956 with the RCHA. (15th Field Regt. Museum and Archives)
|40621||91400770||Truck, Cargo, w/Winch|
40626 was fitted with the trials installation of the adapter kit for the SS11B ENTAC Missile (DND Image)
|40632||91400763||Truck, Cargo, w/Crane, Front Mounted, w/Winch|
|40643||91400780||Truck, Cargo, w/Winch|
|40660||91400799||Truck, Cargo, w/Winch|
|40665||91400808||Truck, Cargo, w/Winch|
|40710||91400843||w/Adapterkit, Electronic Equipment VRC12, W/winch|
|40722||91400851||Truck, Cargo, w/Adaptor Kit Cable Laying, w/Winch|
|40738||91400809||Truck, Cargo, w/Winch|
|40765||91401006||Truck, Cargo, w/Adaptor Kit Cable Laying|
|40845||91401086||Truck, Cargo, Mod for Rtty Equip|
|40852||91401092||Truck, Cargo, Mod for Rtty Equip|
|40860||91401106||w/adapterkit, Electronic Equipment VRC12|
|40951||91401196||Truck, Cargo, w/Adaptor Kit Cable Laying|
|41088||91401340||Truck, Cargo, w/AKEE|
On exercise in Norway as part of Canada’s NATO commitment. (Still from DND film)
|41252||91401508||Truck, Cargo, w/AKEE|
|41354||91401607||Truck, Cargo, Mod for Rtty Equip|
An uncommon use of the M37cdn as a ceremonial vehicle for use by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau during a unit inspection. The back was fitted with lawn chairs for the occasion (courtesy Clint Tauber)
|41605||91401870||Truck, Cargo, w/Adapter Kit, Electronic Equip, w/Winch|
On escort duty with the R22Regt. in downtown Montreal, Quebec during the October Crisis, 1970. (Montreal Gazette)
In use by an armored unit. (Unknown Source)
|41634||91401903||Truck, Cargo, w/AKEE|
In Montreal, Quebec during the October Crisis of 1970. (Montreal Gazette)
|41983||91402257||Truck, Cargo, w/AKEE|
|41991||91402255||Truck, Cargo, w/AKEE|
|42038||91402304||Truck, Cargo, Mod for Rtty Equip|
|42039||91402316||Truck, Cargo, Mod for Rtty Equip|
|42043||91402313||Truck, Cargo, w/Adaptor Kit Cable Laying|
|42115||91402389||Truck, Cargo, Mod for Rtty Equip|
|42200||91402463||Truck, Cargo, Mod for Rtty Equip|
|42244||91402510||Truck, Cargo, Mod for Rtty Equip|
|42250||91402511||Truck, Cargo, w/ Inspection and Repair Equip, w/Winch, RCEME|
|42290||91402557||Truck, Cargo, Mod for Rtty Equip|
|42294||91402589||Truck, Cargo, w/ Inspection and Repair Equip, RCASC|
|42335||91402622||Truck, Cargo, Mod for Rtty Equip|
|42349||91402638||Truck, Cargo, w/AKEE|
|42350||91402639||Truck, Cargo, w/Winch|
|42360||91402671||Truck, Cargo, w/AKEE|
CFB Lahr 1975. (Courtesy Don Dingwall)
|42447||91402734||w/Welding Shop Equip, Oxygenacetylene|
|42452||91402744||w/adapterkit, Electronic Equipment, VRC12, W/winch|
|42509||91402796||Truck, Cargo, w/AKEE|
|42542||91404251||Truck, Cargo, w/AKEE|
|42560||91404261||Truck, Cargo, Mod for Rtty Equip|
|42597||91404305||Truck, Cargo, w/AKEE|
Seen in Cyprus (DND Image)
|42684||91404390||Truck, Cargo, w/Winch|
(Library and Archives Canada)
(Library and Archives Canada)
Truck, Cargo, w/Adapter kit, Electronic Equip, C4, w/SS11B System
|42707||91404403||Truck, Cargo, w/Adapter kit, Electronic Equip, C4, w/SS11B System|
|42714||91404452||Truck, Cargo, w/Adapter Kit, Electronic Equip, C4, w/SS11B System|
|42715||91404402||Truck, Cargo, w/Adapter Kit, Electronic Equip, C4, w/SS11B System|
|42731||91404464||Truck, Cargo, Mod for Rtty Equip|
Very new looking M37 CDN’s in depot storage. (DND Image)
(Courtesy David Good)
Truck, Cargo, w/ Inspection and Repair Equip, w/Winch, RCEME
|42787||91404498||Truck, Cargo, w/ Inspection and Repair Equip, w/Winch, RCEME|
Truck, Cargo, w/Adaptor Kit Cable Laying
|42806||91404515||Truck, Cargo, w/Adaptor Kit Cable Laying|
|42837||91403279||w/Adapterkit, Electronic Equipment VRC12, W/winch|
|42924||91403367||Truck, Cargo, w/Adaptor Kit Cable Laying, w/Winch|
|Year||RCAF No.||Serial No.||Images/ Notes|
RCAF Station Holberg, B.C. 1959 (Unknown Source)
M43 CDN Ambulance
|Year||CFR No.||Serial No.||Image/ Notes|
47033 remains in use for ceremonial purposes at CFB Petawawa. (DND Image)
For a period of time it suffered from an identity crisis on the CFR plate. (Courtesy Eric Booth)
Leaving the Kingston Penitentiary during the 1971 Riot. (Toronto Star)
1960’s at CFB Cornwallis. (Courtesy Dan McLaren)
Seen in base ambulance white being decontaminated. (CFB Comox Museum)
|Year||RCAF No.||Serial No.||Image/ Notes|
|1952||91400953||Was painted CF Ambulance white.|
|1952||3J22-1570||91400968||Original RCAF Blue paint|
1952: No.11 Supply Depot, Calgary
1952 to 1961: To 917th ACWRON. US Air Force Radar station. Puntzi Mountain, BC.
1962 to 1966: 55th AC&W Squadron RCAF. Puntzi Mountain, BC.
M152 CDN Panel Truck
|Year||CFR No.||Serial No.||Image/ Notes|
Showing the dual rear doors of the M43 with screened enclosure. ( DND Image)
Seen on a signals course in 1967. (Courtesy RC Signals Museum)
CFB Holberg B.C. 1972. (DND Image)
56 Signals Squadron UNEF. (Courtesy RC Signals Museum)
1975: disposed of to Winnipeg Police Service as EOD Vehicle.
2012: Located in Winnipeg area scrap yard and re-acquired by Winnipeg Police.
2015: Restoration completed to Police EOD configuration.
Contained here are the known contract numbers and details for the Canadian 3/4 ton SMP trucks. These tables have been primarily collected from surviving vehicle dataplates. It is hoped to be able to create a complete list using archival sources as information becomes available.
|1952-5||Contract for 750 Trucks W/O Winch|
M37 CDN Image Gallery
M43 CDN Image Gallery
M152 CDN Image Gallery
Andrew Iarocci. The 3/4-Ton SMP Truck in Canadian Service. Service Publications 2009
Don Dingwall. Canadian Vehicles in Korea Service Publications 2015