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Area Report - April '12
As I write this at the end of March we are enjoying an unseasonably warm dry spell - the sort we could do with in summer when we are most active and enjoying our hobby. Well here’s hoping! By stark comparison the weather enjoyed or endured, depending on your view point, by our 20 ‘G.I.s’ during the Belgium MVT rally was as cold as -19c on the Saturday.

Ferried and trailed via Hull-Zeebrugge some 8 jeeps took part along with almost 200 other vehicles in this spectacular rally. Centred on Houfflaise in the Ardennes, the route takes in lots of open countryside, lanes and forest tracks across the Battle of the Bulge battleground. Brian says this was his 11th trip and he’s thoroughly enjoyed every one.

He adds “the BMVT are great hosts and certainly know how to organise a nice relaxing and enjoyable event which every year has included a visit to a different museum. Needless to say we had to spend some time in the bar getting warm at the end of each day!” Can’t fault that now can we? The photo was taken on the Sunday literally off road.

  Dare I say that Morris Commercials are definitely an acquired taste, and CDSWs particularly so? Risking life and limb, yes. However, we have two aficionados in the area in Mike Peacock and Chris Symth. No doubt most of you will have seen the spread in CMV about Mike’s CDSW when at the Ponderosa last year.

Well, I am pleased to report Chris has now acquired another of these very rare vehicles from deepest Norfolk where it has resided in barns for a great deal longer than it was ever in use. It is a real ‘project’ in that the original rear body is missing but most of everything else seems to be there. In Keith Jenkinson’s Book of Preserved Military Vehicles published in 1981 it is one of only 9 known at that time and is listed as an Artillery Tractor residing in Holt, Norfolk.

Chris is not sure yet whether it was built as a Bofors LAA Tractor or a Light Recovery, but intends to bring it to shows once running under its own power as ‘work in progress’. We wish him well with the rebuild. If you just happen to have any CDSW bits, or photos about these vehicles please ring him 07920 116136.

Another challenging project now belongs to Gordon Trousdale in the form of a Ford GP ( Government Passenger ). Only 3700 of these were built in 1941. Currently it is “a pile of bits” and a 4 to 5 year project. Gordon “the body is all there but needs repair as does the chassis. Axles, gearbox and transfer box seem ok but the engine ( Fergy tractor engines were used ) is in poor order”. Parts he says are very expensive but he seems quite sanguine about it. We wish him good luck and good hunting.
I was contacted earlier in the month by a lady from ITV Granada desperately looking for a Bedford RL and 2 Land Rovers for a film called Mrs Biggs which includes re created scenes of the Great Train Robbery of the 1960’s filmed on the East Lancs Railway. It will be shown in August.

RLs would appear to be surprisingly very thin on the ground. However, with Ivor’s help I was able to put her in touch with John Hanna, from East Yorkshire whose RL I had photographed at our show last year. They collected and used it for the film the same week!

Tim Benton and John Gray have both recently bought Harley-Davidsons. John’s WLA is an ex Greek army Lend Lease, demobbed in 1981 with one private owner since. Within a week of seeing it for sale John had been over to Germany with Terry Till to pick it up viewing a couple of private collections en route. He bought the Panniers from Poland! His sons Thomas and Matthew are following in dad’s footsteps each with a Jeep project whilst Thomas also has a replica Royal Enfield India 500 Bullet which he is back dating to look like a 50`s machine. For those wanting a GMC, the one in the background is for sale.
Tim says his 1942 WLC ( Canadian ) is ex British Army and was demobbed in 1948. Six owners since then have really looked after it. It has not been rebuilt or modified and is in very good condition. A friend viewed and rode it on his behalf in Southampton before Tim handed over the money electronically on his say so. They then met up at Stoneleigh so Tim could bring it home. He’s very happy and enjoying riding it whilst getting used to the different centre of gravity. 

I have volunteered to try and bring our website Members Vehicles pages up to date and had a purge in February. Websites are great if kept up to date, but virtually worthless if not. Our aim in the area is to maintain, with the invaluable help of our web master Steve Carr, the best Area website in the country which I believe we do have at the moment. You may be surprised to learn that of the 51 Areas listed 27 still do not have a website. Whilst a showcase for area vehicles it is an ideal media for articles, restoration tips, sales and wants and to list good firms who can provide parts and services that we all require from time to time. If you would like to contribute something please e-mail Steve or ring me.

I hope to meet a lot of you at our annual show - Elvington 25th-27th May 

Mike Humphreys.