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Jim Clark

1944 M4 High Speed Tractors

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Here are a few details about the M4 HSTs I have recently brought from the USA. The yellow one as you can see has been modified by a construction company, the ammunition box is missing and they have cut out the rear panel and also removed the winch. ALLISCHALMERSHST1019.jpgALLISCHALMERSHST1016.jpg Having said that it is in very good condition and quite complete The other two are very complete and original but not in such good condition.My intention is to bring in two more and from the five vehicles make three perfectly restored examples.I will Keep one and sell the other two. On the yellow one you will see grousers were fitted to aid traction in soft ground, they were a bit of a pain to remove as I could not use too much heat because of the rubber tracks. ALLISCHALMERSHST1020.jpgDSC01730.jpg Fortunatly all but a couple of the many data plates are still on the tractors which is nice as it gives the vehicle number and the date of manufacture on the plate. AMERICA009.jpg Something else I noticed on one of the HSTs is a toothed metal strip bolted to the lower front panel, I also have one on the transmission cover of my Sherman. hst003.jpghst004.jpg I have heard that when tracked vehicles were being shipped over to the UK to aid moving them around on the docks ropes were fastened to the steering tillers and then taken outside the sealed (for shipping ) vehicle and tied off on this toothed metal bar.On shermans the ropes came through the 30cal bow gun mount , not sure where they would have exited on the HST.The toothed bar has been nicknamed "the comb" by some people. Another strange thing I noticed one one of the HSTs the road wheels have grooved tyres I have not seen this before, they are all dated 1942 or 43.Perhaps someone can shed some light on this. AMERICA016.jpg There is more I can tell you if there is any interest. jim.

Edited by Jack

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Keep the info coming Jim and I think this deserves a blog of some sort, pretty sure there is a lot of interest here.

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Another strange thing I noticed one one of the HSTs the road wheels have grooved tyres I have not seen this before, they are all dated 1942 or 43.Perhaps someone can shed some light on this.

 

 

Grooved tyres are banned from next season, it's back to slicks apparently. :wink:

 

I could be persuaded to take them off your hands though as long as they come with the tractor.

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Oh yes, Jim - more is good! Looking at the shape I can see they lend themselves well to shipping - maximum metal for minimum cube!!

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Hats off to you Jim - it must be a nightmare to bring stuff like that in, was it hard?

 

How many of these were made??

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Something else I noticed on one of the HSTs is a toothed metal strip bolted to the lower front panel, I also have one on the transmission cover of my Sherman.

 

I have heard that when tracked vehicles were being shipped over to the UK to aid moving them around on the docks ropes were fastened to the steering tillers and then taken outside the sealed (for shipping ) vehicle and tied off on this toothed metal bar.On shermans the ropes came through the 30cal bow gun mount , not sure where they would have exited on the HST.The toothed bar has been nicknamed "the comb" by some people.

 

Read the full story here: http://web.inter.nl.net/users/spoelstra/g104/comb.htm

 

- Hanno

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Read the full story here: - Hanno

 

Well done Hanno, that link describes a brilliant piece of detective work!

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Was one of the ones that you have importted the one that was on eBay last year at a very low price,yet very complete???

 

The more info and pictures the better.

 

Do you intend to post pictures during the restoration process?

 

Well done for pulling it off!!!

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amazing stuff.

 

I would definitely like to learn more about the restoration as it happens, so welcome further installments as and when you have time, Jim.

 

MB

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amazing stuff.

 

I would definitely like to learn more about the restoration as it happens, so welcome further installments as and when you have time, Jim.

 

MB

 

Might be time for a trip and a front page story here Snap ??

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Might be time for a trip and a front page story here Snap ??

 

CORRECT!

 

Sounds like the intelligent thing to do.

 

MB

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many more M4's a while back I think this was in Sam Winers in Ohio late 80's

scrapyards027.jpg

 

I would agree that is Sam Wieners, must dig out my photos and scan them ! spent many happy days wanedring round all the yards there.

John.

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Here we go then, as far as I know about 5,800 Allis Chalmers M4 HSTs were produced between March 1943 and August 1945 . There are two basic types they are vertually the same apart from the rear ammunition box, one is designed to carry 3in or 90mm ammunition the other 8in, 155mm or 240mm ammunition, the later also has a lifting gantry with block and tackle to aid the stowage of the heavier shells in the racks.During the coarse of production they were modified in different ways ie, front air vents,siren position,racking in the 90mm box and the spacing of the suspension units and drive sprockets to allow the fitment of duckbills on the tracks to aid traction.

 

Out of the three I have here two were fitted with 90mm ammo boxes the other a 240mm box. At the moment the 240mm HST is fitted with the incorrect 90mm box which I will change when its restored.

 

The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is by the type of fuel filler pipe.On the 90mm HST the filler neck comes straight out the back.

 

11.jpg

 

and on the 240mm the filler neck is cranked to the right of the vehicle(viewing from the rear)

 

9.jpg

 

Getting back to the ones I have here all were made in 1944 and were only 520 apart off the assembly line.

 

5.jpg

 

1.jpg

 

Although the yellow one was modified by a construction company the rifle rack is still in the cab just above and in front of the drivers head.

 

3.jpg

 

On one of the others the winch is still covered with the remains of the greased cosmoline and the lockers in the cab and engine cover have remains of the sealant used for shipping.

 

7.jpg

 

12.jpg

 

As we are busy at the moment with canvas orders for the Stonleigh Militaria show I have not done any thing with them yet, but will post more pictures of the restorations as they progress.

 

Jim

Edited by Jim Clark

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Jim - would you know if these were shipped out in WW2 or would they off missed the war?

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Regarding the shipping it can be a nightmare and the costs soon spiral out of control. I think when consdering shipping something from the US etc you need to do your sums right first to determine the end cost back at your home/workshop. Some stuff is cheap in the US but the transport accross the country and shipping can soon mount up. There are US state laws about load widths and weights etc each state is different and charges can vary. You also have to take into account the cost of actually going over to veiw the vehicles before purchase, flights,car hire, hotels etc, soon that bargin is not so atractive.Getting a good shipper is esential to help with all the paper work etc.

Having said that if its something rare and you want it just do it.

Jim

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Jack unfortunatly the one that has the sealing on it has the speedo smashed and I cant read the mileage. When I remove the speedo and strip it i will be able to give you more info.The other with the good dash reads about 8000 miles on the clock so it has done some work.

I would like to think the one with the shipping "comb" was sent over for the war effort but I have no proof yet. Maybe as we strip them down we can gather more clues.

 

Jim

Edited by Jim Clark

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It would be nice to be at Weymouth, we will see what can be done, perhaps it will be a 17 day rebuild like the Sherman in 2004

 

2nd June 2004 in our worksop

M4A4ShermanRestoration044.jpg

 

 

19th June 2004 at Weymouth Vererans Parade

 

M4A4ShermanRestoration105.jpg

Jim.

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Sleep? sleep wasnt in fashion those days and every one said the Sherman would never be ready in time, I just wanted to prove them wrong.

Jim.

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Boy and you sure did that! Some achievement, well done!!!! :yay:

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