Built in 1938 by the White Motor Company of Cleveland, Ohio, United States, on the basis of a commercial frame, the prototype led to a fist order for 64 units. The Army decided to adopt an improved version, designated M3A1. The new version had a longer and wider hull. In front of the bumper an unditching roller was mounted. The M3A1 could carry up to seven infantry and provide fire support with three machine guns – one .50 caliber (12.7 mm) and two .30 caliber (7.62 mm) – mounted on a skate rail around the hull.
This vehicle was developed in order to perform fast missions, above all on rough terrains. In spite of its full-time four-wheel drive (with no way to disengage it), its off-road performances were poor, it had a limited capacity of transporting troops. This is why half-tracks were preferred.
M3A1 had a crew of seven plus the driver. The rear compartment has 6 seats, two pointing forward, 2 pointing to the sides and two pointing rearward. The remainder of the space contained two big storages located on the sides.
Vehicle used for the purpose of patrol, reconnaissance, command-car, ambulance or artillery tractor.
Production : about 21,000
Engine : Hercules JXD, 320 cu in (5,200 cc), in-line 6-cylinder, L-head, gasoline, 110 hp (82 kW)
Operational range : 250 miles (403 km)
Gas consumption : 6 mpg
Speed : 55 mph (89 km/h)
Weight : 8,900 lb
Length : 222 in (5.60 m)
Width : 80 in (2 m)
Height : 79 in (1.97 m)
Crew : driver plus 7
Weapons : Machine-gun Browning cal .50
Armor : 6–13 mm (0.25 inch sides, 0.5 inch windshield)