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Steve's Flying Control Dodge WC51

My Dodge WC51 was built in 1944, rolling off the production line on August 11th. Based on the build date, the Dodge probably got to Europe in the late Fall of 1944. The wartime history is unknown, but after the war, it went to Norway, and served there up in the Arctic circle until 1995 when it was retired. It was bought by a Norwegian collector who then sold within Norway in 1999. This owner kept it until Rupert Fox bought it, and imported it to the North West UK in 2005.

He kept it olive drab for a few years before starting the 'Flying Control' conversion by painting it checkered. It appeared at Elvington in May 2008, still with the canvas rear body as seen here.
During the Elvington Show, I convinced Rupert that we should do an 'Airfield Conversion' on the rear body, in line with so many other converted airfield vehicles. The wooden panels were built onto the existing bows.
We built the wooden rear body with fold down sides for vision when driving and removable rear doors. The shuttering ply, rescued from a skip, had the right look about it for recycled packing crates.
Most of the body work is complete in this picture, and the sides are seen folded down in the driving position. The roof now needs the hole cutting for the observation dome.
The painting begins, a long job.
This is how the Dodge looked for the remainder of the 2008 season.
The Dodge remained like this for the following two years, until early August 2010, and it was then put up for sale. I couldn't let someone buy it and turn it back green, so bought it myself in mid August. 


The 'Flying Control' conversion is ongoing, but one of the first tasks was to add side and rear windows to the rear body for good visibility when driving. The spare wheel was moved from the drivers side to under a false floor in the rear body. This allowed doors to be built for the cab, a typical conversion for airfield vehicles. These help to keep the cold out, especially when my young daughter is travelling with us.

A shelf for radio equipment was added to the rear left of the body. On this is mounted a BC-375 Transmitter and two BC-348 Receivers. Below the radios, an additional tuner and signal corps speaker are mounted, while Signal lamps hang from the roof.

On the right side, there is a meteorological station, giving wind direction and speed, temperature, pressure and humidity and both GMT and Summer Time or Double Summer Time. Above on the side wall, there is a rack for signal flares and an M8 Pyrotechnic Pistol.

I fitted a 12 volt battery into the front left locker, charged from a 6v to 12v step up converter. This powers the lights and dials in the transmitter and receivers, so when switched on, they appear to come to life, despite the fact that many internal components are missing. While the radios don't work, I have a modern Air Band Radio which is wired into an amplifier and Signal Corps LS-3 loud speaker. This now gives me the impression of sounds of aircraft radio traffic coming through the radio system.
There are still further jobs to do inside the Dodge, but that's for another day.