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FWD Truck Restoration


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Good Evening,

I have posted a little on here but not too much. Myself with the immense help of some good friends are restoring an FWD Model B from the remnants of over 2 trucks here in London, ON, Canada. I have assembled a fair amount of parts but still looking for a few items. Awhile ago there was an FWD posted on Ebay out of Flint Michigan USA. This FWD we were told had sat in the wrecking yard since 1929. I eventually purchased the remains of that truck as a starting point. The engine had been removed. I purchased a very good frame and package of parts from Don Chew out of Colorado, USA. Don has been a great help in figuring out the FWD and tips on restoring them. Don has restored a 1918 FWD ammunition truck along with about 30 other trucks. The next major purchase was a Wisconsin T Head engine from truck collector, Leo Franks in Wisconsin this past March. Now we are starting in earnest to clean parts and work towards a rolling chassis. A local shop is helping me with that.


I have met some very good people along the path of the project. Don Chew has been a great help and so was John Vanden Eyn who recently passed away and restored the FWD Model B in New Mexico. Over the internet I met Tim Gosling who has help me tremendous along with his brother Steve and father Tony. With Tim I went to the Land Warfare Hall at Duxford and crawled all over their FWD and measured their FWD. This particular FWD is a great example of a British/ Commonwealth used FWD. It seems one of their main tasks was to pull the howitzers. It is one of these trucks I am restoring my truck to represent.


This forum has been a great assets not only in restoring & repairing parts but the contacts. Its been great learning about these trucks and vehicles in general used during the great War.


I’ll post pictures as best I can of before and after along with the trucks progress. Hope its of interest to some folks.





Edited by tse5a
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Thank you guys for the encouraging words. This is a bit random but I thought I’d add some pictures of parts from the paint shop. The first batch of paint I had made up came out greener and lighter than I had hoped for. The sample I use to get my sample for was from an original Brodie helmet dated 1917. The auto paint supply shop used a section of the inside of the helmet that had not been dulled over time. A 2nd batch of paint was corrected and mixed and was spot on for my tastes.

All of these pieces were sandblasted and painted with epoxy primer and paint. The leafs in the picture are from the centre rear leaf spring.



Edited by tse5a
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More Pictures.

These parts were cleaned with molasses. It’s something learnt off the internet and seems to be an Australian method of de-rusting parts. It works great and has its purposes. The radiator fan for example with its sheet metal blades would have warped with sandblasting. The pulley in the assembly was dipped in molasses to get the interior cleaned. I did not want to harm any machine surfaces.

The engine components are going to be painted with black engine paint engine.A new shaft was made by my friend for the pulley assembly as the original one was worn.



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Fantastic, looking forward to following this. Especially as it's being completed as a gun tractor. Do you have the book 'London Gunners'? It's a superb account by one of the Officers of the Honourable Artillery Company's RGA Siege Battery, equipped with 6 inch howitzers towed by FWD's, and there's many references to the FWD's. I have a number of photos from the IWM Collection showing FWD's in British service, you may have seen them already but i'd be happy to send them over, just PM me your e-mail address

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Thank you both for the responses. Gustaf if your interested in getting an FWD project going, send me a PM and I can suggest a couple projects for sale. They are out there. All of the ones I know are without an engine. It took the better part of 4 years plus finding mine. My information for FWDs are ones found in the USA.

Captain Rlangham, thank you very much for the tip on the book. I just ordered one from ABE Books after reading your email. That's the exact truck I would like to rebuild mine as. Tim Gosling has been very helpful with pictures on British used FWDs. The book might shed light on tools the trucks carried such as artillery tools, camouflage netting and more.

The HMVF Forum is a great exchange of information and contacts. Its really an amazing slice of the internet.


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Thanks Tim,

I inquired about the one in California, but it was not available, and my financial adviser (that would be Maggie, my wife) told me that I had better finish a few other projects before starting on a new one. I manage to get my emotions in control and then I see photos of your project, it really looks great.



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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...



The answer is that you talk to people and join a forum like this! Please will you start a thread to tell us about your FWD as we are all keen to see it. We (Great War Truck aka 'Tim', Father and I) have such a beast which we did fifteen years ago and have taken lots of photos through the rebuild process. I also have a photocopy of the original US Army manual which is truly outstanding and can copy that for you as well. Let us know what you are up to and what you need and we will do our best to help out.


Which part of the world are you in?


Good luck with it!


Steve :)

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  • 1 year later...



I am currently working on a model of the FWD B type, looking at this thread I would be grateful for any information you could supply.

In process rebuild photo's would be of great help, and copies from the manual would be of enormous value.


I think the lubrication diagram if there is one would be one thing.


I have a list of wants, should you be kind enough to supply:


chassis without body

petrol tank mounting

rear spring layout

scuttle looking from drivers view

wheels, either spoke or solid viewed straight on, so I can determine sizes and shapes

axles with regard to brake drums and steering linkages


In general, details of chassis / fittings.


A number of body types were fitted, do you have widths and lengths......the ammunition body was different to the load carrier....was this just a US issue ??


I have a number of photographs, and it appears that in British service, they altered the radiator to improve cooling, the original radiators were prone to cracking.....my question is the "British" version does not have the side openings on the radiator shell........I have Tim Goslings book on WW1 vehicles....the radiator without openings seems standard...US vehicles in service and restored (from photo's I have) show the side openings......


I know this is an extensive possibly daunting list, but any help would be much appreciated.


I am based in the UK, so would hope that info is available in the UK, I am able to pay any reasonable costs etc, for those outside the UK.


Gents.....any help would be appreciated.


George Moore




Thanks in advance.

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I am planning on doing the FWD Type B. 1916----18


The plan would be to produce a "basic chassis".....with the option of radiator front, the body would be the US ammunition body with the option of a load carrier GS body. The tilt could be made as separate.


i am aware of variations, but need info as to what was used when.....again the period is exclusive to WW1. British / US service. We already have the 6" howitzer/limber and the 8" howitzer and limber.....which could be towed according to Tim's book.


The scale is 1/35th.


I must thank you for the info already sent......just what I need......



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The radiators started of in brass but due to cracking issues were replaced with cast ones instead. These are the ones which as you say had holes in the side. By the time the US Army FWD's arrived in France I believe that they all had cast rads. British ones can be seen having both brass and cast radiators. Following the end of the war rads were produced in the UK in the same style as the cast ones but a little wider. Not sure when they went from brass to cast but late 1916 to early 1917 seems likely.


The steel ammunition body was only used by American forces. The Yanks also used a wooden "B Type" body which was generic and would fit other trucks (like the Liberty B). The British GS body can be found on some FWD's which were purchased by the British and lent back to the Americans. They are quite different in design.


Other differences you will note between US and British FWD's is that the Americans have an oval fuel tank to the round British one. Tow hitches are quite different design. Also the hooks in the corner of the chassis are different.


I have never seen a photo of a British FWD with anything other than spoke wooden wheels. Americans started off with wooden spoke and then went to discs and metal spoke (of two different designs).


Hope that helps

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Another great reply, which pretty much clears up the info I need.


It clears up my mistake re the radiators. I thought the "plain" ones were the cast type. My comment is directed to the fact that that detail will need to be added.

I have to admit I missed the shape of the fuel tank, thanks for pointing that out.

It also clears up the type of body fitted.


Thanks again for the help, especially the time taken to supply this info....it is much appreciated.



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An interesting photo, undated it may possibly be late war.....there appears to be a lighter cover over the tilt....tied on separately...could this be an ID panel for aircraft recognition.....I don't think it's a trick of the light.

Looks as if another light panel is across the front as well.



Edited by george
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The panel on the front is called a "Storm curtain" and is to provide the driver extra protection from the weather. Seen on a many British FWD's. The scuttle only comes up to just above the drivers knees so they are quite vulnerable. The US FWD's did not have these. I am not aware of identification panels being used on trucks as they would generally not come that close to the front line. It is more likely to provide extra protection against the rain for the contents.

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