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An Aussie M3 Stuart civilian dozer conversion. (Ver. 1)



M3 dozer named Gussie

From Tony Smith, Australia -
Owned for the past 20 odd years by a guy I know. When he got it it didn't have turret or upper armour, but did have a radial engine. This was "too fast for dozin'" so has been replaced with a perkins 6.354 and box. Plenty of reduction now! I've driven it and it doesn't seem too have a bad ride like you describe for your Stuart.
(Side comment from Doug - this may be due to it being operated on what looks to be nice pasture and soft soil. My Stuart behaved very differently off-road) Maybe cos the driving position is now over the centre of gravity? I've asked, but he's not interested in selling cos its too handy about the farm!

Doug's comment:
This is what I call a "bathtub tank" and I have seen quite a few over the years as this was the fate of most tanks that were not immediately scrapped once they were sold off in the big surplus sales.

As a generalisation: the vehicles were sold in dealer lots of 25, the dealers would then sell to individual buyers on site (not at all what the auction rules said) or from their own yards later on. Normally at the sales there was one particular family of scrap metal merchants who would offer to lift off the turrets with a crane for free (turrets represented just so much dead weight that had to be transported and then later removed) the new owner if he was lucky may have even got a small payment. This is why there is so few turrets still existing compared to the number of cut down hulls.

This vehicle is a better quality than normal conversion in that it has been done relatively neatly and not just a dozer blade has been fitted but also a backhoe with stabilisers and a safety cage for the operator and the deflector dam extending off the glacis plate. Note in the photos the almost total gutting of the interior, particularly the firewall for the re-engining. Unusual is the retention of the glacis plate.

Very typical of this type of conversion is the centred and elevated operator's seat (non-original) along with the extended and relocated controls.

Following receipt of Tony's email I queried some details, here is his response:
No the engine is no longer in his possesion.
Shortly after putting in the diesel, he traded it with a bloke he knew who was into old aircraft (Col, the owner is an ex RAAF fitter) for a collection of bits and pieces and cash, which he thought was worth more than what he originally paid for the M3!
I was originally told about Col years ago by a common aquaintance, who told me about this ex tank bulldozer that had an engine that shot flames everywhere! Col had taken the exhaust manifolds off in preparation for removing the engine , and apparently around dusk the engine looked like a catherine wheel as flames shot out of the exhaust ports!!!! I can only imagine what the noise would have been like.
He does have a large quantity of new track, (rubber pads looking a bit hard and perished, track pins very tight and rusty-But it is zero miles!)

10347 pic

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10348 pic

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10349 pic

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My thanks to Tony for the text and photos.

 

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