M26 Pacific Armoured Tank Transporter
One of the least practical WW2 military vehicles for private ownership has to be the “Dragon Wagon” so called because of its flame belching exhaust, from the 17litre Hall Scott engine. The 6 in line cylinders deliver a frightening 230hp at just 2100 rpm and a modest petrol consumption around a mile per gallon.
Coupled with the giant M15 semi tailer, it was a tank recovery rig for use in hostile conditions. Rated at an 80,000lb payload, it could carry one large tank or two small tanks.
With it's Knuckey chain driven rear tandem axles, the power of the M26 is awesome and the angular ¾” armoured cab looks way too futuristic to be war time. But world war two it certainly is.
Post war many of these were used in heavy haulage by companies like the legendary Wynns or for very heavy recovery in Europe where even today some are still at work, though many operators preferred the soft skin version for an easier conversion.
At over 10 feet wide, these are really only suitable for wide straight roads in modern times.
Probably half a dozen running versions are in currently collectors hands
in the UK, one on permanent static display at Beltring and another beautifully
restored example complete with its trailer normally attends War and Peace
almost justifying it’s own arena event.
It seems that to restore a Pacific you need to buy at least one more as a parts donor, as the chances of finding a stock military one, complete with all winches and kit are pretty unlikely know in the scrap yards and haulage years of Europe. Many of the engines ended up in Africa as marine engines – for reasons known best to the African maritime industry!
It’s definitely a project for those with not just engineering skills, but engineering facilities, even a wheel removal is not a one man job. Plus of course a large storage facility, with plenty of space to cope with the vast turning circle.
The truck has a crew of 7, offering the lucky owner the opportunity for a 7 way split in the fuel and running costs – if he can actually find 6 other brave souls to endure the heat and excessive noise of any, even brief, Dragon Wagon expedition . It’s so difficult to drive and manoeuvre, the other 6 crew feel obliged to look as lookouts and assistant steersmen. There’s a job for everyone……..
Prices range from just over scrap price for the almost 50,000lbs of steel,
to over £20,000 for an up and running restored one. In reality of
course it should be worth much more, but restoration costs have probably
run to the cost of a small house in France but the market for these is
very limited. It may be armoured and it may be awesome but it just doesn’t
have the appeal or fun of a tank.
Photos by John Blackman www.militaryvehiclephotos.com
M25 Pacific - the unarmoured version - ready for restoration
M26 in French scrapyard
Photo by courtesy of www.travellerdave.co.uk
Made by Pacific Car and Foundry