In an efffort to ensure we have the correct military vehicles at the shows this year, FARG have purchased a sorry looking Delahaye VLRD. These were used throughout the Algerian war in support of mobile units.
This French registered example was advertised for some while on the internet and after an abortive visit to see the vehicle it was offered to us at a later date at a new knock-down price! We couldn't resist!
We purchased the vehicle and returned it to the west country, where a 'cosmetic' restoration will be completed ready for this years programme of historic re enactments. Perhaps it will be more fully restored in later years - projects allowing.
The vehicle is a military (and not civilian) type and after its life in the army it was pressed into service with a garage in France.
It may have served some time with the french fire service, but in its life it has been resprayed a few times (Yellow, red and light green) eventually it was cosmetically restored and a hard top added with oversize bumpers at the rear and front. It was finished off in bronze green with the seats and rear compartment emptied to make room for carrying engines! The front (extremely hard to get) lights were removed and citroen 2CV lights added on a ratchet system to allow them to be angled from inside the cab.
The large bumpers were actually a god-send as they stopped the fragile body being bashed to bits, and the oil from the carried engines leaked out and preserved the rear of the vehicle!.
The vehicle has now been stripped down and the 1960's 'addittions' promptly removed. The engine actually runs well and it has obviously been quite well maintained throughout its life. All data plates are present, and it actually sits on its original tyres!! so it at least calls for a 'static' display restoration, to educate the public on this wonderfully complicated and over designed replacement for the ageing Willys jeep.
As you probably know the contract with Delahaye to supply these jeeps was cancelled and this created a market for the Hotchkiss M201 to come along and fully replace it. To compare a Hotchkiss to this Delahaye is like comparing a Triumph Spitfire to a DeLorean !!
The vehcile is being resprayed and all the 'extras' of a military nature are being remanufactured and placed back on the vehicle. You can get parts but they can be pricey as they have to come from VLRDs being broken in France.
I will keep this blog up to date with progress - and pictures. To the right are some pictures of it in its original state..
Mail me if you know of any parts available or the location of any 'barn finds' as I am in desperate need of some simple, yet hard to get hold of spares!!