Off road motoring brings all manner of challenges and excitement, and what better way to experience them with your mates than in this wacky 1943 International Harvester M5 Half-Track Personnel Carrier.
Conceived as a “high-mobility infantry vehicle” it’s capable of resisting small arms fire and mortar splinters – which could come in very handy on your daily commute.
M5 Half-Track will carry you and 11 mates in comfort
It can carry a dozen people at speeds in excess of 40mph and is easier to drive than a Full-Track machine.
Distinguished by its flat-section front wings and rounded rear corners, the M5 is deemed by many to be the ultimate Half-Track.
Delivered on April 27 1943, this model – serial number M5-2696 – is believed to have been used by Polish forces during the Allied liberation of Europe.
Half-Track saw service with Polish and French forces
Known to have been in Germany following the cessation of hostilities, it was thoroughly overhauled by the Mercedes-Benz Works before being reallocated to the French Army.
Stationed in French Guyana, South America for decades, the Half-Track returned to France during the 1980s where it was acquired as surplus by the Belgian collector Mr Louis Amerijckx.
Then a Supreme Court Judge and chateau owner, Mr Amerijckx took some persuading but eventually sold the M5 Personnel Carrier to Dutch enthusiast Ivo Rigter in 1987.
It took 27 years to restore Half-Track to its former glory
Determined to return the IHC machine to factory specification and condition, Mr Rigter scoured Europe and the United States in search of correct parts. Some 27 years and 2,500 restoration hours later, the Half-Track was finally completed to his satisfaction.
The quality of the work which has gone into rejuvenating the Half-Track has to be seen to be believed.
Sporting the markings of the Polish 10th Regiment Dragonders, the M5 Personnel Carrier also has the name “Krystyna” emblazoned on its doors as a tribute to Krystyna Skarbek who served as a Polish Special Ops Agent during WW2.
Half-Track named after spy immortalised by James Bond
It is thought she was the inspiration for the character Vesper Lynd in Ian Fleming’s James Bond novel “Casino Royale”.
The Half-Track has driven less than 1,000 miles since restoration, mostly by the vendor for taking friends to the pub! Potentially road legal once UK registered, it would make a hell of a statement at anyone’s local.
The M5 Half-Track will go under the hammer at the H&H Duxford auction on November 15 and its pre-sale estimate is £90,000 to £110,000.
What’s your fantasy off road drive?
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