David Fletcher looks at the armoured cars built by Australia during World War Two
Australia used to be a long way away. It would take weeks to get there but now, thanks to modern air transport, it is a lot closer. This is why, before World War One – and to save money – Australia designed and built its own military vehicles. It was obliged to do the same in the early years of World War Two.
Because the funds were not available to buy British armoured cars, Australian authorities decided, in 1935, to build their own but could only afford one. A Ford Model BB 30cwt lorry chassis was used as the basis, powered by a four-cylinder engine. It was topped by a turreted body like a large version of the Rolls-Royce built of armour 3-4mm thick. It was nicknamed Ned Kelly and is said to have been difficult to drive, nevertheless, it remained in service until 1942.