Gutty and Mudlark booked for Austin Champ celebrations

| 24 Jan 2012

The only surviving Nuffield Gutty – a British Jeep replacement prototype – is to make a rare outing for a huge celebration marking 60 years since the Austin Champ entered army service.

The Gutty and one of only two surviving Wolseley Mudlarks – the missing link between the Gutty and the Champ – will be on show alongside 100 or more of the Austin variants on 23-24 June in Evesham, Worcestershire.

The Gutty was designed by a team that included Sir Alec Issigonis and was built by Nuffield Mechanisations. As well as monocoque construction it boasted independent suspension by torsion bars, while the electrics were waterproofed and screened for radio suppression.

It was powered by Morris’s experimental flat four, water-cooled 1800cc petrol engine, an adaptation of the 800 and 1100cc units that Issigonis originally planned to use in the Morris Mosquito, forerunner of the Morris 1000.

JLR 490 was one of two Guttys trialled by the Army in 1946 and 1947. A third is rumoured to have been built and possibly retained by Nuffield itself.

Phil Plumb, vehicle co-ordinator for the Austin Champ Owners' Club gathering – part of the Wartime in the Vale show – said: "To have the Gutty appearing is a real feather in the ACOC’s cap. Negotiations to secure it began in December 2007 and since then the custodianship of the Gutty changed.

"Thankfully, Steven Laing, Curator of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust collection, recognised the Gutty for what it is, a major landmark in the development of the 4x4 vehicle in the UK.

"As a result, when they took delivery of it in June 2011 they put it on immediate display at Gaydon and it has attracted a lot of attention. It hasn’t been seen outside for almost 10 years. We are incredibly grateful to Steven and the Heritage Trust for allowing us to display it.”

The results of the Gutty trials led to the development of the next generation of experimental 4x4 vehicle, the Rolls-Royce-powered Wolseley Mudlark. The Mudlark then led to the Champ in 1952.