Austin Champ.

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by legs-o-lead, May 19, 2010.

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  1. Anyone know anything about these ?

    My late Dad was in 3 Company Welsh Guards in the 50's, based in Port Said (?) in Egypt, when they were issued these vehicles for trial.

    My Dad didn't rate them at all.

    Anyone got any views ?

    Photos of the Old Man here... and no, I don't look half as handsome !
  2. They were prone to rolling if you cornered hard in them
  3. WN1-5086
    Condition: 7
    WO Reg: 50 BE 86
    Engine: 52953

    DiS: 7/1/54

    The Champ in question was Struck Off strength: Ruddington 1/11/63

    Sold: Ruddington 4/3/64 Lot 564

    Civ Reg:
    History: Cyprus late 50's possible 1st Bn West Yorkshire Regiment, 19th Inf Bde 3rd Inf Div.
    60 on green indicated senior inf bn in second inf bde in inf div.

    It was probably scrapped for parts as it looks like it never got registered as a road vehicle.

    They were very good cross country independent wishbone suspension and could cross a ploughed field at 30mph the first engines were Rolls Royce B40 and fully waterproofed, the whole vehicle was over engineered and that was its downfall as the land rover came along at a lot lower cost.
  4. A guy who runs a local bus company in Skegness (Lincs), runs around in one during the summer with the top down. He also runs a Stalwart converted to be a beach bus for the tourists!
  5. the_boy_syrup

    the_boy_syrup LE Book Reviewer

    I've got some stuff on them at home I'll try and dig it out for you if you want

    However IIRC it was designed to replace the Jeep but cost about 3 times the jeep and twice the cost of a Landrover
    They cost the Army and RM about £1200 each in 1949 before any extra mods for radios etc (or Fitted For Wireless as it would have been)
    The Landrover replaced it in the 50's as stated for half the price
    IIRC again early models had Rolls Royce engines which probably added to the cost also later ones had the RR engine built under license by Austin
    Bit of a white elephant only UK and Austrailia bought them
    Champ was the civvie name but they didn't sell many of them either

    Here you are he seems to know his stuff

    I seem to remember the Royal Marines operated air portable Citroen 2CV's in the late 50's and early 60's as a replacement for the Champ
  6. I recall they were prone to rolling over - but they did reverse like a rocket!
  7. I and many other members of my school CCF learned to drive in an Austin Champ - lapping the cricket field at speeds of ooh literally twenty-five mph!
  8. Britains Ltd did a die cast model of the Champ. I have one in my loft somewhere. It went with the "Swoppets" 54mm British infantry who had 58 pattern webbing and SLRs.
  9. "but they did reverse like a rocket! "

    As fast in reverse as forward I understand.

  10. Ah yes.. The Champ!

    THE classic example of what you get if you let a public design agency develop a mass market item!

    Meets all the extreme requirements whilst skating over the core ones..

    Able to driver underwater - tick!
    Maximum forward speed = Maximum reverse speed - tick!
    Fully suppressed and nuclear hardened electrics - tick!
    Multifuel (well sort of - will run on paraffin but smokes a bit!) - tick!
    Common spares with APC and Armd Car (Saracen-Saldin) - tick!

    Manufactured by filing down large lumps of metal by hand..


    Procurement cost 6 times as much as replacement (Willys Jeep)
    Maint costs high due to large number of "mil spec" spares.
    Insufficent top speed for road usage.
    Too much torque at low speed allowing idiot drivers to get themselves into dangerous situations.
    No concessions to crew comfort or safety whatsoever - you could give yourself a compound fracture changing gears and suffer exposure in June..

    Fabby vehicle though - as much fun as you can have with your clothes on...!
  11. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    I knew a chap in Germany that had 2. They are sold now but one of them was an experimental one with a Land Rover body on a Champ Chassis!
    Interesting chap, started rescuing and restoring them in the early 70's.
  12. Personally I felt they dug in better than a 'Rover and at double the price with fuel not a consideration easy to see why they were binned. !

    They were fun, though I have to say I never got past third gear in reverse! Too scary!
  13. I think that the Citroen was a 2CV variant called the Mehari. I think that some brave soul mounted a Carl Gustaf on one; or it could have been on a Mini Moke because both vehicles looked similar. I believe that one may have gone off the deck of HMS Bulwark but this may be an Urban Legend
  14. Apparently they actually mounted US 106mm recoilless rifles on them! Although the article I linked to be below mentions the 120mm MOBAT I can't see that being possible. Mini Mokes were tested but not used. Here is an article from Flight magazine in 1960 which shows a 2CV pick-up being carried a Whirlwind:

    They were replaced by lightweight 1/2 ton Land Rovers in 1969, earlier LRs couldn't be lifted by the RN helicopters of the day:
  15. Was the Austin Gypsy the civilian version?