The Fighting Iron Group: Military vehicle restoration services, reenactments, shows, & events

m3 halftrack restoration

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This is the vehicle that started the madness, Fighting Iron, a 1943 M3 Halftrack. 

This entry page will take you to the restoration details of this Halftrack.

EXTERIOR HT-FightingIron_Unveiled.jpg (123828 bytes) TRACK ASSEMBLY
INTERIOR ENGINE
CHASSIS TRANNY
FRAME DETAILS WINCH BUMPER
DRIVETRAIN VEHICLE MARKINGS
FRONT AXLE ACCESSORIES
REAR AXLE IN ACTION

From Hot Rod to Half-Track in 3 years!

The first half-track I purchased was a "White" manufactured vehicle.  It was in sad shape when it arrived in the summer of 2000.   Basically a cut down, civilianized, work truck used to drill water wells.    White half-tracks had serial numbers stamped into the back side of the front bumper.  The cursive style White stamping was found but do to rust and corrosion, wear and tear the serial number was unlegible.  This is evident in the pictures taken of the bumper during restoration, not much to work with.

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Time was taken to sand the hood down to try and locate the original USA registration numbers which I did manage to do.  I   uncovered both the four inch block numbering and the original cursive style numbering that was likely put on at the factory.  USA 40138752 lives again.   Honeycutts book on half-tracks identifies this vehicle as one of two prototypes that were used as the future M4 81mm mortar carriers.  Because this half-track frame was severely bent and had three extra feet added to it to accomodate a civilian drilling derick, the drive train, nose steel, and some suspension parts were the only salvagable parts I could use.

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I purchased a second, straight and intact frame in the fall of 2000.  This frame had legible serial numbers, M15A1-1652.   This indicates it was manufactured by Autocar.  After having completed the restoration and making an M3 version once again, I learned that the sister frame to mine was used to carry General George Pattons casket during his funeral procession in Luxemburg shortly after the end of WWII.

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Over three years, I gathered parts as they (and money) became available, and in the summer of 01' started assembly!!  The crisp winter air of '03 resounded with Fighting Iron's heavy metal, 450 CID engine's roar!

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Drop me a line,  Jon Philbrook:  emptyriver@comcast.net                                                                     Simple Web Designs:  CPhilbrook

Copyright 2000 by Christian Philbrook and/or FightingIron.  All Rights Reserved