WWII vehicles under the hammer
Military enthusiasts have the opportunity to become proud owners of vehicles which, although past their prime, have made their own contribution to the war effort.
A collection of 25 WWII vehicles and motorcycles will go under the hammer on Saturday at 11 a.m. in Parish Street, Naxxar. Most of them have a local connection and were in fact used during World War II by the British forces here. They belonged to a private collector who passed away recently, according to auctioneer Joseph Sammut.
Some of the vehicles, all swathed in nostalgia, are in a good state of repair while others require restoration. The vehicles are being displayed at a warehouse where people can go round them at close range during viewing hours.
Apart from the 25 items, there will be several lots of spare parts for vintage vehicles.
The lot includes an Austin Utility salvaged from a scrapyard. It was used by the British Forces during WWII for personnel movement and medical purposes. The four-seater Austin was equipped with radio communication. Its original colour was green.
Another item is a Fordson Middle Weight Truck that was put to various uses. With a petrol engine, it was mainly used by the British for the transport of platoon units. This vehicle is held in high esteem by British military enthusiasts due to its unique style and use. It was also stationed in Malta and the item's original paint was sand colour, the traditional Maltese camouflage.
A Bedford Middle Weight Truck was used by the allied forces to transport equipment and soldiers. It was restored by its previous owner.
A Ford V8, 4-ton, 1942 truck was one of the pioneers of WWII transport. In fact, models after the war were built on the chassis model of this particular version. It was used mostly by the British mainly for the transportation of soldiers and equipment. Original traditional colours were green and black.
Also in the lot is a British Willis Jeep that was stationed in Malta and still has the original frame and chassis. The engine has been replaced.
The jeep was used mainly by British officers as their main means of transport during the war and was also used for radio transmitting. It was later copied by Ford.
The lot includes three motorcycles in good condition: a BSA, a Norton and a Matchless, together with cycle frames, engines and other parts.
The auctioneer explained that there are two truck frames that require painstaking restoration. Vintage vehicles from Malta have been restored and now belong to collectors who have a passion for these collectibles.
"These vehicles stir a lot of nostalgia because there are people around who still remember these vehicles on the road. This is a one off auction," Mr Sammut said.
He noted that the other day they managed to start the engine of the Bedford truck, which is saying something.
Mr Sammut recalled that the last auctions of military hardware held by his company were conducted by his father, Moses, back in the early 1960s at Ta' Qali where the British services had their hangars.
His father used to auction British military vehicles in Malta for use in North Africa. The vehicles, Mr Sammut noted, were made to last a lifetime, and, in fact, they did.
The vehicles can be viewed today and tomorrow in Parish Street - facing GS supermarket - Naxxar between 9 and 5 p.m.