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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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).