Sprucing up Matilda

Matilda after a repaint

Alocal Jeep owner named Rob Eales recently asked me to smarten up his ITM Jeep and give it a quick check over.

These ITM (Inspection Technique du Material) Jeeps were rebuilt in France after the war years using a mix of leftover World War Two spares and new French parts, most being re-stamped with a dedicated ITM chassis number.

Some are 90% original World War Two, others are almost all Hotchkiss.

This particular vehicle has a World War Two-era Ford gearbox, steering wheel, bonnet and axles. The steering wheel was definitely an old original, as it had that distinct ‘dog muck’ smell to it thanks to the soya bean extract material originally used to make the rim. Everything else on the Jeep, apart from some smaller mechanical parts, was mostly Hotchkiss.

Rob has owned this Jeep ‘Matilda’ for many years and, despite over-wintering in a closed-up shed, the long damp British winters had given it a rash of rust spots in various areas. Even the canvas seat cushions had rotted around the fastening holes. To keep costs down we re-fixed them with cargo strapping over the enlarged holes which worked well and looked quite tidy (pictures 1&2).

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