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Correct tow hitch for 1956 Rover Mk 5

Cheshire Steve


Lots of searching and still can't find when the Landy tow hitch changed over from the early type, which I think looks pretty much like the attached picture, to the chunky later one that we all know and love! I have been told the large recovery vehicles had the rotating later NATO style hitch as early as 1954, but military Landy photos appear to show this earlier sort into the late 50s. So I am interested to know when they changed over, and if vehicles in service would have had their hitches replaced. Am I right in thinking the early one is known as the rhino hitch (or maybe Parrots Beak hitch) and the later one as the Dixon-Bate, or are they both Dixon-Bate designs? And was there a non-rotating version of the later hitch fitted or did they go straight to the rotating version?


Note that I do not use the 1956 Landy for towing so I am not concerned with the design flaws of the earlier hitch, just thought I would replace the current ball hitch with military pattern as one of many small steps back towards how it would have been back in its military days. I have a rotating NATO hitch to go on if its correct.


One thing I do know is the June 1957 military parts list says the hitch is 246109, and the adaptor plate is 245599, but no image or maker. I have seen an undated picture of a Rover Mk5 at FVRDE which appears to have the later NATO hitch, so maybe they did get changed over in service (were the trailer eyes the same size for both types?).



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I had no idea I had asked such a difficult question, as I assumed there were lots of 1955-1960 vehicles restored, and I know people are keen to get the right period parts.


What I have found is someone with a fabulously original 1955 FFR S1 (desert spec Rover Mk 3), and that has the hitch type from before the common NATO swivel type (there is an FV number there but its hard to make out). So looks like this not only pushes the date for complete adoption of the NATO type further forward, but clearly this one wasn't upgraded to the later type during its service life. The Rover Mk 3 and Mk 5 were delivered in the same batch of vehicles, so seems increasingly likely this wouild be the correct hitch for my 1956 Mk 5 too.






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Definitely talking to myself here - but in case anyone searches and finds this I found a drawing of a Rover Mk7 in the Army User Handbook for Mk 6 to Mk 9, and that shows the older style hitch. The manual does refer to both types of hitch, so its my guess the rotating NATO type came in with the Rover 8 c1961, or at earliest during production of the Mk 6/7 (1958 to 1961). I now have the correct early type of hitch for my 1956 Rover Mk5 -so don't intend to pursue it further.



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