One of the tricky parts of any restoration can be tracking down spare or missing parts. My Scout car was previously used as donor for another restoration, so many of the rare and hard to find parts were missing. Over the past year I have spent hours looking through eBay listings, searching through old forum posts and scrolling through specialist military vehicle websites to try and locate the missing parts. Sometimes you will get lucky and find a rare NOS (new old stock) item which is almost too nice to fit to the truck! I have managed to collect some nice pieces which are shown in the photos, including a very rare voltmeter, NOS early carb, NOS fan assembly, original key ignition switch and lots more!
White Crank Case Breather
M3A1 NOS Distributor
NOS Fuel Gauge
Original Ignition Switch
NOS M3A1 Door Latch
M3A1 Voltmeter Hickok
M3A1 Vent Pull
M3A1 Coil box
M3A1 Scout Horns
M3A1 Ross Steering Wheel NOS
With most of the body work and and driveline removed, there were still a few smaller items that needed to be taken off the chassis. These included the shock absorbers, which apart from a lot of external corrosion appear to be in a serviceable condition. The shock absorber rods will most likely require re-bushing as the the rubber has perished over time. The brake lines and fuel lines also needed to be removed carefully, to save as a template for making some new ones during the restoration. The brake and clutch pedals were also removed, these again showing little signs of wear.
When I orginially purchased the project, the cylinder head had already been removed from the engine which allowed rain water to fill up the bores and cause the pistons to seize inside. Once the sump was off I could remove the crank bearing caps along with con rod caps. The crank could then be removed after the flywheel and bell housing had been taken off, which allowed me to knock the pistons out using a block off wood and a rather large hammer! The engine looks to have been overhauled in the mid 70’s and apart from some pitting in the bores, still looks in surprising good condition.
Once the engine was removed we had to pull the the bulkhead/ cab off. This was able to be done in one lump which made life easy. Underneath the cab floor sits the two fuel tanks which actually look in great shape! The transfer box could then be dropped out, along with the rear prop shaft. Then it was on to the rear floor which is made of a steel grip plate. At some point the original self tapper fasteners had been replaced by small nuts and bolts which had corroded so badly the only way to remove them was by drilling them out. Apart from that everything came out or off quite smoothly.
First thing to do was start the strip down. The M3A1 Scout Car had obviously sat outside for a long time, with nasty corrosion everywhere. One of the nice things about an armored vehicle is that the body work will rarely rust away with 1/4″ thick armor plate. It was certainly the first time I had had to use an engine crane to lift off the bonnet! With the bonnet out of the way it was time to pull the motor, a 5.2 Hercules JXD.
Welcome to the restoration of my M3A1 SCOUT CAR which was built by the White Motor Company in 1942. Overall, 20,918 Scout Cars were produced between 1940-1944 in 8 batches or ‘lots’, this M3A1 was from production lot 5. I believe this particular Scout Car was used by the French Army after the war until it was decommissioned in the late 70’s and presumably parked up ever since. Unfortunately during that time the Scout Car was used as donor project for another rebuild so there are a lot of parts missing, making the restoration a real challenge. Please look through the blog to see the restoration progress and keep coming back for regular updates.
Once the deal was done we had to move the Scout Car to the workshop. With the help of a friend’s trusty Defender and a hired trailer to take the strain, we hauled it back to the workshop.
What isn’t shown in the photos are some of the extras which came with the project, including a spare transfer box, steering box and some of the rear armor which we bought back in a van.