Making Progress on Our Oracle Lighting LMTV SEMA Build
Our Oracle Lighting LMTV build has already been getting lots of attention. The goal of the project is to create a highly reliable and equally capable global expedition vehicle that could get us comfortably off-grid for extended durations. We also wanted to make a functional meeting space for the many events we attend every year. Of course, it also had to turn plenty of heads and serve as a rolling showcase for our LED lighting technology and products.
After debating the best platforms thoroughly, we landed on using the Stewart & Stevenson M1979 as the basis for our project. As the U.S. Army’s replacement for its aging fleet of 2.5-ton trucks, the M1979 is built for a harsh and dirty life. A stout 6.6-liter Caterpillar turbo powers it backed by a beefy Allison seven-speed transmission. Giant 46-inch tires with a central tire inflation system allow it to roll over most off-road obstacles, and its smaller dimensions let it fit on most trails. It is even EMP-proof in case we need to survive an electromagnetic pulse attack or settle in for an extended nuclear winter. Check out our previous blog post here for a deeper dive into why we picked this unique military truck.
Using the M1979 for our project would eliminate many of the modifications needed to increaseits off-road prowess that are necessary with other vehicles. However, it wasn’t all smiles and sunshine. The M1979 might be capable in the dirt right out of the box, but it is a military truck. One thing the U.S. Army (or any military, for that matter) isn’t known for is lavishing its soldiers in absolute luxury. You don’t join the army expecting to drive vehicles with plush heated leather seats, giant infotainment screens, booming audio systems or any other conveniences found in modern cars or trucks. Military vehicles are almost always built with a strong emphasis on function and durability over comfort.
Peering inside the cab of our LMTV, it is easy to see its military roots. While its dual M-16 mounts are a plus, the seats look like something out of an abandoned stadium – not very inviting or comfortable for a long drive. XM radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or even a radio are entirely absent. Also missing is any sound-deadening material or insulation. The only thing to listen to for entertainment is the insane amount of road and drivetrain noise or your passengers yelling about how uncomfortable they are. Doing any serious miles in the LMTV’s current state is as pleasant as dental work without anesthesia.
Thankfully, we went into this project with our eyes wide open, and none of this was a surprise. We grabbed as much Dynamat sound-deadening material as we could get our hands on to plaster everywhere inside the cab. Its installation would significantly quiet down the inside of what is essentially a tin can and help maintain our sanity on extended drives. Next, we yanked out the original seats to figure out a more comfortable solution. There is plenty of work to do inside our LMTV’s cab to make it a more livable space. Check out our latest video as we dive into some of its unique features and share our future plans for it. And follow our social media channels and subscribe to our YouTube page for further Oracle LMTV project updates as we get closer to its debut at the 2023 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.