By George, that’s a Big’un

Max Shepherdson’s restoration of a Pacific M26 Dragon Wagon

Many people told Max said he wouldn’t be able to complete the project, which only made him more determined
pictures Simon King / Max Shepherdson

In Animal Farm, George Orwell wrote that “All animals are equal but some are more equal than others”. In our world, that could be rewritten as “All military vehicles have a presence, but some have more presence than others”. That is no truer than when you stand before Max Shepherdson’s restored Pacific M26 Dragon Wagon in its workshop lair. The sheer size, featureless flat slab sides and sharpangled corners give it a presence like no other support vehicle in the US armoury during World War Two.

The tyres presented a challenge as those needed to fit the M26’s wheels are no longer manufactured

‘Max vowed that one day he too would restore a Dragon Wagon’

It’s a vehicle with an interesting history and, in an odd turn of events, the M15 trailer pulled by the M26 tractor was effectively designed by the Fruehauf Trailer Company before a suitable 6x6 tractor unit was available. Trials with prototype tractors were therefore quickly arranged. The winner was a chain-driven T25 prototype designed by the Knuckey Truck Company of San Francisco, California which had experience in building heavy plant machinery. The T25 was productionised as the “Truck, 12 ton 6x 6, tractor M26”. It was fitted with dual Gar Wood winches, a recovery frame and a fifth wheel to attach the trailer. It could be used on its own as a recovery tractor. When attached to the trailer as a tractor unit, the combination was designated “Truck-Trailer, 40 ton, tank recovery, M25”.

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