Immediately following the Chevrolet gun tractor re-entering service in the operating fleet, the space in the workshop was filled by 'Milly', the AEC Matador Generator Truck. This vehicle was partially restored many years ago, but slipped down the queue and was placed in storage.
With just a few months until the Dig For Victory Show 2017, there was a distinct need for an outdoor stage to house bands and performers. What better vehicle could there be? So Milly was fired up, brought in to the workshop and given a thorough makeover. The paint was thankfully dry before it reached the showground!
As always this could not have been done without the dedication of the Shopland Collection's volunteers.
Milly has now become the latest addition to the operating fleet and is available for hire.
We have added a couple of military motorcycles to the light vehicle pages. Click on the images to go to their information page. Both of these bikes are in working order and available for hire and events!
Royal Enfield 'Flying Flea', owned by SC volunteer Harry Day and freshly overhauled.
The restoration of the 4.5" gun has entered the final phase at last!
With a great deal of persuasion, the barrel was fitted (in the rain no less).
This allowed the whole assembly to be wheeled back in to the workshop for the final bits to be added, including the vertical springs.
A couple of these springs are snapped and will require replacement, as will the leather covers. After another few coats of paint and a lot of details added, the gun was once again taken out, this time to make its debut at the Dig For Victory Show 2016.
The gun was hooked up to AEC Matador 'Avenger', and taken off to the North Somerset Showground....
... Where it managed to take in a few laps of the arena on both days!
The gun is now back in the shed to have the final touches added and kinks ironed out (the elevation gear needs freeing up a bit, and the firing mechanism fitted, as does the sight).
A huge leap forward for the Shopland Collection and a big void in the workshop!
No sooner was the 4.5" gun out of the workshop than a new vehicle was ready to fill the space.
In the Shopland Collection we've had this stalwart vehicle working for many years. It's lately been running erratically, famously conking out from fuel starvation in the DFVS Arena this year, and then a knocking big end meant it had to come out of the running fleet for a while, and cosmetically it needed some work.
It's a 1941 Chevrolet Field Artillery Tractor with the beetle back body. This example has been fitted with a Bedford 28hp engine at some point in its life, we believe it was used as a recovery truck in civilian life. The rear body had been cut in the middle to fit a recovery crane, and the two inner rear seats had been removed.
The engine was removed by our good friend Pete, and the yard forklift was used to push it into the workshop where the fun could begin. We took the opportunity to paint the floor in between the 4.5" gun leaving and the FAT arriving!
Taking the rear interior panel out made a lot of difference, and meant we could attack the inside and get some fresh paint in there.
Also time to clean up grotty hubs and axles and get some primer on there. Body was rubbed down and areas of rust dealt with using the wire brush whirlygig thing.
The rear door hinges were stubborn and needed some heat to get them working again.
First coat of primer on, and Rich is working on the roof hatch (the metal on the roof had rusted and the hatch was very porous and not really attached as a result).
Lots and lots of rubbing down, masking off, priming and painting followed. The door handles were given a freshening up and some oil.
The interior started to go green - we wanted to get plenty of paint in here as it would take a battering from kit etc.
Seats and other various parts were hung up to get painted.
Engine bay was masked off and first bit of green could go on while primer on other areas was finished.
The windscreens were rather rough but still strong. We didn't have time or facilities to completely rebuild them, so used rust treatment from landroverblogger.com which worked well.
Meanwhile, Pete finished rebuilding the big end with fresh bearings, and the engine was painted.
James, Herb and Pete spent a good few hours getting the engine over the axle and in (when it was removed, there was no sump which made it easier).
A few nice touches - black radiator and some brasso on the dash labels, and she was ready to go!
(well, there was a frantic evening of plumbing in on the engine, and lots of tweaking, but I was too busy to take photos for a change)
Finally, all was ready and hooked up to the 25-pounder for an important trip!
There's been a huge push on the gun in recent months, spearheaded by Paul and aided by all workshop team members. Here's what's been going on.
Work on the gun had more or less stalled while we concentrated on 'The Little Lady' and the Bedford. We were able to erect the gantry which was essential to being able to move these heavy components. At some point in its past life, the elevation gear had been welded together. The welds had to be cut carefully and the quadrant and recuperator freed off to allow it to be removed.
With the recuperator gone, we were able to shift the cradle from side to side using a 10 ton jack. It was extremely stiff. More components were freed off and the cradle could be pried from the carriage. A lot of grot and a rather horrible rats nest greeted us!
The bearings were removed, cleaned up, as well as the bearing surfaces, and the whole lot was needle gunned and painted.
Meanwhile, the extremely stiff leg was finally taken off (required the full force of the big jack, and the weight of the carriage itself!), flipped over and given some TLC.
This leg carries the wiring on the underside which operates the electronic brake solenoids. Once measured up, some suitable galvanised tube was fitted.
With the cradle re-mounted, and now able to be moved by hand, the traverse and elevation gear can be mounted, requiring lots of grease. The 3.7 AT prototype gun donated a traverse wheel.
In this process we discovered the ID plate showing that this gun was formerly E Sub.
A start could also be made on the barrel. The breech has been opened up, and the whole thing has been rubbed down and put into primer.
We're hoping to get this project completed this summer, so watch this space!