Doug's 'HEAVY METAL' GALLERY

 

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"Vehicle Specifics - What you need to know if you are a potential owner."

So you think you might want to buy a ......? In this section is a collection of my and other collectors' comments regarding different vehicles that someone might find for sale. Should anyone reading what is here wish to supply comment or ammend comments about a particular military vehicle then please send me an email.

Stalwart

- an amphibious truck with a top speed of around 40mph which was produced to fulfil a British Army post WW2 requirement for transport in Europe should a major war occur. The original design was a private venture and based on the Salamander/Saracen/Saladin chassis. Alvis had already produced an amphibious Salamander chassis for a South American customer. Alvis continued to progress this design privately as the Stalwart, thinking the military might have an application. Unknown to Alvis the British War Office produced a policy statement in 1959 for a high-mobility load carrier of 5 - 8 tons capacity, but they had a tracked vehicle in mind, Alvis offered the prototype to the War Office and in 1960 this was accepted. 

There was some resistance to the type by the establishment who kept to the tracked FV 431 proposal but the users in the shape of the Royal Armoured Corps were extremely interested. The trials were highly successful with the vehicle demonstrating its excellent cross-country performance being virtually equal to a tracked vehicle, it was shown to be highly mine resistant and capable of operating with up to two wheels blown off; the Staff Requirement covering it was released in 1961 for production deliveries to be in service by 1965 at the latest. In fact the type met this requirement and no development was necessary, the first 250 Mk 1 vehicles being produced until 1966 when the improved Mk 2 came into service. 

It was thought that WWIII would be fought as a massive tank battle in Europe and the subsequent loss of bridges again would be a severe handicap making amphibious transport essential. This concept, with the close of the cold war and the availability of heavy lift helicopters has now fallen from favour. 

The Stalwart was very successful being in service through the 60's, 70's and 80's, it was the benchmark for off-road performance often being used as a reference for later designs and the only vehicle ever in British service to be officially called "High Mobility". 

Stalwarts have no differential as such, there is an Alvis designed device called the "No-Spin" differential but this is a rather clever ratchet arrangement with a baulk-ring that just allows the outside wheels to overrun in a turn, off-road with any slippage all six are effectively solidly driven so if just one wheel has some grip the vehicle keeps moving. 

On the highway the ratchet "diff" makes for interesting driving as it "changes sides" causing the vehicle to proceed in a slow zig-zag with the driver counteracting the tendency and so making the device continually cycle side to side. Curved junctions are especially tricky as slowing to a halt the inside wheels give a lot of engine braking so little steering input is required, but pulling away the whole thing will try therefore to go straight on (being inside driven only). Richard says the multitude of roundabouts infesting the British roads are very interesting to negotiate. 

Sitting in the centre driving position also means visibility sideways and back is very restricted, the commanders left hand seat has a forward sprung backrest with a checker-plate step on the rear face to allow the commander to stand in the hatch and give directions. Richard tells me this is vital for sane road movement and very scary for laden swimming as the driver's line of sight is under water!!!

Ultimately 4 versions were produced: 

  • Mk 1 FV 620,
  • Mk 2 FV 622 truck,
  • FV623 Limber (the crane version)
  • FV 624 REME fitters vehicle

  • (FV 623 fitted with additional stabilising jacks and a more finely controlled crane for field engine replacements etc.) 

Richard provided the majority of the info above, should you want to know more as a prospective owner; email me and I will pass on your query to him.


 

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