Fire trucks at RAF Scampton. The Red Arrows, who fly from there now, are better served than the Dambusters of 617 Squadron. Guy Gibson’s Lancasters, which took off from here 70 years ago this month, had truck conversions on Fordsons to rush, if that’s the word, to their aid if anything went wrong. The 1940 Ford WOA2 heavy utility was usually an upright rugged shooting brake on a reinforced Model 62 V8 chassis, with a military-pattern grille, a 30HP engine and many survived the conflict as breakdown trucks. In wartime some served as staff cars with a folding map table behind the front seats and some were made into open tourers for the desert. Production continued into the late 1940s and, long before the introduction of SUVs, they became general purpose vehicles often used off-road despite not having four wheel drive. Wide tyres with deep treads gave useful grip. Post Office Telephones Home Counties Division bought them for line maintenance and in 1946 added ex-military reconditioned war-surplus stock, some with two rows of seats and two more that tipped-up in the rear. The WOA2 was adapted as a 15cwt General Service truck known as the WOT2, like this survivor at Scampton, with the same bonnet and radiator. The forward control resulted in a narrow toe-board for the driver aft of the front wheel arch. The simplified cab had canvas top and no doors; some had individual small windscreens. Later versions with fully enclosed cabs evolved into proper trucks. WOT2s equipped as fire appliances were used by the National Fire Service.
Production May 1941-1947
Engine 8-cylinders in 90deg Vee; front; 77.8mm x 95mm, 3622cc; compr 6.3:1; 80bhp (59.6kW) @ 3500 rpm; 140lbft (190Nm) @ 1500rpm; 22.1bhp (16.5kW)/l.
Engine structure: side valves; centre gear-driven 3-bearing camshaft; aluminium detachable cylinder heads, blocks and upper crankcase unitary cast iron; engine weight 581lb (263.5kg); Stromberg 48 twin choke downdraught carburettor, coil ignition, camshaft-driven distributor; mechanical fuel pump; 3-bearing cast steel crankshaft; thermosyphon cooling, two belt-driven pumps, pressure lubrication by camshaft pump.
Transmission: rear wheel drive; 9in (23cm) sdp cushioned clutch; 3-speed manual all-synchromesh gearbox; spiral bevel final drive.
Chassis: steel X-braced frame with 4 cross-members; suspension by transverse leaf springs; 4 hydraulic lever arm dampers; mechanical drum brakes; worm and sector steering; electrically welded steel disc wheels.
Equipment: 6-volt electrics, body colours according to service
Production: 11,754 http://www.dovepublishing.co.uk/2013/01/coalition-car.html.
Dambuster film. Aircrew embarks from a WOA2.
See more in the Ford in Ford of Britain Centenary File, still available from good bookshops.