The secret substitute of ACM90: a Medium Multi-purpose Vehicle 4x4

(To Gianluca Celentano)
27/04/19

In offering you a preview on a logistic medium already designated in the early years' 90 as a replacement for the ACM90 and never officially enlisted, I believe it is right to understand its evolution, taking a step back, coming to the 6611M and 6613G, two motorization icons military, respectively better known as ACL75 and ACM80. Two vehicles, undoubtedly, linked to many memories of the lever, perhaps while traveling in the box for training at the shooting range or to go to summer or winter camps.

"How cold in winter ..."

The most fortunate of the two, in terms of use, was the ACM80, in fact the smaller and older ACL 75 was limited in size and suitable above all for towing generators and rotary kitchens. However both came to life from a single specific Defense project and were not built on reliable civilian trucks, as was the case with the 52 ACM that derived from the civilian versions of the Fiat 639 N2. By virtue also of a modern and still up-to-date design, as we shall see, we could argue that the first evolution started from the review of the ACL75, which in some measure also equipped a technical update of the 6 diesel cylinders of the ACM52. Sturdiness, simple maintenance and versatility, included in the Nato cataloging, were the essential elements of the post-war military automotive, however during the Cold War, few of them were exploited to the limit, in fact many predominantly carried out logistic tasks for the barracks services.

It was a winning bet for the engineer Bruno Beccaria of Fiat, in fact he seems to gravitate around him the desire to create in the 75 the union of five companies, Fiat Industrial Vehicles, Magirus Deutz, OM, Unic and Lancia special vehicles, under the guide of the newly formed Iveco Industria Italiana Commercial Vehicles, transited in the 2012 in CNH Industrial. For this reason some ACL75 units with right-hand drive have the Lancia brand on the front grille, while the ACMs are branded Fiat or Iveco Fiat.

After the annexation of ASTRA in the 86, some former military constables assures me that they have seen some of them always produced by Iveco DV branded Iveco Astra.

Remember ...

I don't know about you, but when I happened to drive an ACM80, the adrenaline went up a thousand and the passion talked moment by moment with the sound of the engine that made you clearly understand when you put the shotguns up and down, listening the decisive tone of the engine and breather brake. I won't tell you then when I was crossing tunnels, perhaps with a heavy load, the rumble of the military column was enough to make it clear that military vehicles were in transit. Recently then I happened to still make some trips, but also to start some alienated specimen and, I can guarantee, that it started up without too many problems, on the other hand the only ones for these pure analogical means, were the gaskets maybe shoals of clutch and engine brake and the tendency to oversteer on wet slabs to be recovered even with different counter-steering turns.

The sensations at the helm of ACM80 I found in a few other media including the 370 turbo and Mercedes 350 buses.

The evolution

Fortunately, several examples of ACM80 / 90 are still in service, albeit militarily downgraded and neatly parked in some barracks, however the large numbers of this production have allowed, with the rotation and restyling, to respond to the great civil demand of 4x4 heavy former soldiers . So much so that Iveco with the abbreviations 80-16 and 80-17 (8 tons of PTT for 160 / 170 horses) has produced, without too many differences, civilian versions, even with the twin-deck rear axle.

The engine of the ACM80 was among the first propulsion systems for heavy vehicles to use supercharging, a not insignificant detail that elevated the 122 horses of the aspired ACL up to 170. In the course of its operational life it has actually undergone slight updates, including the stabilizer bar, the soundproofing of the cabin, the replacement of the glossy black plastic with rubberized elements and, even the instrumentation, albeit spartan, has been made more visible.

For ACL, on the other hand, the most significant change was the shifting of the guide to the left. Beyond the 5 ton load, the drivers will remember it well, in the barracks the Iveco 190 logisticians were always available with fuller change, the 330 but also the TM 69 and Cp70, however if for Fiat Campagnola the change came late, the evolution of the ACM90 continued ...

IVECO MMV 4x4 135E24

It could easily be called ACM 91, but the climate of the period was probably beginning to impose different and international identification codes, so all the best of the historic ACM80 / 90 has been merged into a variant of the project of a very successful medium of Iveco, theeuro Cargo, born in the '91.

With euro Cargo, some say that ACM90 has never gone down. With the name of Medium Multi-purpose Vehicle 4x4, the engineers of Iveco Defense Vehicles give life to a truck that only externally recalls the modern silhouette of the well-known ACM80, but its features, capacity and performance, are more than doubled, like the load that is well 13500 kg and the towing to 6000kg.

Really a great medium with a speed limited to 100km / h and an ability to go over slopes of 60% and flooded fords of 0,85m. It will be curious to know that with this means, the starter nail has given way to the traditional key and the battery connection is placed on the button Master dashboard, like on the most recent VMs.

How it is made and its history

Let's face it, the history of MMV has not made it much justice, at least here with us and we will see why, while euro Cargo he entered the barracks appreciated for his logistical skills, while abroad, also for operational ones. Some innovative details are interesting compared to ACM90, also present on the K version, ie quarry and construction site, the identifier of the civil 4X4. Both the military and the civil, possess an enormous versatility with an H-shaped frame, placed at less than half a meter from the ground, but also dimensions and ideal angles to carry out the off road trial and, fans of the genre know this well.

Interesting are the additional reductions created with a reference on the wheel hubs, a detail also present on the ACTL. In short, if MMV has not had the traffic light verse, the same cannot be said for euro Cargo, which broke through on the market by winning the world's best truck nomination in the edition Truck of the Year 2016

Internally the MMV, is the first military medium heavy with the third seat in line between driver and head of the machine and, the instrumentation, at least on this specimen, is similar to the standard setting of the '90 years but we could deduce that the eventual military marketing would have imposed a different design and placement of the instruments.

The frame is top of the range but even more robust, while the cab is metallic and not resin. The windshield, in the military version, is flat to limit glare and risk of breakage; interesting is the study on the practicality of intervention for maintenance and specialized controls and, remember, it is still appreciably quite limited in electronics. On the roof, the trap door moves to the center with respect to ACM, but the conformations it can take, unknown to its predecessor, at least in the military version, are interesting. In fact the data illustrate self-scale versions, tank trucks, with telescopic arm and basket, shelter, ambulance or command post.

On off-road forums some people, after trying the ACM80, question the qualities off road dell 'euro Cargo, perhaps precisely in the passages twist, claiming that the good old ACM80 almost always had the four wheels resting on the ground. It could be argued that the choice was planned as planned, given that euro Cargo 4x4 and MMV, are equipped with differential locks on the two axes, ACM instead, only on the rear.

The suspensions are spring-loaded with shock absorbers and anti-roll bars, while the braking system is hydraulic with self-ventilating discs. A ready and safe braking, without the indecision of ACM80, which in any case fared very well and, on the brake pedal, the engine brake is also switched, but an additional retarder is also provided between the fittings.

MMV data speaks of a manual 6 gearbox gearbox Eaton or, optionally, a Allison automatic. However, any Italian military marketing would almost certainly see the adoption of an 4 + 4 gearbox.

The engine, Diesel TCA common rail, should be the six-cylinder Tector properly revised and militarized. On the dashboard there are switches for the 4x4 passage and transversal blocks, while the most modern use ZF permanent solutions.

In short, he had the credentials to chronologically replace the 6613G but we could guess, after the annexation of ASTRA, that the study platform for rotated logistic tactical vehicles was even more perfected with the Piacenza experience in great trucks. However, only a few specimens seem to have reached the command of some barracks, perhaps in Aeronautics; it is likely instead that several military lots have instead reached Qatar, where Iveco is an institution.

In the '95, Iveco Defense Vehicle designs with a far-sighted solution, superior to the valid basis euro Cargo, a logistic tactic, ACTL, which draws the best from the platform EuroTrakker. A single project with numerous conformations and axes - 4x4, 6x6, 8x8 a successful solution where numerous types have been created, including, APS, box bodies, road tractors, double cabs, for special uses, rescue cars . It is pleasant to always observe a certain appeal to the modernity of the design of ACL75 and ACM80, where quality and reliability have made school.

Driving impressions euro Cargo

To understand the level of performance reliability in leading it into off road, we could easily align it to the Trakker (v.articolo). However, in use All terrain, there are some details, like the six-speed gearbox, which could give rise to some doubts. But Iveco, based on the type and power, offered options in addition to the "servoshift" to 8 and 9 marches and, to tell you all, personally I was more fond of the traditional gear lever near the seat, more practical, than the placement under the dashboard .

I have really driven many euro Cargo, some bus suits, the Cacciamali and, have always proved to be tireless mules ready to offer couple and faithful above all to the set trajectory, in particular if equipped with air suspension, ECAS system. In some versions, braking is not very moderate, while the steering which optimizes maneuvering in tight spaces is appreciable on certain versions.

Always to tell you all about it, on the older series there are too many lights that turn on without a real reason and, the litmus test, you always have to look at the gauges while driving.

For the writing of this piece, I wanted to try the 190 series, with 280 horses, up and down the orobic valleys where there are no bans, but some sections are even difficult for cars. His noise took me back in time, reminding me of the ACM80 but it was his readiness and decision without uncertainties on the climbs to make me rise again the adrenaline and, sometimes, I say to myself that maybe I should have been a policeman of fire.

In conclusion: I would like to congratulate the Army General Staff on the useful and interesting training initiative on the 4x4 VTLM Iveco Lynx, recently advertised.

Special thanks to Leonardo Bosisio, a friendly and helpful Curno truck dealer, Bg.

Photo: Online / web defense