Willys Hotchkiss Jeeps
Willys Hotchkiss JeepsWillys Hotchkiss Jeeps
Diary
 

Final Panhard is nearing restoration completion.
04/04/2013
 

I have been storing a low miles Panhard (only 3500miles from new) for a 'slow burn' restoration and eventual exhibition on the show circuit.

It had had little use in the french army, with low miles on the drivetrain. It also retained it's original registration from the early 60's and had clearly not been rebuild or refurbished unlike the others that had been made available to me. (see earlier blogs)

It was remarkably intact, even down to the pile of unused ammo boxes (some still wrapped in paper) strewn around the turret. (see pictures)

It had unfortunately suffered from being stored for many years (inside) with the turret hatches open (giving it about 1/4 of an inch or dirt/ dust inside), and then had been moved to storage outside, causing the paint to fade and peel off in places as the weather started to take its toll.

The history of the vehicle is unknown, yet it had written instructions on the inside door about limiting its speed (due to running in the engine) indicating it had been issued to some unit. My suspicions are it was held in reserve for civil defence..

 Under the wheel arches I could find no trace of dirt, or grime and the paint was a good as new in any area not fully exposed to the elements.

It had been stored whilst outside with the rear hull bungs in place so had slowly filled up with standing water (about 1/2 an inch in the cockpit area).  You can see clearly in the pictures how this had left a dirty 'tide mark' of rust - this rust was fortunately from the handbrake cable -( which I easily snapped!) and not much else as the water hadn't risen any further to attack the brake master cylinder or fuel tank. (crisis averted, as a replacement fuel tank requires the turret to come off - if you can find one)

As per nearly all the Panhards that had been offered to me, it had been slightly shunted in the front and rear as they had pushed it around storage facilities, but this had been taken up not by the wings but the front and rear kit brackets - another saving grace.

It had a white label on the ouside of the side door that indicated it was sold at auction in 2006 in Douaines - near Lille, before it was bought up as a job lot for storage by a defence company in France (who I bought it from after 12 months of negotiations)

Considering the show season is nearly upon us - I felt it was time to 'reactivate' the old girl and get her ready for the show circuit.

The first job was to drain all oils and brake fluid, and replace with fresh. This was achieved with little hardship, and was followed by a lengthy regrease, gear oil change and removal of the front cockpit to clean out the rust staining.

The floor was repainted, two new batteries went in as well as an eletronic fuel pump and priming circuit, to aid start up (as there is no choke!) and to facilitate a safe 'wind down' by starving the engine of fuel before storage.

The fuel tanks were very clean, but a glass bowl fuel strainer and fuel pressure control valve were also installed to ensure a smooth and clean flow of fuel to the carb.

I decided to replace the air filters with the encased design ( I had removed from another panhard I had dismantled), as they have diposable filters, the originals compose of multiple felt pads that would be a nightmare to clean out when they get dirty.

The driveshaft guards were thoroughly cleaned of the years of grime and a new hand brake cable went in.  This can be fiddly as it passes under the fuel tank, but after a few hours jammed upside down with the turret basket facing backwards (to access the hadbrake!) it was tensioned and ready to go.

The gearstick was dragging and this turned out to be the linkages were clogged with dirt and dust.  Therefore the whole lever was cleaned front and back and all linkages given a good dose of grease.  It evetually slid back easily - you can see in the picture the 'electric' knob on the top of the gearshift - this is depressed and it throws the electronic clutch to aid gear changing.

The drivers seat went back in and it was ready for its first respray.

I sourced some dark green paint as sampled from under a decontamination bracket and after a thorough rub down - it received two healthy coats of satin green, and the external decals were retouched to give it a totally 'fresh look'.

Next are all the ancilleries, and making of a main armament for the turret - watch this space for more blogs.

PS Thanks to C.E from the FARG for his help sanding and painting over the last two days!

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