A Carrier Recovered

Please have patience with the loading time of these photos!

UC Mk.I* Bogged Bogged. This remarkably complete Mk.I* carrier was found on a country property in southern Ontario. It had been used as a plaything by the children of the family, until one of them bellied into a soft spot at the base of a hill. After it had been sitting for almost 15 years, we discovered it through word-of-mouth and made a deal...

Halfway Out The challenge was to get it out without destroying too much of the owner's turf. We first broke the tracks, then applied about three days of shovelling and beer to the problem; no go. As you see it here, it was free from its prison, but utterly immobile due to the softness of the surrounding ground. 

Interestingly enough, that portion of track which had been buried in mud was really good, while the rest, exposed to many seasons of air, rain and snow, was seized solid.

Unstuck! A revelation! Amazing what a winch can do. We hired a guy with a tilt 'n load to back into the site. He left disconcerting deep ruts in the owner's lawn, but there was no choice. Imagine our feelings on seeing it start to move again, after 15 years of being entombed.

She Rolls Again Up the ramp. Wow. We knew at that instant that this old warhorse would ride again. All roadwheels rolled freely, but the steering was locked solid. Who cares!!??

Awaiting Attention Re-tracked and awaiting restoration. Beside it sits a Mk.II* subsequently sold to finance this restoration. 

Packed for Shipment Packed up and ready to move to its new locale. Note the interim paint job; we have to dream, even if we can't restore at that moment! And Tremclad works wonders...

Disassembled Down and dirty. Garaged and stripped, the carrier some years later is in the process of restoration. Everything was stripped out of the hull, the hull sandblasted, and all reassembled a bit at a time. While shortcuts in the process are possible, this vehicle deserved no less than a complete rebuild. On completion it was basically factory-new.

Coming Together The driver's compartment halfway through the process. Once the steering gear and its attendant bearings and yokes are in, all else can be added a piece at a time. Restoration is invariably a slow process, but infinitely satisfying to anyone with an eye for detail. The key is to be well-prepared in advance, and to follow your action plan. Don't cut any corners unless you have no choice!

The Engine is In The original engine has been rebuilt and is finally installed. Canadian Ford engines are very tricky, in that they have a unique bearing arrangement. Much better to convert to the period American flathead crank, rods and bearings. All exterior components are either available or rebuildable.

How NOT to Load a Carrier (1) How NOT to ship your freshly-rebuilt Universal Carrier.

In advance of a military parade, a local military unit had sent over a float; unfortunately, once the carrier was driven ON to the float, it started to slide. The roadbed was slightly angled. What you see here was the result. No damage except to ego, a cracked generator bracket and some fouled plugs.

Two things come to mind... first, it's damned lucky it didn't roll over all the way - Bruce was in the driver's seat the whole time. Secondly, it would have made for an interesting scenario had it landed on the hydrant...

How NOT to Load a Carrier (2) Despair. All that work... and a lesson learned. Beware steel track! Not only is it deadly on canted float decks, but also on concrete or asphalt. 

How NOT to Load a Carrier (3) On its way down. What a sobering experience! After a few hours of maintenance and reflection, the carrier was rolling again, in support of a veterans' parade and display. Please see here for more pics of this restored-and-operational carrier.

13 Feb 00 Back to Restorations
Forward to the Fox A/C

Copyright © Geoff Winnington-Ball , 1999 - All Rights Reserved