Willys Hotchkiss Jeeps
Willys Hotchkiss JeepsWillys Hotchkiss Jeeps

Panhard - out and about..

Test drive over - its been time to learn how to drive, all over again!

4.5 tonnes - drum brakes - high revving engine - no clutch and 8 gears.. what a challenge..

First impressions.  Its hard to get in the driving seat, I guess the vehicle was designed for 17 year olds. Well young conscripts actually.. a well proportioned 30+ years man probably wasn't in scope..

Turn on the battery isolator switch.  Then turn the ignition.  I have an electrical fuel pump so this cuts in.

The red light is on the dash.  Hit the starter buttion and the engine turns over.  You need give a pump on the accelarator and it catches after about 4 turns.  The engine catches and you can rev slightly. The red light goes out as the oil pressure reaches the optimum level.  If it doesn't time to cut the engine off!

The gearbox is horizontal running from left to right. The gear choices are to the top and below the neutral,  Reverse is to the  far left then work across.1 -2 -3 and then you get a second 3rd, then 4 - 5 -6.  The first three gears are low range the gears 3 - 6 are high range.  You shouldn't really block change through the box, but work all the way up. Remember there are two third gears!

Ok so the engine running - choose 3 as its a slightly downhill start.

Handbrake comes off and the vehicle rolls forward. You select gear and then rev the engine.  It engages and the vehicle lurches forward. The steering wheel is basically against  your chest and there are a lot of turns to get to full lock - about three turns.  The steering is easy when moving but stationary its a challenge.

Ok you build up speed, then you hit the top of the gearstick - this engages the clutch.  You move into neutral and then hit the top of the gearstick again - basically double de-clutching.  It moves easily into 4th gear - you then rev the engine and it engages` the next gear.  Basically during gearchange you must back off the gas.

Its really hard as you automatically depress the pedal under your left foot which is the brake! It is not the clutch, but restraining yourself is hard.!

The next gear is engaged and the cool air rushes in through the open hatch to cool the interior as speed builds up. The engine is hot and the vehicle builds up heat -wise so the new air is a welcome change!

At the current speed steering now become quite sensitive.  Time to apply the brakes. These go on at the front to start with and as you press harder the rear cut in.  It does stop smartly considering the weight and speed.

You do not need to bring the vehicle to neautral when stopping - the gearbox naturally disengages.  You then hit the top of the gearstick and push into neutral (if you can find it!)

'Jose' still needs some fettling and will be returned to the workshop now.. ..

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