M3A1 Scout Car

M3A1 Scout Car

Date: 1942
Manufacturer: White

The M3A1 was a wheeled armoured reconnaissance vehicle armed with a .50 calibre and two .30 calibre machineguns mounted on a 360 degrees skate rail fitted on the inside upper edge of the vehicles armour plates.  It was widely used by the US forces and her allies during WWII in all theaters of operation. 

The previous owner had completed some work on the vehicle so clients brief was to do the minimum work required to deliver a reliable, roadworthy vehicle.

The vehicle arrived at our workshop as a rolling chassis with the fighting compartments armoured plates loose fitted.  The previous owner had collected almost all the parts required to finish the project and we were told the engine had been rebuilt but everything else needed restoration.

With the clients brief in mind the chassis was left as supplied. We performed a a thorough assessment of the vehicle and carried out what tests we could on the diff’s, with no obvious problems we decided to leave them until we could do a driving test.

After the assessment we formulated a plan of action to complete the chassis.  The springs and bushes were serviceable but the brakes, wheel bearings and front swivel joints needed attention and this is where we started.

Next came the power train


The engine had been rebuilt by the previous owner but experience has show us not to trust ancient work/supposed work carried out by others.  Our cautious approach proved prudent and a number of faults were detected an remedied.  The transmission and transfer case contained water, the uni's were very worn and the clutch was stuffed so they were all rebuilt with new bearings and seals.

Attention now moved to the armoured fighting compartment.  All post war modifications were removed, extra holes welded up and previous accident damaged repaired.  It was very soon discovered that the previous owner, for reasons known only to him, had left every single bolt finger tight.  It took Mic more than a week to tighten every bolt and align every screw head.  With this tedious task completed the scout car was prepared and painted.

The power drain was fitted and plumbed in and a brand new wiring loom was sourced and fitted.  The instruments were rebuilt and installed and the dash wired up.  Now came time to start testing before the front armour was installed.  The rebuilt engine started first go and with a bit of tuning ran beautifully. 

The generator and regulator had been left untouched and testing proved both to be faulty. The geni was rebuilt and now tested OK so our attention shifted to the regulator which couldn't be saved so a modern regulator was modified to fit inside the original housing and the charge system was now complete.

The missing tool holders were fabricated and installed and converted period black out lights into tail lights and blinkers.  The markings were applied and the road tests began.

The road tests revealed several minor bugs which were fixed (all to do with parts that hadn't been restored) and one major bug, the rear diff sounded like it was full of marbles when turning.  It was removed, disassembled, inspected and measured.  Oddly but thankfully there seemed to be nothing wrong other than minor were on all components.  With a spare diff on hand we mixed and matched the best components from both diffs and the problem was solved.

The remainder of the run in period (about 150 miles) was trouble free.  Transport was arranged and the scout car was shipped off to it's new home in Sydney and a very happy and satisfied customer.

This scout car was a great project and it's completion brought out total scout car restorations to 3.  If you have a scout car or half track that needs restoration then don't hesitate to contact us, we certainly have the knowledge and experience with these vehicle to deliver a world class restoration you will be proud to own.