Author Topic: How Did You Start Your Halftrack Addiction?  (Read 3943 times)

steve1973

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How Did You Start Your Halftrack Addiction?
« on: July 11, 2016, 09:00:44 PM »
Some years back Don started this thread over on the G503 site, http://g503.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=175104. I thought I would introduce the topic here as there are a lot of new owners. Here is mine from the G503 site.


Re: OK so how did your halftrack addiction start?

Postby steve1973 » Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:21 am

My intro to halftracks started back in 2003 due to a co-worker and his subscription to Military Vehicle Magazine. He is a gun collector and likes old military vehicles. I believe it was back in 2004 when the magazine had an entire issue devoted to halftracks. That was my first exposure to them. I then started seeing them in old war movies and some TV shows. I remember chatting to Gary H. and Rod S. to see what is available to restore one. At this point I still haven’t seen one in person, only photos and video. I then tried to buy one from a guy in Reno, NV but that fell through.  Just by chance while filling up with gas in Yreka, CA, I spotted a track. That was my first real contact with a halftrack. My first impression is that I got to have one. It took me a while to track down the owner and we chatted a bit and gave me some advice. My next trip through Yreka I stopped by to talk some more and to discover he now has two. I did my best to try and talk him out of one but failed. He did however let me crawl all over to take pictures and such. I learned a lot from that visit. I then started tracking them on eBay and tried bidding on one from Steve P. in California (the one with the dump bed). I was out bid.

It wasn’t until a few months before the MVPA Convention in Portland, OR did I actually get my first halftrack. It was delivered the week of the convention and with some maneuvering squeezed it into my now crowded shop. It is a yellow one I got off of eBay from Barstow, CA. The funny thing about this is when the track was being unloaded the mail lady came by and asked if this thing was mine. At the time I had the entire parking lot blocked off so she couldn’t get to the other businesses. Oh great, I’m in her way is what I was thinking. Well, it wasn’t what she was thinking. Her relative in eastern Oregon had some of these on their property and asked if I would be interested in them. Are you kidding me is all I could think of. A month later another co-worker told me of another halftrack in a wrecking yard just down the street from where I lived. This one was just a rolling chassis with a good roller.

Back to the convention. I did make it on Friday and this was my first true exposure to WWII Army vehicles and surplus. My Dad was in the Navy on a fast attack sub and had been exposed to such. I am very fond of WWII naval history but had no clue to WWII Army history other than I own a halftrack. I had no clue what I was looking for or what to look for. I did meet some very nice people that owned haftracks including another newbe at the time, Don G.

A year later, I tried to get the one from the wrecking yard. I was unsuccessful as he wanted to keep it and make it into a recovery vehicle. I did manage to get some parts from it though. I then made the trip to eastern Oregon to look at the ones over there. Don and I at the time were planning to buy them the split them up in parts but then I found another halftrack in Salem, OR. It had a complete roller assembly and complete rear track armor. I ended up buying that and giving Don dibs on the ones in eastern Oregon and he bought those. I now have two halftracks to build one and collecting parts. I hope to start on the tear down next winter. I have another project to finish up first. That is my halftrack tale.

Update 7-11-2016
I ended up getting a third halftrack which was a barn find just outside of Portland, Oregon. This one was my first running halftrack. I only had it for a short time as just before heading down to Tower Park in April of 2011 I was working on a forth halftrack. It took the help of Gary H. who ended up purchasing my first three halftracks so I could buy the fourth halftrack. That is the one I have today.

Steve A.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2016, 09:14:40 PM by steve1973 »

emptyhead

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Re: How Did You Start Your Halftrack Addiction?
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2016, 04:32:40 AM »
Mine started a long time ago with a cheap model in a 5&10 store when I was a wee lad. Never progress further then models while I was in my teens. Seen one beat up half track on display while I was in the marines but nothing came of that. Fast forward about twenty years my friend ask if I wanted to go to a military museum in ct and I went. Pretty cool place. They where selling old issues of military vehicle magazine for a quarter and I think I got the same issue you got steve. The guy on the cover with his track lived a couple of miles from me go figure. Tried to get in touch with him but he moved south a year or two before. Hooked up with some reenactors and now here I sit 2/3 done mostly broke and finally living my childhood dream. Just took a little while. Thanks all you guys for the help so far.

vj

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Re: How Did You Start Your Halftrack Addiction?
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2016, 08:33:14 PM »
 Well, I got my first halftrack  2003, It was at a scrap  yard, with a large crane and counter weight, I got it for 1 thousand dollars.  I got the crane cut off, then went to work. Then I bought three more halftracks, I got two for 15hunderd each.  I bought the T17 halftrack for 12hundred, but did not know what it was. I  use to go to southern part, to buy thing, they wanted to  sell me what they had left.  I got several parts  left, but not for sell.  Hang on to your part they getting hard to find. Also seem like the halftrack folks have drifted apart. VJ

WayOffTrack

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Re: How Did You Start Your Halftrack Addiction?
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2016, 08:49:29 AM »
I got into it because of my father. He collected military surplus and guns and bought his first halftrack in 1972. This is a pic of me trying to work on it I'm probably about 12 years old. Next he found out about the place in Memphis and decided to buy another halftrack in much better condition, one with a motor lol and running at that. After he got his first track I started to notice them in movies and books and what not. There was a book in my JR HS library I about wore out, still trying to find a copy. He also had a few dodges and a cckw and a couple of jeeps. Stuff was pretty easy to find back then. About the time I got out of college he had a big auction similar to the recent auction in Ohio. It was kinda sad. Not long after that he lost interest in everything. I thought about if I wanted to continue on in the hobby or not and ultimately decided I did, finally buying a scout car to restore in 1987. Wasn't sure I'd ever be able to afford a halftrack, the guy I bought the scout car chassis from had a set of Izzy tracks (hard to find in 1987) and he wanted 5k for the set. I remember thinking there is no way I can ever do that. Funny now that I think back on it. I never regretted my decision to get into the hobby and carry on the tradition.

« Last Edit: July 22, 2016, 07:26:54 AM by WayOffTrack »

spec4don

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Re: How Did You Start Your Halftrack Addiction?
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2016, 10:12:42 AM »
My wife asked me the other day why I like half tracks so much? Well I thought about it for a while and I remember the first half track I ever saw was one of the Auburn green plastic halftracks when I was 5. I liked it so much I took it home with me :D However since came out of someone elses yard, my parents made me take it back, (after the spanking for stealing), and tell the people what I'd done :( Mom and Dad were funny that way. But I guess I was hooked. A few years later I got a Marx WW2 play set and it had a couple half tracks in it. Plus watching every episode of Combat (lots of halftrack shots).

After my time in the service (which really stoked my MV passion) when I started working with heavy equipment I remember the Southern equipment adds in Rock and Dirt. YOU COULD BUY HALFTRACKS :mrgreen: Of course back then I couldn't afford one but it was nice to dream.

Then finally after all these years a real one finally falls into my lap. :mrgreen: :D :D 8) And so it began :shock: But the real clincher was after all these years I finally went on EBAY and bought one of those green Auburn halftracks and I don't have to take it back or get a whoopin 8)

Thats my story and I'm stickin to it :wink:

Don G.

So now I have a second halftrack to restore. Going for the M21.
1941 M2A1 not restored
1942 M3 Diamond T Mostly restored
1943 M3A1 Under restoration
1967 M51A2 Tractor
1945 WC 63 needs restoration
1967 M36 Long wheel base duece
1951 M135 GMC Fire truck conversion

steve1973

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Re: How Did You Start Your Halftrack Addiction?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2017, 06:30:04 AM »
Just thought I would bump this up to the top again as there are some new halftrack owners out there.

Steve A.

8683jb

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Re: How Did You Start Your Halftrack Addiction?
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2017, 02:56:25 PM »
Well Steve, since you asked...

My half track addiction started just a few years ago, when after losing my wife in 2009 I got out of the 30-year hobby of old airplanes. My girlfriend and I were headed up to central California and stopped at Kramer Junction on Hwy 395 at a small automotive museum. In a back room they had two half tracks and I remember standing in front of them, and like a bolt from above, I realized I needed one! How could it have taken me 60+ years to realize that?!

Since I needed a new hobby anyway, the search was on and after looking at a couple that had been restored, I was hooked! A half track, I soon learned, is much like a metal lathe - how can any household possibly do without one?

I looked around for a couple of years from California to Minnesota and then made a trip to Kevin Lockwood's shop in Great Bend, KS. He had three or four in various conditions that he was willing to sell and after looking at some of those, we were walking through the shop and he stopped at an M2A1 roller model that was in line with the rest of his fleet. He said he had one like it at the other end of the line and he could probably sell that one. He warned me that the undercarriage was pretty much non-existent and that it would be a ton of work and very expensive to replace it. He had an M2 for less money with much better undercarriage that he advised me to buy instead. That one needed more metal work and wasn't quite as complete as the M2A1. I was concerned that since I'm getting older and "hurtier" every day, the additional metal work of the M2 might do me in more so than the undercarriage of the M2A1, so I bought the M2A1. It runs like a watch and drives, more or less, although I don't take it off the place since the tires and tracks could depart at any time.

I know I won't live long enough to do a frame-off restoration, but I do hope to make it a fairly complete and presentable driver. So I've been chipping away at it, slowly replacing the stuff that's been removed over the last several decades. I have completely re-wired it, replaced the engine instruments and gone through the fuel system. I'm starting on the brake system now and have started breaking down the pallet-load of bogie hubs and wheels I got from Steve-O to replace the worn-out ones on the half track. Depending on Starpoint's timing, the rest of the undercarriage will be next. Then, along with the myriad other things to be done, get the rest of the rear armor back on it.

So that's how mine started.

It's a huge help to have a site like this where there are so many other half track addicts willing to share so much information and it's very much appreciated!

Meanwhile, the house is falling down around me. But I can't be wasting time working on the house – I have a half track!

Jon
« Last Edit: August 22, 2017, 03:10:37 PM by 8683jb »
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halftracknut

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Re: How Did You Start Your Halftrack Addiction?
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2017, 08:23:34 PM »
My father was a member of a halftrack unit during part of his WWII service and I grew up listening to halftrack stories...I guess that did it...Its like working on a dozer, everything you touch is heavy.

8683jb

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Re: How Did You Start Your Halftrack Addiction?
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2017, 10:39:41 PM »
...and stuck.
'42 Autocar M2A1

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Cleprechaun

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Re: How Did You Start Your Halftrack Addiction?
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2018, 10:20:54 PM »
1980-ish I saw a HT driving on the road near Azusa Cyn. In Azusa Ca. The hook was in. 2010-ish I gave Gary a check with the criteria of “nothing has to work but there must enough of it left so I know what it should look like”. I sold every hobby thing I had for parts. I just now retired 4/11/2018 and can now put it together. I’m in Corona Ca. and need to get aquanted with local HT owners for brain picking. I know there is a guy in nearby Winchester who I am told displays his HT near the road. HELP !

steve1973

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Re: How Did You Start Your Halftrack Addiction?
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2018, 10:39:52 PM »
Welcome to the forum! Congratulations on your halftrack project. Keep us updates on your project and feel free to ask questions.

Steve A.

8683jb

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Re: How Did You Start Your Halftrack Addiction?
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2018, 03:27:32 PM »
1980-ish I saw a HT driving on the road near Azusa Cyn. In Azusa Ca. The hook was in. 2010-ish I gave Gary a check with the criteria of “nothing has to work but there must enough of it left so I know what it should look like”. I sold every hobby thing I had for parts. I just now retired 4/11/2018 and can now put it together. I’m in Corona Ca. and need to get aquanted with local HT owners for brain picking. I know there is a guy in nearby Winchester who I am told displays his HT near the road. HELP !
Congratulations on your retirement! I don't know how much help I can offer, and mine's not complete yet, but if you need to look at or measure anything on it I'm just down the road an hour and a half or so in Lakeside.
Jon
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Cleprechaun

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Re: How Did You Start Your Halftrack Addiction?
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2018, 04:12:05 PM »
Jon, I might just take you up on that measurement offer. I’d like to take a crack at making some of my own parts (window / windshield armor, passenger floor boards). You wouldn’t happen to have a clear picture of the area where the louvre lever pivots on the passenger floor area by chance? I have a large rusty hole there. Thanks

8683jb

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Re: How Did You Start Your Halftrack Addiction?
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2018, 07:30:38 PM »
You wouldn’t happen to have a clear picture of the area where the louvre lever pivots on the passenger floor area by chance? I have a large rusty hole there. Thanks
I'll try to get some pictures of it in the morning.
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8683jb

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Re: How Did You Start Your Halftrack Addiction?
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2018, 09:40:06 AM »
Here you go:









Let me know if you need more.
Jon
« Last Edit: April 19, 2018, 09:59:30 AM by 8683jb »
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