1955 Austin Champ

The Rolls-Royce of Jeeps; one of a batch originally sent for trial by the Australian Army; museum displayed ever since; a proper time capsule
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!

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.

This particular Champ is believed to have been shipped off to Australia very early on in its life, most likely straight from the factory. It was to be tried and tested by the Australian Army to check its suitability for military service. Unfortunately, although probably a very effective military machine, the Oz Army, along with the British military had one other option, which was considerably cheaper, the Land Rover.

Life with the military was short lived for all the Champs in the end, with almost all in civilian hands by 1968. This one was passed on to a museum in Australia where it has been cared for, for most of its life. Believed to have never been welded and presenting very well, it still has the pickaxe and shovel where they should be, The engine bay appears to be immaculate and paintwork equally so. One might like to invest in a spare jerry can if thinking of travelling more than about 200 miles but what a fun 200 miles it could be.

In 2018, the car was shipped back to the UK and it was soon registered on the non-transferable number 263 XVE. We have briefly driven it while in our care for photographs etc but bidders should be advised that as it has not been used regularly at all in its life, it may well need a thorough service and to familiarise ones self with all the knobs and levers, especially if you fancy flooring it to 50mph in reverse!

The Rolls-Royce of Jeeps is offered here and one that could be enjoyed in the fields, whether put to work or shown off at shows.

Further information - [email protected]

Reg No: 263XVE
Chassis Number: 16028
Engine Number: N/K
Engine Size: 2838cc

Estimate: £8,000+

Lot 119

Lot ended

Monday 17/05/2021

Hammer Price (inc. buyers premium)

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