Austin Champ, trailer, Sankey, Brockhouse

This is not a definitive page on trailers that would usually have been used with the Austin Champ in the army but I hope there may be something of value. The definitive article was written by John Mastrangelo in October 2002 which covers dates, chassis numbers, specifications, etc. The article was entitled, "Post-War Pattern British FV2300 Series Cargo Trailers."

The Austin Champ is not the best load carrier, even in civilian life. It's surprising how much gear I take for a day at a show and I did, once, drop a camping chair out of the back of my Champ!
The trailers that are generally known as, 'Champ Trailers' are the Mk1's and Mk 2's', these were made by both Sankey and Brockhouse - both makes are virtually identical.
The Sankey or Brockhouse Mk 1's and Mk 2's were not the only trailers that were used in service by the army. One of the others is the WW2 Jeep trailer (photo later).
The easiest way to identify between a Mk 1 and Mk 2 trailer is that the Mk 1 has pressings (or called more correctly, 'swages') in the body panels and the Mk2 is plain-sided. There is a variation on the Mk 1 pressings: the very early Mk 1's had pressings in the shape of an, 'H' and the later ones in the shape of diagonal crosses. I have never seen an 'H' pressed trailer and nor has anyone I know ever seen one either.
Below is a picture of a Mk 1
Austin Champ Mk1 trailer

Below: the rear trailer is a Mk2 with smooth sides and the one behind the Champ is a Mk1 with the cross pressings - although the army could tow two trailers it would be illegal to do it today.
Austin Champ Mk1 & Mk2 trailers

Trailer covers.
In the photo below is a trailer with a cover but no cover supports so the cover sags in the middle. In the photo two Champ owners are playing with their model Stalwart at a rain-soaked show.
Austin Champ trailer cover

In the next photo is a trailer cover with the correct supports.
I say 'correct' because these supports look like army issue - shown in the next two photos after the one below.
Austin Champ trailer cover

Austin Champ trailer cover

Austin Champ trailer cover

Front towing coupling: this is known as 'reversible'. By rotating the coupling 180 degrees it can be set to a high or low setting for different towing vehicles.
In theory to rotate the coupling takes a few minutes. Undo the two bolts on the flange, turn the coupling 180 degrees and put the bolts back in.
In practise, the job may be impossible. I bought a trailer for spares and as an excercise tried to rotate the coupling. Even with heat, penetrating oil the coupling never moved.
My advice: if buying a trailer for full price, and the coupling is in the wrong position, get the seller to rotate the coupling before paying for the trailer.
Austin Champ trailer cover

The 'T' shaped reflector was the first type to be fitted and is very rare now. Mine cost £80.00 on eBay in 2010. Do I actually want to fit it or, would it 'disappear' at a show?
Austin Champ T reflector

An interesting picture of an in-service cable-laying trailer. It has the T reflector but also 2 circular reflectors.
Note the trailer no. 71BN83. In civilian use trailers carry the registration number of the towing vehicle, not so in military use. The number of the trailer was made up from the chassis number of the trailer.
Austin Champ T reflector

In-service pictures of other trailers used.
Austin Champ T reflector

The original lighting was just tail lights with a 4 pin socket (Warner socket) on the back of the Champ and a socket on the front of the trailer and a cable between.
4 wires are not enough for brake lights and winkers. My solution was to put a modern 7 pin socket on a magnetic plate to attach to the Champ body on the inner rear bodywork over the offside rear wheel. Originally I used a trailer board on the rear of the trailer but now use magnetic light sets on each side on the rear of the trailer.