Le Jeep Francais Rebuild page 1

I've named this Le Jeep Francais (the French Jeep) not because it is a Hotchkiss (it isn't) but because the French got their hands on a 1944 US Jeep (as indicated by the chassis number) and hacked it around to fit their needs on a French farm. It is Dave Salisbury's latest project and was shipped over from France where a friend of Dave's had spotted it. Dave bought it without having seen it for the sum of 2000 Euros (£1200). The Jeep had been pushed into a barn in 1944, where it stayed until about 1960. At that point, to use Dave's words, the Jeep was Land Rovered by the addition of a tail gate and a multi point tow bracket. The engine is a McCormick diesel probably from a tractor. The fuel tank leaks, but should be repairable.

Dave will be doing the restoration with help from Jon Newbould at home. I hope his wife is understanding. Here are the first set of pictures from 20th February 2005; I will update this page as more photos are sent.

Progress report 20th May 2005. No additional photos but Le Jeep has had all the brake drums and back plates removed, stripped down, sand blasted then repainted. All new wheel cylinders have been fitted with small ones on the rear and large ones on the front. A new master cylinder was fitted, along with new brake pipes. The brakes were bled (thanks to Judy, the things our wives have to do). Dick Newbould (Jonny's dad) soldered the fuel tank. It's a little heavier than before but does not leak. The next job is to change the water hoses as they are looking a little old. The lights have been repaired so they all work now. Simon Bromley from the MVT came to check all the details and a letter has arrived confirming its age so that it can be registered with a correct age plate when it has an MOT. This will be done based on the chassis number until a registration number is allocated. All being well, the restoration will be completed for our Hornby event 2006. Fingers crossed.

Latest photos from Dave show the work that has gone into the engine. Jeep aficionados will recognise the bank of valve adjusters for the side valve engine, an odd place to find them when you are normally only used to overhead valves. I haven't quite worked out which cylinder the water pump is going to be placed in. I thought it lived on the front of the engine!! ;-)


Dave provided this description of the latest progress." The Vehicle has passed its MOT and is now on the road. Its top speed is 30 mph with a mpg of 60. It's so slow Iím thinking of putting a calendar in it instead of a speedo. The transfer gearbox is one which was made for use on French farms by a firm called Agrip, Iím told they now sell petrol. The bottom gear ratio is much larger so it gives a much lower gear in low, in lowtrans and in top on the normal box flat out you can walk past it. I think it will perform well on the balancing at Rawcliffe Hall. I have started doing the original engine up, the crank has been reground, mains and big ends, new shells fitted, a new liner fitted to one cylinder and new rings. Hardened valve seats to inlet and exhaust (exhaust seats worn) new valves were ground in. Flywheel was skimmed, also the cylinder head and inlet/exhaust manifold. New head studs fitted to all instead of bolts. It tends to tighten the head down better if you use studs. A new clutch pressure/ spinner plate and release bearing fitted. An M38 oil pump was also fitted The drive gear has to be changed on the pump because the M38 camshaft runs the other way, you need to put longer bolts to hold the pump to the engine because itís a bit bigger giving a better oil flow. New oil feed pipes are fitted and a new fuel pump. A little tip is to put slots in the heads of the fuel pump mounting bolts it makes it easier to get the bolts out if you have to change the pump later. The engine is all buttoned up now. 

The next job his to take the old one out and fit the new unit. That's after I take the tub off. Canít decide whether to fit a new tub or try to repair the old one."

Update 2nd May 2006 from Dave.

"The chassis has gone for sand blasting and painting The springs are waiting to have new bushes fitted The axles are cleaned off and have had new pinion oil seals fitted and have been painted US Navy grey. One of the bolts that holds the brake pipe to the diff housing has snapped off so I will have to drill and tap it. Tim had a tap to fit so that's the next job. The chassis will be back on Friday so it should start going back together. I bought the bundy tubing to do the brake pipes so that can be done this week before the chassis is back by using the old one as a sample. The fenders grill etc are going to the paint strippers and will be back shortly so things are going on well."

Update 11th March 2007.

The rebuild is going well and the undercoat is now on.

Update 27th March 2007. Dave has provided the following update, with a promise of some more pictures soon.

"The Jeep has now got it's fenders back on. The wiring loom has been fitted with a little alteration; I put the side lights in the headlights and used the black out side lights as the front flashers. I have put the rear flashers in the rear black out lamps. The next job is to put the trailer socket wires in. The Jeep had a Ford drivers seat in so I have swapped it for the seat out of Tim's Jeep which had an MB one in. Tim bent me a new front bumper on Friday so I hope to fit that this week. If it stays mild and warm I may get some parts painted. One of the next jobs is to sort the hood out, it has s dint in the top. You don't notice these till you put the top coat of paint on. A handy tip for fitting the rubbing strip on the top of the grill as it requires the bifurcated rivets legs bending over, having tried all sorts to do this a pair of tile cutters gave the best results. Hoping to have the seat cushions fitted this week and the half side doors fitted. Graham lent me a pair so that I can drill the body and fit the fastners. With a bit of luck we may be going to Hornby in it."

And here it is. It made it to Hornby in all its newly painted glory.

Final set of photos are now ready for adding.