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Great War truck

1918 Liberty B

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I was very lucky to examine and have a play with a newly imported US Liberty B truck. Apart from the missing bodywork the truck is in super condition and will not need a lot doing to it:

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It needs a new seat!

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Tow hitch did not look correct. I need to compare it to another one:

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Mileometer in the hub:

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It has a sprag behind the axle:

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Massive sprocket on the rear wheel so I wonder if this is off something else:

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What a beauty! It would be great to have it restored internally, mechanically. And just a little touch and few parts added to the exterior. Looks great the way it is!

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Nice set of photos of what looks like a nice straight unit. I wonder how it was put to use over the past - well, near 100 years? Nice cog on rear right. We used to have a light truck with something similar that drove a "super"-spreader (fertiliser). But there is no sign of rust, so it seems unlikely the cog was used for that function. ?? Robert

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What a great truck. The sprocket is not for roller chain but for the cast link chain that was popular for agricultural machinery (different shape teeth). That would agree with the idea that it is for some sort of machinery like a spreader that needs to be driven as the truck moves forward. I assume there is only the one on the RH side and not the LH side?

 

I wonder how many gateposts and other things the milometer has collected over the years. It must produce a fairly violent effect on the steering wheel if you catch something with it.

 

I like the repair to the right front tyre which has been tied onto the wheel with wire to stop it falling off. Would that be an MOT fail I wonder :D.

 

David

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The 'new' Liberty' looks good, a very interesting design concept with some 163 companies being involved in production of parts and other well known manufacturers such as Pierce-Arrow only assembling them. From drawing board to a running truck in four months, quite an achievement, close on 10000 being produced by November 1918. Well advanced in design with detachable cylinder heads, provision for electric start ( although not fitted as standard) ,central gear change etc. ( at the time Austin were still producing a lorry with separate cylinders and T head valve arrangement!) .Also an engine of about 58 hp was a good 50% up on most British built WW1 lorries. I believe the mark 1 had wooden wheels and electric lighting whereas the mark 2 had cast steel wheel and oil lights. apparently there was a problem with the electric lights in the black out !.

Picture herewith of one we restored for a customer several years ago and a contemporary advertisement for war surplus trucks etc. Compared with other trucks few were sold here as war surplus but some found a much extended working life in the travelling fun fair business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liberty 2.jpg

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Richard Peskett.

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What a fantastic truck! Here it is in its previous life across the pond. I like the low loader as well.

 

Liberty B with lowloader.jpg

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Wow, that's a good looking truck, i'm jealous.

I have Original US uniforms from 1918, just not a truck from that era. :cry:

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Also an engine of about 58 hp was a good 50% up on most British built WW1 lorries

 

Is it possible that British manufacturers were quoting "RAC" HP and the US manufacturers were quoting dyno HP?

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Very nice. The rear axle/diff is a Timkin as used in Brockway and other USA makes well into the late 20's. What make is the motor, and is there any indication of which manufacturer put this one together.

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What a great find and having the truck going is a big plus, i'm pretty sure this is a series one but has a series two rad, oil filler castings for springs are angled and electric lighting says series one, as stated not sure if the pintle is correct, the ones I have seen are quiet large and mount differently, Tim, if you haven't allready? put your mate onto Adrian in the US, hes done a lot of research into series one especially as you know he has a complete truck,

mike.

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You may have seen Careys recent introduction here:

http://hmvf.co.uk/forumvb/showthread.php?45855-steelman

He is another WW1 Liberty B restorer and if my calculations are correct I can think of six under restoration at the moment. Rather than having a number of threads I thought I might bring photos of all of them together here. So far there has been Ian Morgans Liberty and the one restored by Richard Peskett (which might now reside in Bridgnorth?).

So as to add to the story this is what Careys Liberty looked like when it came up for sale on E Bay:

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Hopefully he will be able to add some more photos at some stage. Another one is under restoration is at the Big Red One museum at Cantigny. I think they have a second one to restore when this one is completed. Here is the first:

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Another example under restoration belongs to Adrian Winget also in Virginia:

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My understanding is that these two Liberty trucks in France were purchased in order to make one good one. The wreck providing the wheels:

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This one looks to be a Willeme post war rebuild:

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Not sure if this is the end result or another example:

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These photos from the AEF forum.

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Tim, you are correct, the one we restored now resides at Bridgnorth, will be making its first public appearance under new ownership at Beamish in April.

Liberty 2.jpg

Richard Peskett.

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A couple of pictures of my Liberty after we got it home in July 2014. I had taken the box off the back (before we left Michigan), and shortened up the frame back to the original length. They had welded channels to the end of the frame, and moved the rear axle back, adding an additional driveshaft. The bolt holes (rivet holes) were still there, so it was easy. I managed to get the engine started, and have been gathering information and parts so we can start the restoration process. Noticed right off the bat the transmission was wrong, and it had been poorly put in. I was able to find a Liberty that had been converted to a fire truck after the war, and it had no engine and was simply a static display. They let me have the transmission in return for painting their truck. I am in the process of working on the transmission now. The top cover had rusted out, and it was full of water, but the oil saved most of the gears, very little corrosion. New bearings, new shift shafts, cleaning and paint. Mike in New Zealand has been very generous in sending castings for some parts I did not have. Adrian allowed me to visit him and take numerous measurements I needed. I hope to have it running this summer. Will post more pictures soon.1629.jpg

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I also wanted to share a few pictures of my Mack built WW1 searchlight/antiaircraft gun trailer. I bought this in 1976 about 7 miles from home from a farmer who tried to use it as a hay wagon. It was too heavy, so he abandoned it. His son was the president of the bank I used, and he told me to come look at it. His father had bought it as war surplus in the 1920's. I took it home, and was unable to find out much about it until last year. I have removed the two main spars running the length, and fabricated new ones. I am trying to learn to hot rivet these back on (it uses 5/8" diameter rivets). I took it to the Antique Truck Club of America last June in Macungie, Pa. (where the Mack assembly plant and museum are located), and the curator, Don Schumaker was most generous with information and factory photos from 1917/18. Carey Leitch (aka steelman)1614.jpg

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Well Carey, to get the transmission out of the museum you must have very good negotiation skills. Must be very satisfying that you have the right one. I have never seen a Liberty fire engine. Do you have a photo of it? Your Liberty certainly looks a lot better without that wooden monstrosity on the back. Your scuttle/firewall looks like it has a bit of a slant in it. What is causing that? Are all of the wheels wooden or just the front ones? Most survivors have metal ones so it is nice to see the early wheels.

Here are some photos of another French survivor. I believe that it is located at an educational establishment of some sort:

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Tim, All four wheels are wood spoke, and in pretty good condition. The lean you notice is due to several things. When I took the picture, we had just gotten it home (July 2014). The bottom of the firewall has a bit of decay that needs to be repaired, as well as the attachment points. I haven't checked the arch of the springs to see if that needs work. I did a quick review of what I have and I have concentrated on information and parts retrieval. I acquired the remnants of another Liberty from California last summer. I believe it is an aviation model. The running gear is complete, except no front wheels and no rear axle/wheels. Would love to find them so we could at least display it. I noted some pictures from Nevada(?) of one without running gear, but had the hood and wheels. Do you know if it might be available? I am attaching pictures of this truck for all to see. Carey Leitch

Ca. Liberty 001.jpg

Ca. Liberty 002.jpg

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Here are some photos of another French survivor. I believe that it is located at an educational establishment of some sort:

 

Tim, this is the same as the one in the first two pictures of your post #15. Glad to see they did not use it for parts. The crane has been used to load sugar beets. I would not mind restoring it, including the crane, I need another project! :D

 

Regards

Marcel

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Well Marcel, if you need another project, you are in the right part of the world!

Yes, you are right. It is the same Liberty B. I am pleased that it survived. I hope it can be restored.

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The Heavy Aviation is an interesting although exceptionally ugly machine. One of my favourites in fact.

Too much missing on yours but it would make a nice one out of this one:

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I cant remember where it was now. I will have task Richard Dunn who took these photos.It might be for sale if you are serious with the money?

This one was in California but I have no idea where it went:

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Here is another one in France before restoration (which is well under way). Photos courtesy of AEF.

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A restored running example just sold in Holland for about £10,000. A bit of a bargain really.

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Mike in New Zealand has been very generous in sending castings for some parts I did not have. Adrian allowed me to visit him and take numerous measurements I needed.

 

Friends around the world helping out. Isn't this a wonderful hobby!

 

Steve :D

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An interesting advertisement from C.M. for the war surplus Heavy Aviation lorry. By this time ( late 1925) prices of virtually all W.W. 1 surplus lorries had dropped below £300. Peerless Trading, Slough were offering A.E.C and Thornycroft at £295 and Peerless 4 ton at £225.

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Richard Peskett.

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