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 York Crank Up April 14th
Reports by Stephen Carr & Mike Humphreys

I set off from Washington at 8.30am against a strong headwind. It was so strong at times, I struggled to hit 30 mph, and as a result of the extended journey time, I just missed the start of the convoy, passing them the wrong way on the A64.  I turned at the next junction, but only caught up with the huge queue of civillian cars turning off the A64, North onto the A19 into York. From there, I imagine my trip was much the same as the rest of the convoy, crawling along in a huge queue because of temporary traffic lights at some roadworks. 

Nearing the centre of York, I spotted a Jeep on the side of the road. It was Simon, hood up and spanners everywhere. It didn't take too long to find a slightly loose carburettor, which was sucking air at its gasket and messing up the mixture. Once it was nipped up again, we finished the trip to the castle, to find around 50 or so vehicles on display. Because of the wind strength, it took me almost 3/4 of a tank to get to York, but after filling up, the return trip was done on a little over 1/4 tank!

Stephen A. Carr

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Report by Mike Humphreys

Sunday 14th April was warm, dry and breezy for our annual Crank Up outside York Castle Museum. Chris Smyth is our man behind the event and over the years has developed a good working relationship with ‘the powers that be’ in York. For a number of people, including myself, the day involves a fair amount of driving on motorways and A roads to get there.

Those coming from the west convoy in from Tadcaster at 10.30 and make a suitable spectacle on the very busy A64 dual carriageway. Duncan Simpson on his BSA M20 filmed us from a bridge on the way in. 

Our route, as in previous years, was to enter York heading north off the A64 up the A19. Very unfortunately a thoughtless official had instituted temporary traffic lights at some very minor road works and not bothered to have someone there to alleviate the ensuing traffic jam.

It took us over half an hour to do the couple of miles. My jeep engine cut out on 3 occasions on this stretch but luckily Gordon Trousdale and Gary Docherty were on hand to tow me into the centre. 

Other breakdowns suffered en route were a head gasket failure in Hugo Hunter’s jeep and a loose carburettor on Simon Roberts’s jeep.  crank3.jpg (94674 bytes) I found the day went very quickly but did manage a chat with a few folks after receiving generous help from Chris, Gordon and Gary in analysing my problem which may simply have been the tick over being too slow on my new carburettor. Other things for me to improve were pointed out by them so I now have yet another to do list and more expense!
Anyway we had a good and varied turnout with MVT members also coming down from the North East and from the East coast. Steve Carr, from Washington, Tyne & Wear, in his FLYING CONTROL/FOLLOW ME black and white chequered jeep encountered a serious headwind which kept his speed down to 30mph.

Ian Anderson has given his Austin Tilly yet another new look, this time the more usual green camouflage, which really does suit it. Another Austin Tilly on show had been driven down from Newcastle by Tom Cummins who thought that no distance at all! A third Austin was parked on the grass. This, an immaculate 8HP militarised version of the 1939 tourer, is owned I believe by Geoff Simmonite, and joined us at Tadcaster along with several jeeps.

This group had formed its own mini convoy when they came across Chris Smyth en route from Otley in his Quad. John Hannah has also repainted his Bedford RL since it appeared in the TV film Mrs Biggs last year. It is now resplendent in post war gloss green.

Dave Reape arrived in a recently purchased Auto Union Munga. These field cars, used largely as radio vehicles, were built between 1955 and 1968. Dave says “It has a 2 stroke 897cc petrol engine and is 24 volts. The Dutch and the West German forces used them, as did the British Army in the Berlin Brigade.” A very smart Hillman RAF staff car and a lovely Willys M38A1 were parked nearby.
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Duncan’s smart BSA M20 496cc (500) was manufactured in 1945. He says “Going by the census number on the tank, which is correct, it came from the final contract and was most likely made on the last day of production. Production was immediately cancelled when Japan capitulated.

Nevertheless, it was delivered to the army and served with them until 1957 before being sold off at the BAOR Ayrshire Barracks in Monchengladbach.” He bought in 2011 and since then has spent some time putting things right!

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Bigger things took the form of 3 Reo’s owned by Dale Shipley, Nick Calvert and John Hufton and a 1964 Stalwart owned by Nic Clay from Thirsk. He had also brought along a piece of armour in the form of his 1967 FV 436. All vehicles were in excellent condition. An unusual sight was an immaculate Berna Olten 2 VM truck from the 1960’s with its’ very distinctive curved tilt.
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I saw this join us on the A64, but unfortunately I didn’t get to meet the owner after it had been parked up. Equally nice to see was a GMC 353 in US Navy light grey. This colour scheme does show the detail of the truck superbly. Another 6 wheeler parked up was Brandon Young’s Dodge WC 62.
crank45.jpg (95330 bytes) Gary Cottingham likes a different type of ‘green’ transport and favours BSA folding bikes as used by the Paras and is known to cycle long distances on them. Two were ‘parked’ up next to Graham Golders’ Dodge WC54 which he had driven from the east coast. crank15.jpg (98404 bytes)
I suspect that Ken Hanson’s trip also from the east coast at Flamborough had been somewhat more luxurious. He owns a 1997 Chevrolet Ambulance, previously a UN vehicle. In gloss white this stood out from the crowd. It is powered by a 6.5 litre engine and with very little modification has made an ideal camper. It even has lifting eyes to remove the rear body. The view under the bonnet is at the opposite end of the spectrum to that which most of us have to deal with and quite over facing.
Once everyone is parked up this is quite a social occasion with interested members of the public wandering amongst us asking questions. There’s plenty of time to have a wander into York for a bite to eat or do the tourist bit. 

Those with farthest to go leave around 3.00pm and I was amongst them. Last words from Chris “Overall the day was once again a huge success and with almost 60 vehicles attending the event remains the worlds largest one day drop in for military vehicles. 

Join us next year, perhaps even book a weekend in York, and enjoy this friendly event held in the heart of this historic city the foot of the Norman castle.”

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