As you may have read in other posts, the Museum of RAF Firefighting was able to make its fundraising targets, secure the Fordson 45 Monitor from the 493rd Bomb Group Museum Debach Airfield and reveal it to the public at LincsFest last weekend. However, now we have the vehicle, the decisions and thoughts now turn to what the Museum actually wants to do with it long term and, more importantly, how are we going to fund it.
The vehicle was last restored nearly 20 years ago and whilst it is still in great mechanical condition, the general appearance and certain parts will need restoration, refurbishment or replacement to ensure the vehicle can be brought back to display standard. This is to be expected of a vehicle that is nearly 80 years old! The decisions also need to be made if the museum completely restores the vehicle to show room standard or preserves its dings, bumps, dents and scratches as these all tell of different stories and use during its lifetime. This isn’t unique to this vehicle. Just have to look at the branch locker doors of a MK6 to find some “usage marks,” from where the branches used to rattle around the locker when the vehicle was on the run! The team have already started to assess the many parts of the vehicle for any obvious signs of fatigue, rust and damage to start understanding how in depth we need to go in the future. The great thing is that Debach stored this vehicle indoors and spared it from the worst the British weather could throw at it.
In the immediate future, the vehicle needs a new set of tyres to standardise the tread pattern and sizes that we currently have on the vehicle. Whilst we could keep the current tyres on as a stop gap, we cannot use the vehicle on the road to bring it to shows as we intend. As you can imagine, six tyres of this size are not cheap with each one costing £300. Engine oil, spark plugs and the other consumables will likely add another £200 on top of that figure to bring it north of £2000.
So, whilst the initial expenditure has been met, there is still a long way to go to bring this vehicle up to the standard that we would like to see it. We still need your help to keep the 45 Monitor Project going and this can be done through a range of methods including our Standing Order Supporter Scheme, Amazon Smile, PayPal Giving or making a purchase out of our online shop. Every donation, no matter how big or small, makes a big difference to our challenge to save this vehicle for future generations.