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November 21, 2017 / consort3

Guy Martins WW1 Tank

Channel 4 recently did a great  programme about the construction from scratch of a working replica of the original Tank. My Grandfather was a  pattern maker for Fosters of Lincoln so was involved  in the original. Pattern makers make wooden patterns for castings which are made by the sand- box process.

The story begins in 1998 when Phillipe Gorzchinsk of Flesquieres searched for and found a buried Tank named Deborah. He also found the Grandson of the Tank Captain, Tim Heap.

Thorsten Brand did a great job on the original CAD drawing for his modelling, using the Tank found by Phillipe as a reference. This was turned in to a product by JCB.


A couple of things intrigued me;  the serious plug welds used to join the sheets together.  OK for this application but do they use that technique for load bearing structures? Pictures of the sides showing the joining strips




Guy has inherited the mantle of Engineering presenter from Fred Dibnah.  Fred wouldn’t have liked the fake rivets. But you need the tooling and the time for rivets!

Photo of the completed Tank hull leaving JCB


Stephen Machaye and the volunteers at the Norfolk Tank museum installed a Rolls Royce B60 inlet over exhaust valve engine and a tractor gearbox and axles. Chasestead of Letchworth made a lot of the component parts needed. Overall a great effort in the time available. Stephen and Guy with the completed tank  Deborah 2 at Cambrai:


From left to right Tim Heap, Tom Beamish, Chris Shenton, Guy Martin, Matt Winters, Stephen Machaye, Thorsten Brand and Justin Sedgwick


There is a Haynes workshop manual available:


The thing that impressed me was the pace of development of the original tank. Tritton, manager of Fosters had taken a contract in July 1915. In September he came up with an effective track. In January 1916 they tried the prototype and in September 1916 the first delivery was made to France.

Modern British tanks have a secret feature:

I am going to allow the mickey taking since the author is a fellow Reliant owner! Brave guys those Tank crews, you wouldnt want claustrophobia.

Guy has been quiet for a few months. He has been busy modifying his Transit van. Excellent programme on CH4 was aired 4/11/18. Guy  now holds the Van lap record at the Nurburgring in his Transit. I was impressed by Dale Lomas and Andy Carlile, Guys assistants at the ‘ring. Not much info on the mods was presented but I found this on Dales Twitter page (courtesy Dale)


The rear suspension is the Twin wishbone type, using off the shelf parts from a Milner R5 off roader.  Dale said they had to change the CV joint 90 mins before the run! Dales twitter page is bridge2gantry


Guy explains some of the engineering issues in this Pro Alloy video (3:50 in)

One of Guys latest exploits, the worlds fastest tractor:

Another exploit is reproducing Steve McQueens Motorcycle jump in the Great escape. Guy had a good team around him, including Paul Bickers the son of the legendary Dave Bickers.

Guys latest project, a 400mph motorcycle

The venue for the record attempt will be Bolivia

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