My project.. Airborne Jeep

1941 - 1945, MB, GPW Technical questions and discussions, regarding anything related to the WWII jeep.
Echidna
G-Sergeant
G-Sergeant
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2009 5:33 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

My project.. Airborne Jeep

Post by Echidna » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:44 am

Hello to everyone, with so many great projects listed on this Forum, it is time for me to bring my project into the spotlight.

My journey with jeeps started when i was 17, and I purchased a hardcover book of WW2 jeeps. Inside there were a range of black and white photos of various MB and GPW jeeps in all theatres of war. While each photo told a special story, it was the photos of a prototype Airborne jeep that really grabbed me.

Many people will have seen Airborne jeeps, and they are very popular with restorers and Re-enactors alike. However, they are based on late war conversions of either MB or GPW models and feature removable steering wheels and other mods.

The Airborne jeep featured in the book was one specifically developed early in the war for smaller gliders. The UK MOD modified a couple of MBs, shortening the chassis and undertaking major modifications of the tub.

Image

This image gives you some idea of the modifications carried out. The front cross member is inverted, the chassis is modified and shortened, and the radiator has been dropped lower in the chassis.

Image

This image gives you an idea of the changes to the tub, the windscreen, seating and canvas.

Image

Here you can see the major modifications to the engine bay. The battery has been relocated to the firewall, the oil bypass filter is relocated from the block to driver's side of the firewall. The Air Cleaner is located forward, and the radiator is lower in the chassis with a new shroud and pipes.

OK, having seen the photos, and having fallen for the design, where do you find one?? There have been a few articles on the early Airborne jeep prototype. It was understood that only two models were ever made. As with many great ideas, the need for such a significantly modified jeep was sidelined by improved glider designs that could take a full sized jeep.

The prototype survived the war, and would have been sold off as excess to requirement. It was photographed after the war (1948) with civilian tags and registration. Where is it now? no one is sure.

Jump forward some 30 years, and I was able to purchase a sad looking MB project and decided that instead of going down the standard route of restoring a MB, why not build a prototype Airborne jeep.

Sounds easy, but with only a few photographs and no drawings, where do you start? Slowly, is the best guidance I can offer.

Image

After a couple of years work, I had completed the chassis modifications. The rails were shortened, the front cross member flipped over and the many other modifications completed. All the work was decided by looking at a small group of photos and extrapolating the changes and the measurements.

I had the chassis at a point where the body and tub modifications could be commenced. This is where my skills, which had been up to the task with the drive train and chassis work, where not up to the task when it comes to major body surgery.

I was fortunate to be a member of the VMVC and seen the great body work undertaken by Simon Allen building Command Car bodies, Slat Grill and GPW tubs. I spoke to Simon to gauge his interest to build a 'one off' Airborne body. Simon was wrapped, and jumped into the project.

We travelled up to Castlemaine, WW2 body and tub Mecca, and the location of Simon's business. With the help of Simon, John, and Bill, we rolled the chassis into the shed, and set up a Mac Laptop and projector and flashed the image of the Nuttfield Organisation prototype.

With a full sized image on the wall, and the modified chassis to compare to, Simon started the process of establishing a datum line and making measurements of the panels, frame, and other parts so we could make decisions on how the panels were constructed originally. This is where Simon's knowledge comes into its own. While we would all stand around and make a few guesses, Simon is a fully qualified Coachbuilder, who could look at the photos and work out how a 'real' metal man would have attempted the project back in 1943.

Image

Here is one of the first photos after Simon took over the project. The first panels have been folded and are held together with clamps and screws. You can finally start to see the Nutfield Airborne Jeep take shape again, some 68 years after the original prototype was made.

Image

Another Week 1 photo showing the detail of the inner wheel guards. While the standard body and much larger rear wheel wells with tool boxes, the Nuffield Airborne did not have the option of flat fenders. There are some braces across the tub to assist keeping everything square.

Image

The scuttle is significantly different from the original that it needed to be made from scratch. The overall height has been reduced, as well as major modifications to the firewall.

Image

Good view from the rear quarter giving some idea if the differences in this tub to a standard tub. The pintle hook is fully enclosed in the rear panel, and the narrowed tub required external fenders for the rear wheels.

Image

Jumping forward to Week Three, Simon has completed most of the tub, modified the front Fenders, and prepared the scuttle. You can see more of the detail of the rear of the tub and how the smaller tub is shaped.

Image

Here is the dash panel. All the standard gauges are in place, just positioned in a slightly different position in the shorter dash panel. There is no glove box.

Image

Good view of the rear end of the tub and chassis. you can see the shortened chassis and spring packs, the relocated pintle hook and the narrow tub.

Image

Not a lot of original metal is carried over from the donor tub. We have used MB front fenders and Transmission tunnel. The fenders are shorter than the originals.

Image

Here is a great view of the tub inverted. Here you can see the differences in the Hat Channels and firewall.

Image

You can really get an idea of how narrow the rear of the tub is when you look at the front of the tub (normal width) to the rear of the tub. The original designers did not have the luxury of the 'generous' dimensions being carried over to the Airborne version. The specifications for the glider must have been very challenging.

Image

This is where you get to see the real skill Simon brings to the project. All of the complex changes to the original design where considered, what would Nuffield have done? Simon was able to make recommendations based on his experience on other Mil Vehicles, as well as his own research into Brit vehicles and techniques used in the 1940s.

Image

Here is the tub sitting on a few milk crates, lots of detail of the firewall.

Image

About time for the tub to rejoin the chassis. This photo gives you an idea of the modifications to the chassis, the new grill (not with the Ford inspired slots) and the the headlight locations. You should have noticed that only one headlight was fitted to the prototype in 1943 and a Bridge Plate was fitted over the curb side headlight location.

Image

This view gives you some of the details of the engine bay, faithfully reproduced from the original. The new metal is obvious in this view.

Image

Well, I'll hold the update at this point. Simon is currently away in the US at the MVPA Conference, and will be back soon. It is amazing to see what has been achieved. My original goal was adventurous - building a replica of a 'one off' Nuffield Airborne Jeep. Three plus years have passed since I started the original work, and it is just amazing what has been achieved to date.

I'll provide another update in a few weeks, Simon will have finished the tub and it will be time to bring her home and start painting and fitting out the tub. Stand by for the rebirth of the Nuffield Airborne.
Last edited by Echidna on Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:51 pm, edited 10 times in total.
If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.


Jan 43 Willys MB207450
Jan 44 Willys MB299465
May44 Kubelwagon 2-038 026
43 Willys MBT
43 Bantam trailer


User avatar
hell-fire
G-Major General
G-Major General
Posts: 3404
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:06 am
Location:

Re: My project.. Airborne Jeep

Post by hell-fire » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:02 am

Very Interesting project & yours is looking good :wink:
John
Australia
Member VMVC #192
1942 Willys MB-BRT 135673 D.O.D. 4-16-42 Now 97% finished
Image

Ian Fawbert
G-Major General
G-Major General
Posts: 3477
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2002 4:54 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia.
Contact:

Re: My project.. Airborne Jeep

Post by Ian Fawbert » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:03 am

You tease! C'mon mate, put some real life pics up!!!! I almost spat my dinner out when i saw your thread.

However, thankyou for putting the pics up of what it is meant to look like- i had only ever seen the first shot you showed, so it is great to see the other angles and details.

Cheers,
Ian (and Em).
Australian Jeep Investigator
MB: 131175
GPW: 11730.
GPW: 225290.
Aust trailer: GMH 3- #211
http://www.vintageengines.net

Echidna
G-Sergeant
G-Sergeant
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2009 5:33 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: My project.. Airborne Jeep

Post by Echidna » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:09 am

hold ya hats, I am writing the article in sections using a ghost writer. He tells me he is working hard from a secret location in Brisbane, Keep refreshing your page.
If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.


Jan 43 Willys MB207450
Jan 44 Willys MB299465
May44 Kubelwagon 2-038 026
43 Willys MBT
43 Bantam trailer

User avatar
ElwoodJayBlues
Bluesman of the Gee
Posts: 4992
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:18 am
Location: Aschaffenburg- Germany
Contact:

Re: My project.. Airborne Jeep

Post by ElwoodJayBlues » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:33 am

I hope you can hear the applause I'm giving right now?

*clapclapclap*

Cool! I thought about this project, too!
Go on, post pictures!
MB 134202, stamped grill, script back
"Lili Marlene"

"Vor der Kaserne, vor dem großen Tor..."

User avatar
wjohn
LTCOL, RA Sigs
LTCOL, RA Sigs
Posts: 8012
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:23 pm
Location: Country Victoria, Australia

Re: My project.. Airborne Jeep

Post by wjohn » Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:10 am

Andrew,

Congratulations on a great project. Restoring a ww2 jeep is one thing, building a replica of a one of prototype is amazing. Well Done!!!!

John.
GPW 204556
USA 20536862

MB371922
ACM2 Tub 23298

MB130849
ARN: 79731
DOD 26 Mar 1942

Bill M
MechTech
Posts: 3855
Joined: Sat Dec 14, 2002 2:07 am
Location: The Workshop

Re: My project.. Airborne Jeep

Post by Bill M » Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:48 am

Looking good mate! This little Hottie is going to be a bundle of fun :)
cheers
Bill.
Member of G503 since 1999


GPW-178721 Under restoration.

Chris F
G-Staff Sergeant
G-Staff Sergeant
Posts: 50
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:56 pm
Location:

Re: My project.. Airborne Jeep

Post by Chris F » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:13 pm

Great project! But do you mean the nuffield organisation? That much later became British Leyland Oxford? Carry on the good work as a newcomer to this madness i had not seen or heard of this prototype before,Loking forward to the finished photo's.

Echidna
G-Sergeant
G-Sergeant
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2009 5:33 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: My project.. Airborne Jeep

Post by Echidna » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:52 pm

Chris F wrote:Great project! But do you mean the nuffield organisation? That much later became British Leyland Oxford? Carry on the good work as a newcomer to this madness i had not seen or heard of this prototype before,Loking forward to the finished photo's.
thanks, the typo has been corrected - Nuffield it is.
If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.


Jan 43 Willys MB207450
Jan 44 Willys MB299465
May44 Kubelwagon 2-038 026
43 Willys MBT
43 Bantam trailer

Mike Kelly
Sergeant Major of the Gee
Sergeant Major of the Gee
Posts: 329
Joined: Tue Feb 25, 2003 9:00 am
Location: Australia

Re: My project.. Airborne Jeep

Post by Mike Kelly » Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:25 pm

You need to find Wheels and Traks mag..No. 50 an article on the NUFFIELD Jeep and a few pics of replicas built in the UK

MIKE
visit the Morris Commercial military website at: www.geocities.com/vk3cz

Ian Fawbert
G-Major General
G-Major General
Posts: 3477
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2002 4:54 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia.
Contact:

Re: My project.. Airborne Jeep

Post by Ian Fawbert » Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:04 am

Andrew, that is awesome. Absolutely awesome.

Well done mate and congratulations for having the grit to start this project and especially to finish it- it looks ooh so close!

Cheers and cant wait to see it in person.

Ian.
Australian Jeep Investigator
MB: 131175
GPW: 11730.
GPW: 225290.
Aust trailer: GMH 3- #211
http://www.vintageengines.net

thidisbogus
G-Major General
G-Major General
Posts: 3142
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:49 pm
Location: Magnolia, Texas
Contact:

Re: My project.. Airborne Jeep

Post by thidisbogus » Sun Aug 07, 2011 7:03 pm

Very interesting project and very good work. Post some more pics when you can...

MONTIE
G-Sergeant First Class
G-Sergeant First Class
Posts: 76
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 6:31 pm
Location: MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA

Re: My project.. Airborne Jeep

Post by MONTIE » Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:09 am

Great to see your Herculeon efforts coming to fruition- what a marvellous job.
The workmanship looks excellant - can't wait to see the final result - perhaps
next ANZAC DAY -or before! Congratulations. Montie.

User avatar
Nikko
G-Brigadier General
G-Brigadier General
Posts: 2141
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:01 am
Location: Oslo Norway
Contact:

Re: My project.. Airborne Jeep

Post by Nikko » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:15 am

Hi Andrew

What a terrific project you got there i have never seen bodywork like that before from scratch :D
and i have read the post several times and looked att the pictures GREAT
Keep us updated on this great project and with friends with all the skills and a great workshop 8)



Cheers From The North
Nikko
1943 GPW 135099
1949 Spen 1/4 t trailer S/N 158
and a lot of nuts and bolts :-)

User avatar
wjohn
LTCOL, RA Sigs
LTCOL, RA Sigs
Posts: 8012
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:23 pm
Location: Country Victoria, Australia

Re: My project.. Airborne Jeep

Post by wjohn » Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:11 am

It is Friday, it must be time for an update. I know for one, I can't wait......

I wonder what the progress has been this week?
GPW 204556
USA 20536862

MB371922
ACM2 Tub 23298

MB130849
ARN: 79731
DOD 26 Mar 1942


Post Reply

Return to “MB GPW Technical Knowledge Base”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: JAB, Jackrabbit, Mendeman, RobertEarl, YLG80 and 14 guests