My second M201, No. 22168 (1963)

Hotchkiss chassis No.   23815   (built in 1963)
Official army chassis No.   22168   (first issued in 1963)
Original registration No.   231 2131   (when first issued)
La Maltournée MALT No.   36410   (rebuilt by E.R.G.M)
Final registration No.   615 1771   (after rebuild in 1971)
It was never my intention to own a second jeep (the Delahaye VLR) let alone a third but in June 2004 I went up to see Steve at Dallas Autos to photograph a 106SR that he had in stock.  I went to get photos to show the detail of the 106SR modifications to use on this site but ended up, with my wife's encouragement, buying the jeep for restoration. There were two reasons really, it was complete apart from the gun and mounting and ,perhaps more important, it was about to be converted into a standard jeep for sale. The special fittings had already been stripped off it and piled into the back. It had to be rescued!
At Dallas I emptied the back and put the side seat & toolbox back in place for the first of the 106SR detail photos.   A few days later the jeep was on my drive, that's my wife Alison in the driving seat. A third jeep project had begun.

I don't know why but army vehicles always seem to look in much better condition than they really are in a photo. I guess its the advantage of a matt green finish. There were a lot of dents to deal with, a few areas of significant rust damage, and numerous splits in the body tub no doubt resulting from the punishment of carrying the heavy gun over rough terrain.

The bonnet, of Ford GPW origin complete with 'F' marking, was badly corroded on both sides and full of army workshop filler!   There were a number of stress fractures to deal with and the top coat of paint had been applied over wax used to preserve the jeep in storage.

For the most part the fact that the jeep had been in long term storage at some point and covered in wax meant that rust was limited to relatively few areas. It also meant that the top coat of paint could be removed with a power hose as the wax had not been effectively removed before repainting it. Getting rid of the wax (clearly visible in the photo) was to take many hours of hard work though.

Most parts were sound but with cracks, and in the case of the wing damage where the suspension had bottomed out.   My welding skills got better, aided by the purchase of a gasless MIG welder that was so much better than my stick welder for the thinner panels.

It was fortunate that the winter was the driest for a very long time as most of the work had to be carried out on my drive as the Delahaye was in the garage. Piece by piece the jeep was dismantled, the parts refurbished then stage by stage reassembled. I also managed to track down some 106mm practice shells in the states and get them shipped over but the hunt for the gun was still on.

Throughout the winter the Delahaye watched on as individual parts were restored in the limited spaces available in the workshop, the greenhouse and even in the kitchen!.   Markings from the jeeps past with the 8th Division were discovered. A lion rampant below the windscreen and this one over the rear wheel arch. Any ideas?

By Spring 2005 things were taking shape, the jeep was being put together again, and a gun with wheelbarrow mounting and even tools had been located in Norway. The shells had been refurbished, indicators fitted and the jeep was running well. It was insured, MOT tested and registering it meant driving it down to the DVLA in Portsmouth for inspection. My first drive in it on the road was on the M27!

It was now taking on the appearance of a complete 106SR but I decided to leave the gun off for the MOT test and inspection by the DVLA.   According to the army release papers it was first issued in 1958 so it was registered as 489 UXH and with the gun mounted ready for its first show.

Driving a 106SR takes a bit of getting used to! Restricted vision and the heavy load means taking care with cornering and breaking distances but it travels well and you soon get used to it. I managed to get both M201s to the first major show of the season at Horndean and again to the National MVT show at Kemble but getting all three jeeps to a show is rather more of a logistical challenge. I managed it though at Netley Marsh which meant missing Beltring this year but was worth it.

Both M201s at Horndean show June 2005.    All three jeeps at Netley Marsh show July 2005.

This all started with the quest for some photos of 106SR detail so my next task is to add this to the section on the 106SR (soon).