Doug's 'HEAVY METAL' GALLERY

 

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Richard's Stalwart (Stolly)

Richard knows what being a collector of ex-military vehicles is all about, here are some of his more notable comments.

In Richard's mother's words:

"Why can't you have a nice little car like everyone else?" and "I don't know when you children are EVER going to grow up."

In Richard's words:

"It is awfully hard to answer another ordinary person who stands next to 10½ tons of 6x6 amphibian (that might manage 4 mpg on a good day with petrol in England costing 3 per Imperial gallon) and shaking his head, says "What DO you want that for?"

"Well, as you know some people have to be reminded that its a hobby. I'll protect the rights of the jeep nuts to have exactly the correct size, shape and colour of brass rivet on their historically accurate.... and their right to discuss it interminably..... MV collectors are a pretty insignificant group in the general world and the public regard us as muppets, those I allude to above are looked on as sad muppets, this does need to be kept in mind. For 99.999 and 44/100ths of the people if you gave them an original jeep et al it'd be off down the scrapper quicker than..."

Richard considers himself very lucky to have acquired a Stolly of both the amphibian and crane variant -called FV 623- because only 117 were built. All Stalwarts had the swim gear removed in 1985 making a fully fitted one a rarity. Like so many ex-military vehicles it has passed through several hands, one of whom did significant damage to the wheel gearboxes by ignoring the maintenance requirements and employing a technically incompetent "professional" to work on the machine. Oil is a very important part of a Stolly and it does need a lot:

You will see some of the work necessary to rectify the damage in the photo's.

Entry to the cabin is by way of a roof hatch as there are no doors. Richard intends to modify the crane so that it is self-powered for an engine change and gearbox leak rectification. One wonders if this is also so he can lift himself into the drivers position in his latter years, much like the Knights of old use to be winched onto their battle horses because it was too hard to climb up.

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Just the way you don't want to start a restoration! This 1/3 of a Stolly is off a gunnery range. This is what the military uses our tax dollar for instead of selling the vehicles to re-coup some money. Even in this state the internals are often direct ex-workshops and virtually unused engines and transmissions can be found inside, the "tender" bevel boxes and wheel stations are rarely hit being low to the ground, together with being sealed many a new assembly is to be found.

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Richard's Stolly undergoing wheel station overhaul; note the size of the gear reduction hub and special crane needed to lift it out. Although usually viewed in horror the removal and re-work of wheel stations isn't that difficult once the essential tricks are known, the near 300lb weight of a hub/disc assembly is the first consideration.

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Richard's co-owner, Adie and partner Mercedes, playing with the Stolly crane. I wonder whether I should caption this photo "I will let you down dear, but only if you promise to do the dishes".