GMC AFKWX-353

 

 

Well the GMC AFKWX-353 was something my brother and I had always wanted in the Collection so when this one first appeared for sale in Wheels and Tracks we made contact with the seller Jean Ziger from Luxembourg.  This was pre-email so we had to resort to the old methods and put pen to paper.  In November 1991, we received a reply with a black and white photo enclosed.  We were really keen so a deposit was paid whilst we made preparations to go to Luxembourg to drive it home.  In those days we were always flat out.  We had a Mack No2 and a Dodge 6x6 under restoration so time was always tight.  Finally we were ready to make the trip.  We took a new battery, some tools, rope and fuel with some other basic necessities. 

On arriving we were quite surprised to see that the photo of a complete looking truck did not match the pile of bits we were now looking at.  It transpired the photo had been taken in the 70s whilst in civilian use in Paris.  It was now 1992!!   After our initial disappointment and a bit of tyre kicking, we walked away to review our options.  It was quite clear that the only way it would make it to England was on a transporter, so was it worth it?  Time moved on and Jean was looking to resolve the sale.  We had paid 75% in our deposit, was it worth continuing with? 


In the meantime, Kevin Wheatcroft was also buying his first 3 Panther engines from Jean and transport was part of the deal.  So along with the engines, the GMC was transported to the Leicester home of the Wheatcroft Collection.  At that time we did not know Kevin Wheatcroft so it was a bit of a surprise when he introduced himself to us at the McGregor auction in North Wales.  He said he now owned the GMC from Jean Ziger and that we would be receiving our money back.  Kevin Wheatcroft did not want the GMC and had been pushed in to the purchase as part of his Panther engine deal.  It transpired that Jean’s family were giving him a very hard time about its continued parking outside the family home. 

It was an interesting opening meeting, after an afternoon of bidding and chatting we both got to the bottom of what had happened.  We agreed that the truck would become ours and we began a relationship of exchanges. 
Interestingly the Stug 111 that is currently being rebuilt by John Phillips was our burning skip and was part of that exchange.  Having been given to us by Tony Budge via Bob Fleming it was originally recovered from the ranges at Purbrite along with the Gibb Collection, Jag Panther and the M2 Grant belonging to Carl Brown and Colonel John Gillman Rtd. 

The GMC become a part of that exchange as the Wheatcroft Collection was just beginning to acquire German armour. 

The McGregor auction saw us purchase our first low loader, a Ford D series with a 20 ton king trailer, ex Essex Police.  Now we had our own transport, the Stug 111 stopped being the burning skip and moved home from Ash to Leicester whilst the GMC made its final journey to our old workshops.  It was as bad as we remembered.  Life for us had moved on and armour had taken over our lives, so the old girl continued to deteriorate.  It was always a project we wanted to undertake and that time 25 years on has arrived.  We very much hope you enjoy watching the restoration as it progresses with continual photo updates and comments.

Any advice, guidance or parts that you are aware of would be well received.  We are in need of an original manual if anyone has one for sale.  As we progress we will add a wants list to the site.  We look forward to our first outing this summer.