Leichter Panzerspähwagen Sd.Kfz.223 Ausf. A

In Detail

The Foundation has two Sd.Kfz.223 chassis. Both are the earlier designated Einheitsfahrgestell I Typ 801, which would have been assembled as Ausf. A 3 Serie Sd.Kfz.223s. We intend to restore only one of the Ausf. A vehicles as the chassis selected is complete with engine and gearbox. The other Sd.Kfz 223 Ausf.A chassis, complete with everything save for a gearbox will not be restored.

The prime decision taken before starting the project, was what exactly we wanted the 3 Serie Sd.Kfz 223 to represent when it was fully restored. Should it be restored to the finish it had at the time it left the assembly line, or should it be brought back to the time at the end of its operational service?

This Sd.Kfz 223 is alleged to have been involved in the Braspart (Brittany) raid to rescue captured Fallschirmjaeger , from the hands of the French resistance. The vehicle was at that time from the vehicle pool of the Kriegsmarine base in Brest.

We were tempted to restore the Sd.Kfz 223 back to 1944 in Brittany, just before it was immobilised outside the La Poste office in Sezun. There are numerous pictures of early Serie Sd.Kfz 222 or 223 that have been refitted internally. Unfortunately the number of upgrades made to this 3 Serie Sd.Kfz 223 over the years, was unknown. The only definitive point in time was when she left the assembly line in 1939. Therefore, we opted to take the armoured car back to this point in time, within her history. We know how she was fitted out then, we know the instrumentation, radio equipment and racking, internal and external paint treatment, seating and equipment stowage. There are undoubtedly questions to be answered but far more would be posed by restoring a 1939 vehicle to a 1944 standard.

We are currently restoring the Sd.Kfz.223 in tandem with the Sd.Kfz.222. The fact both are Ausf. A vehicles is helping to simplify the restoration project.

The Fahrgestellnummer (chassis number) for this vehicle, is 810 740. This completed chassis rolled off Auto Union’s Werk Horch A.G assembly line in May 1939. Auto Union were still working on this series a year later in May 1940. The armour manufacturer, Gebr. Boehler & Co. A.G. in Austria, only started delivering the armour for the Sd.Kfz.223 in September 1940. The completion date for this vehicle is therefore no earlier than September 1940. The chassis was recovered in Brittany in France in a complete condition. A body was added after the war using the parts of three different bodies and a number of new panels. The rear including the engine cover is unfortunately incorrect as it is off an Ausf. B body.

Our Sd.Kfz.223 chassis had been fitted during the previous restoration with the 3.8 litre V8 instead of the original Horch 3.5 litre V8. We will replace the 3.8 litre V8 with the correct 3.5 litre split head V8.

We had been working on obtaining half of the rear for an Ausf. A for nearly 15 years, 2013 was the breakthrough. It had been cut in half at some point and was recovered from a now-legendary Normandy scrapyard by a well known collector. This substantial body section will now be reunited with the Ausf. A chassis.

We have been fortunate in being able to locate all but one of the four required plate visors. We still have time to find another original plate visor. The first three have taken many years to accumulate and we may be forced to reproduce one to fill the gap. The construction of these is a lot more basic that its successor - the Einheitsehklappe .

The Sd.Kfz 223 chassis has been painted and has now been assembled. The suspension has been fitted and so have the wheel stations. The gearbox and related stays are now installed. All that remains is for the engine and radiator once ready to be installed once they have been restored. More of the correct paint for the component parts was ordered to allow touching up parts that had been scuffed or missed. The 'one shot' lubrication system has now been fitted, using 8mm and 4mm copper pipe. The lubrication hub units (Verteiler ) have been cleaned and the olives and fittings have been machined and prepared for final fitting. The first brake line has also been fitted. This original brake line was fortunately in good condition and could be pressed into service once more. The other brake line is planned to be replaced with a superb new replacement.

Planning for the Drehsockel MG mount for the Sd.Kfz 223 is well underway. The original parts that we have, will be pressed into action in the assembly of this very rare MG mount.

Hinges have been made, which will allow the doors to be mounted on to the body. Once completed, the body will be placed temporally in storage. This will give us more space in the workshop, until we can get back to focus on the body.

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