Classic Van Auction Talk

Thursday 22 November 2018

1954 AUSTIN CHAMP - BRIGHTWELLS AUCTIONS Leominster Classic Motoring Auction Centre Easters Court, Leominster, Herefordshire,HR6 0DE Wednesday 28th November 2018


Leominster Classic Motoring Auction Centre
Easters Court, Leominster, Herefordshire,HR6 0DE
Wednesday 28th November 2018

Colour: Green
Registration No: FUN 517D
Estimate: £6,000 - £7,000
Full Description
The Austin Champ came about in the late 1940s in response to an order from the British Army to develop an all-terrain vehicle comparable to the American Jeep. The first prototypes were tested in 1947 and production commenced in 1951.
Officially known as the ‘FV1801A Truck, ¼ ton, 4x4, CT, Austin MkI’, it featured an open four-seater tub made of pressed steel with fully independent suspension all round using torsion bars and double wishbones. Power came from a Rolls-Royce designed 2.8-litre four-cylinder engine mated to an all-synchromesh gearbox with five forward and five reverse gears – so it could theoretically achieve its maximum speed of 50mph going both forwards and backwards!
Both engine and ‘box were designed with absolute reliability as the prime target and were waterproofed so that the vehicle could operate in up to 6ft of water when the snorkel attached to the air cleaner was deployed. A 20-gallon fuel tank gave it a range of 300 miles.
Although it proved to have outstanding cross-country abilities, at £1,200 the Champ was far too expensive, and in the end, only around 12,000 of the 15,000 vehicles ordered were made. Its role was largely taken over by the Land-Rover which could perform 80% of its tasks at half the price with much simpler maintenance.
Dating from December 1954, this Champ has had just one civilian owner since it was demobbed from duty in 1966 and has remained with him since in Anglesey. Said to be in largely original order throughout, oozing patina, warts and all, it is said to run and drive but has seen little use in recent times and will doubtless benefit from a degree of recommissioning before entering service once more.
At the time of cataloguing, we had not seen either the vehicle or its documents and the number of FUN 517D does not show up on the DVLA system.


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