|Date of first acceptance||August 1953||Total acceptances||6300+|
|Height over cupola||109.0"
|Width over track shrouds||128.5"
|Ground pressure, zero penetration||8.4psi
|.50cal TTHB MG||M13 cupola||2205 rounds
|+57° to -11°
|Infrared periscope M19 for driver|
|Rolled and cast homogeneous steel|
|Location||Thickness||Angle from vertical|
|Engine||Twin GMC Model 302; 6 cylinder, 4 cycle, inline gasoline|
|Torque||Net: 508 ft-lb@1800rpm
Gross: 530 ft-lb@1800rpm
|Transmission||Twin Hydramatic Model 301MG, 4 speeds forward, 1 reverse|
|Steering||Controlled differential, steering levers|
|Type||Road wheels||Track return rollers|
|Torsion bar||5 individually sprung dual/track||3 dual/track|
|Drive sprockets||Idlers||Shock absorbers||12-tooth front drive||Dual compensating at rear of track||On first and last road wheels/track|
|Center guide, single pin, steel with detachable rubber pad|
|Shoes/track||72||Ground contact length||121.25"
|Max level road speed||32mph
|Max water speed||4.3mph
|Max vertical obstacle||18"
|Min turning diameter||30'
|Max fording depth||Floats||Cruising range||~120mi, roads
The M59 was designed as a lower-cost alternative to the M75 armored infantry vehicle. The engines and transmissions of the M59 were in either sponson with the front of the engine facing to the rear of the vehicle, leaving the cargo and personnel area free. Troop access to the vehicle was through a large rear ramp which was fitted with an escape hatch, and through roof hatches over the passenger compartment. The escape hatch in vehicles F7 to F31 and F41 and after was a large door, while vehicles F32 through F40 had a smaller hatch installed in the rear ramp. Early vehicles with the large door had a vision port in the ramp offset to the vehicle's left, while those few with the small hatch had the vision port above the hatch in the middle of the ramp. Eventually, the vision port was deleted. M59s were amphibious, and a trim vane was located on the hull front slope. Vehicles F7 through F590 were fitted with Model 300MG Hydramatic transmissions. M59s F7 through F2941 also featured an M2HB .50cal machine gun in mount 7046650 that rotated around the commander's vision cupola. The commander's cupola on vehicles F1313 through F2941 sported periscopes instead of the earlier vision blocks. Late-production M59s were fitted with the M13 cupola, which was armed with an internally-mounted .50cal machine gun. The early cupolas produced a height of 102.6" (260.6cm), and the mid-production cupolas were 112.5" (285.8cm) tall. Vehicles lacking the M13 cupola could only stow 1470 rounds of .50cal ammunition.