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Robin Craig's Ferret MK2/3
   (Ver 3)

 

Robin's vehicle and his experience in aquiring it.

Well, here is my logic and experiences for you, and some pics of my toy.
I am hourly paid welder living in town, so I have a space constriction right off the bat. I have had a love of afv's for years, and Land Rovers. So over the years knowing I had a trust fund that would be divided up one day I have dreamed for the longest time.

Well things finally got sorted out this year in the spring, so the hunt was on, with cash in hand. I anticipated spending about $20,000 CDN with plenty left over for incidentals in the first year. And money to invest the trade way aswell.

So back to the choice thing, was I going to get something practical or really impractical, well hell if its a toy it can be as impractical as you want...... WELL HOLD ON THERE SONNY!! Big error if you think this way....

Here's what I figured, first it has to be wheeled for me, I don't have lots of land, don't own a transport company with access to float trailers etc., don't have my own company with staff mechanics to work on my TOY in company time so tracks are out really, you can look great in a parade but what a sucker to truck about.

Honestly how far from home are you going to be going with your toy. Anything over about an hours drive you will probably want to float your wheeled vehicle if it is armour, trucks etc. are fine for long road moves but afv's are heavy on drive train wear etc. so un necccesary mileage will mean more maintenance, Oh yes don't forget this comes with the joys of ownership.... mileage equals maintenance regime........

This will be an investment you make in an afv so you will want to protect that investment by doing the proper maintenance, even more than the military did, cos you don't have spares galore and techs to support the beast, its you and you and you.....DONT forget this one, every one is your friend when it runs but when it don't and it is in your shed / shop you will be the one with bare knuckles spinning a wrench and reading the manuals. So get something that other people have in some numbers so the knowledge base is there for help from other owners.....

The availability of spares will be a consideration, are they around or can I rebuild the components? think of that one....

So for me because I am originally a brit, and because I like things that have been around in the 70's and 80's in military service that I could associate with, its street legal without modification, unique and very drive able I chose the Fox armoured reconnaissance vehicle. I was going to have to buy one from Britain and have it shipped over, so I started searching for one, I also have been introduced to Mr Carl Budge of AF Budge and locally a friend had bought a number of pieces from him plus I had been to his shop in the UK.

Coincidentally an old advert for a 1959 Daimler Ferret MK2/3 appeared under my nose. The ad was a couple of years old but I called the guy out of curiosity. Yes he had one for sale, one of three he had brought in, but the two had sold and he had kept the best one..................... BUT he had several other toys and there seemed to be some domestic pressure to move one of them along, could I call him back in a week or so, sure.

So during the next week I read every thing I could on Ferrets, found ads for them being sold, talked to buddy (Jeff) locally who had one and his chap (Jim) who maintained it and lived ferrets for the week, he is already a buddy of mine too.

So I called him back seven days later. He said yes it was for sale, we determined that it had come from Budge in the UK after army release, that's was good, some starting point. He faxed me details on the vehicle and kit that came with it, he wanted $18,000 with all the kit, brits call it CES, complete equipment schedule. That is costly and time consuming to acquire. This was a very complete unit.

So in the end there is only so much you can do until you have to go look and kick the tires and drive it. So on a Thursday night Jim and my 11 yr. old daughter and I set off overnight for a nine hour drive to meet the owner the next morning at 7 am. I figure that I will be buying this machine, there might be some haggling but I have a gut feeling I will be bringing it home, that in mind I contract a local (from here) float co to meet us down there at 0900 to be prepared to load by midday and come back, It is understood that if the deal falls through then im paying for a wasted float trip.

Jim and I are from a military background so things went well, we took tools with us and manuals borrowed from Jeff. We arrive with 2 1/2 hrs spare, as estimated so we kip in the mini van in a donut parking lot, have a coffee and donut and roll up at the appointed address at the appointed time, the owner is stunned at our promptness.

At this point it is raining and there is little hope that it will clear up until late in the day. We inspect the vehicle in the garage, the trouble light that we brought was invaluable. we open bevel boxes and inspect engine tranny and other fluids, showing to him that we know this sucker inside out, well Jim does I just play along knowing from the manuals. We had insisted that we be the ones to start it from cold, this was not to be warmed before we got there. As per the manuals Jim started it up. The six cylinder in line Rolls Royce motor makes you fall in love with the Ferret instantly, what a sound.... and the two speed generator changing gear, my oh my, I wanted this machine.

Since this was not the time to learn how to drive, I get into the turret and Jim drives us out into the rain for a test drive, he knows Jeff's machine and will know what to feel for. We go up and down through the pre select box, forward and reverse, emergency braking test, lock to lock steering, the works, In an open topped ferret in the rain, Im soaked but don't notice it one iota.

As we returned the float turned up on the dot of nine, again the seller was stunned by our organization. This was another piece of advice from Jim. If you want it, pay for it and scoop it there and then, Then you can never have any problems about things being dicked around in the time it takes you to come back to collect your prize as it were, see it, like it, test it, pay for it, truck it away theory.

Back at the garage ( yes a Ferret will fit through a standard garage door with the turret lid down) we park the Ferret and let it run as we check the CES all laid out before us, spares galore and kit including a deac 30cal (there is a whole other story on its own I don't want to repeat). So Jim gives me the verdict, seems ok runs good, maintenance is said to have been done but you KNOW that the first thing you will be doing is changing EVERY DAMN FLUID AND FILTER so you have a benchmark to run from for your own piece of mind.

We, Jim and I, had talked this moment through for the last long time. Go in preparation to buy but be ready and willing to WALK AWAY IF IT AINT RIGHT. If you cant accept this your heart will buy you a lemon if your not careful. BE WARNED. This was the best piece of advice I ever got from Jim.

So Jim steps aside and takes my daughter off while I conclude the fine tuning of the monies and I paid *&%*&&*%&% for it!!! Sorry that's my business guys!

So we box every thing up and load the mini van and load the Ferret onto the float.Its a kneeling trailer on a tractor unit so it goes very quick, the company is a slick operation, plus the owners are parents of one of my daughters friends, heck you need friends everywhere with an afv!

The owner and I then made a visit to the local provincial Licensing office to do the transfer of title. I want him there with me so if there is anything screwy then we can sort it out right there and then, I had made a provincial safety certificate a part of the sale, with a cover note from my insurance company in hand we exchange title. Back to his place.

We say one last good bye and take a hand over picture with the now beaming new owner still in the rain, Im running on adrenaline with 2 1/2 hrs sleep in 36 hrs!!!!

We agree on an RV point half way home with the truckie in case we get separated and head out in convoy, incredibly as we leave the town the rain stops and the clouds lift the sun comes out. Im ecstatic, here starts Ferret ownership!!

To this day I have not looked back, I wanted a Fox but I got a vehicle that was In Canada and had already been licensed in my province, not a big deal but its just another on of those things that can be a ball ache if you have hang ups. So far I have had great fun with my roadworthy vehicle and have given a lot of enjoyment to others including the vets.

Sure I have had problems but if you own an MV you have to accept that as part of it. In fact I have put more mileage on my Ferret than Jeff has on his in the last 3 years! Each to their own.....

Jim and I are available on a consulting basis to future ferret owners.........smile.



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My thanks to Robin for the text and Bruce Cole for the photo's.

Update:
The next photo is of me doing a freedom of the city parade with the Royal Canadian Dragoons in 2000, the guy up top is a veteran, we were in a large parade of Leopards and AVGPs and Coyotes and Grizzlys, great fun!
Picture credit, Canadian Forces.

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  This one is from a couple of years ago in the local Remembrance day parade, with the local Legion, the guy up top is a Korean war Sherman tank driver, he was dead chuffed.
Picture credit - Robin Craig collection, Steve Fochuk photographer.

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  Thats my daughter Thea up top, this was this summer at the Land Rover off road weekend (2001).

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