c.1944 Morris-Commercial C8 Field Artillery Tractor "Quad" with No 5 Body (Recovery Lorry Conversion)
Model: C8 Field Artillery Tractor "Quad" with No 5 Body (Recovery Lorry Conversion)
Registration Number: Unregistered
Chassis Number: 2209 EWD 133 94
Engine Number: GH 5456140
Guide Price: £1000 - 1500
Sold For: £600
Lot No: 278
Following a specification issued by the War Office in 1937, production of Morris Field Artillery Tractors (or “Quads” as they were known) began in October 1939. At that time, Quads were the only four wheel drive vehicle used by the British Army and admired for their towing capabilities and cross-country performance; known as the ‘Beetle Back’, the original models were simultaneously produced by Morris-Commercial and GUY in the UK and Canada for Commonwealth countries, and for other Allied forces by Ford and Chevrolet in Canada. The Mk III variation arrived in 1941 with modifications such as the relocation of the throttle pedal to its conventional position and an increase in wheel size. The last 2000 of the Mk IIIs were equipped with the new No. 5 body which offered improved space for the wartime gun crew and their equipment. A notable documented historical fact is that Field Marshal Erwin Rommel used a German captured Morris-Commercial Quad, known as 'The Mammoth', in the Western Desert in 1941-42 to tow his command post caravan.
Post-War, many Field Artillery Tractors were converted to breakdown trucks, as their short wheelbase and four wheel drive set-up made them ideal for village and other small garages. As is the case with this example: decommissioned in the island of Guernsey in June 1946, the Quad was then used as a public vehicle and it is believed that the Morris was converted in the 50s into a recovery truck by local engineers. The conversion included a certain level of smartening-up for civilian use, which explains the change of bonnet and radiator assembly and the presence of a front bumper, chrome headlamps and the metal roof in place of the military canvas. This example is also fitted with a fascinating turntable; the vendor informs us that it was sourced from a German gun used in a German bunker during the occupation of Guernsey during the War. The turntable can rotate a full 360 degrees and is fitted with the recovery crane.
The current custodian has owned the Morris-Commercial since the 1960s. As is often the way, other projects and interests took precedence, and the Quad is now being reluctantly offered for sale. The C8 Field Artillery Tractor is a very rare machine and should prove to be an interesting project for someone wishing to carry out a sympathetic restoration of a relic from the Second World War. For the new owner, there is a great deal of valuable information to be found on the internet that should assist with piecing together this history of the model. A States of Guernsey registration book is supplied, together with a 2007 Guernsey tax disc and an export document.
Please note that the vehicle is available for private viewing only at the vendor’s address; all enquiries to DVCA please.
We are indebted to Mr Jimmy James, whose expertise on military history has been invaluable.