After a tip off of a Dodge in a barn on a private estate outside Paris - we were able to contact the owner and have him send some pictures across of the vehicle that he was considering parting with.
As we were talking with him, it transpired he was having it resprayed in olive drab and ready for a sale on the open market. Unfortunately it was too late to stop the cosmetic work, as we had hoped to gain it in its original French Army finish!!
In the pictures you can see the owner had used the dodge vigorously in the late 70's off road and then apparently drove it around paris as his daily drive for years! (he even got married in it! - well used it at the church)
Pictures (of poor quality to the right) of the vehicle in its early demob years in France. (owner smoking the pipe!)
After a discussion a deal was struck and we raced over with a modified heavy plant trailer to retrieve the vehicle.
We met up just outside paris on the owners estate where he had been using the dodge as a hack on his land since the 80's for shooting parties.
The Command Car was in remarkable condition (since the pictures he had sent filled me with dred to its condition after his 'off roading' antics.) and had not been cut about or modified too much from its original spec.
The chassis number indicated it was a command car but without winch. It seems the french gendarmarie (as it transpires) had added the winch in the 60's, changed the tyres (to the klebers still on it), added an electric windscreen motor and two electric fuel pumps. Apart from that it was all there, even with an original metal tag showing its voltage (12) and the date of delivery (1942). It seems the vehicle after US use had had a very sedate life as transport for the police and then auctioned off in the early 70's. Apparently they had also added two hideous spot lamps to the front of the vehicle - but I can't really see the reason why, unless they were chasing villians in forests off road at night!
The Dodge only just fitted on the trailer and it compressed the suspension completely - Looking back it may have been better to have transported it on our Lorry... but the crossing fee for a lorry is twice that of a 4x4 with trailer.. The Dodge squeezed on and we made the ferry back.. pictures to right.
Upon return to the uk I removed the french number plates and found the original french army markings - therefore this will help as we return it to its french army configuration for use just after the second world war..
I have also removed the large spot lamps and added back some extras that came with the truck, to bring it more closely back to its french specification..
Pictures to right of its state a few weeks ago - before we commence the restoration/ respray..you can see where I have tested the new green colour on the front grille...
The next blog will be examining the 'beast' and finding out what shape it is in mechanically.