• Austin Champ

Austin Champ

The Austin Champ is the civilian version of a British military off-road vehicle of the 50s and 60s. It was produced by the Austin Motor Company. The military version is officially Truck 1/4 Ton 4×4 CT.

Already in the late 1940s, during the Second World War, the British Army created a specification for a light truck, which leaned towards the American Willys MB Jeep. They wanted a vehicle manufactured in the UK to be not dependent on American jeeps and to save valuable foreign exchange.

The project "Car 4×4 5 cwt FV1800-Series" was begun in 1945. The automobile manufacturers Nuffield organization built three prototypes that were known as "Nuffield Gutty" or as "Morris Gutty". Subsequent tests revealed serious design flaws that should be addressed by a working group. It is noteworthy that the suspension system by Sir Alec Issigonis was developed, which later became known by the development of the Minis.

From this improved vehicle prototypes were produced by the Wolseley Motor Company, in turn, received the name "Wolseley Mudlark" (English for "slob").

Finally, the Austin Motor Company was awarded the contract to produce 15,000 cars and the first car left the production on September 1, 1951., The vehicle was given the formal designation "Truck 1/4 Ton 4×4 CT Austin Mk.1", where CT stands for Combat.

In order to allow some commercial success, Austin received permission to establish a simplified version for the civilian market, which was then sold under the name "Champ" and mainly exported.

Even with the commissioning of the Champ was clear that he was too expensive and too complicated despite outstanding off-road. Therefore, the contract was terminated prematurely with Austin. The first Land Rover was used even before the Champ of the Army. The Land Rover cost only about half of a Champ, but could afford almost the same. Ultimately, he replaced the Champ completely.

The Champ was used by the British Army in the United Kingdom, Africa, Germany and Cyprus, and came in the Suez crisis and the Korean War for use.

The Champ has never been so popular and famous as the Land Rover. The last military Champs were decommissioned in 1967.

Except for the British Army of Champ was only used by the Royal Marines, who possessed 30 pieces, and by the Australian Army, which bought 400 pieces.

The Champ has a four-seat, open cockpit tub of welded pressed steel parts, which is partially constructed self-supporting. The windshield can be folded forwards onto the bonnet. Links outside of the body is a blade attached to the outside right, a ax. The spare and replacement canisters are on the outside rear of the vehicle. The vehicle has a 91-liter fuel tank, which has a range of 700km (Radius 350km) possible. To adjust the Champ to specific tasks, were developed several on-and adapter kit.

While the early vehicles were still powered by a Rolls-Royce B40 four-cylinder gasoline engine with a displacement of 2,838 cm ², who later became an almost identical motor vehicles, which was made by Austin himself under license.

The transmission has five synchronized gears. The SUV for a quite unconventional power transmission takes place via a propeller shaft to the rear differential, in which even a small gear is integrated for the reverse gear. This design means that, theoretically at least, in all 5 courses can also be driven in reverse. From the rear differential, a long propeller shaft to the front differential. There may by a simple jaw clutch, the front axle can be switched to provide four wheel drive. The use of a conventional separate power divider has not been possible, because there is exactly at the point where in a conventional lead frame transfer case would have been mounted, the center of X-shaped vehicle frame. All four drive shafts are fitted with constant velocity joints, and the entire drive train is sealed water tight.

The suspension system is based on the longitudinal torsion bars built which produce the main spring action. The vehicle has independent suspension with double wishbone suspension at all four wheels. Each suspension is equipped with rubber pads and hydraulic shock absorbers. Overall, the suspension system provides an exceptionally good off-road driving behavior.

The engine and all electrical components are sealed watertight. When the normally located on the right fender, snorkel is raised, the vehicle reaches the exceptional wading depth of 2 meters.

Ware, Pat: The Quarter ton Utility in British Military Service 1941-1958: Ford & Willys Jeep, Austin Champ, Land Rover series 1, Verlag Warehouse (1996), ISBN 0952556324

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