Quiz about The Austin Champ
Quiz about The Austin Champ

The Austin Champ Trivia Quiz


The Austin Champ was an idiosyncratic four-wheel drive vehicle produced by the Austin Motor Company for the British Army in the 1950s. Some knowledge of military vehicles of the period would be helpful!

A multiple-choice quiz by Charlesw321. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
Charlesw321
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
352,142
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
286
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. The Champ was produced after World War II, between which years? Hint

1945 - 1955
1951 - 1956
1962 - 1968
1947 - 1955

2. The Army designation 'Truck, 1/4 ton, CT, 44, cargo & FFW, Austin Mk.1' meant that it was a four-wheel drive vehicle designed for CombaT to carry a quarter-ton of cargo and manufactured by Austin. What did 'FFW' mean? Hint

Failure-free Warranted
Fat-free Weight
Future Force Warcraft
Fitted for Wireless

3. Austin contracted to produce 15,000 Champs, but only about 11,000 were built. Why? Hint

The soldiers didn't like it
Its cross-country performance wasn't good enough
The vehicle was expensive and proved too complicated for combat work
The government cut back on its defence budget

4. The Champ had a few features which could trap the unwary driver, the main one concerning the transmission. What was this oddity? Hint

It had a continuously variable transmission
It had no synchromesh in any gear
It had a preselector gearbox
The gearbox had no reverse gear

5. The original specification for the Champ called for a Rolls-Royce petrol engine to be fitted, but when production started it was found that R-R did not have the capacity to produce the required number. How was this problem resolved? Hint

The engine was built under licence by another manufacturer
Rolls-Royce enlarged their assembly line
Another engine was specified
Austin slowed down their vehicle production rate to match Rolls-Royce's output

6. 'Wading' a vehicle means driving it through water. What was the maximum depth that a Champ could wade without any preparation? Hint

3 feet (0.91 metres)
2 feet (0.61 metres)
1 foot (0.30 metres)
4 feet (1.22 metres)

7. The Champ's top speed driving forwards was just over 60 mph (98 kph). What was its top speed in reverse? Hint

10 mph (16 kph)
15 mph (24 kph)
20 mph (32 kph)
The same

8. Did the Champ ever see service in a war?

Yes
No

9. Which major component was the weakest point on the Champ - its 'Achilles heel' - which caused the majority of problems? Hint

The gearbox
The chassis
The engine
The rear axle

10. After the Champ, Austin went on to produce another four-wheel drive vehicle. What was it called? Hint

The Justy
The Gipsy
The Freelander
The Pathfinder


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The Champ was produced after World War II, between which years?

Answer: 1951 - 1956

In 1947 the Army issued a specification for a light truck to replace the American Willys jeep which was then in use. This was to reduce dependency on foreign vehicles and the cost involved. The Nuffield Organisation responded by building three prototypes of a vehicle known as the 'Nuffield Gutty'. Testing revealed a number of defects, and the design was modified by Government engineers at the Fighting Vehicles Research and Development Establishment. About thirty prototypes of the improved design were built by Wolseley Motors Limited, which was a part of Nuffield, under the name 'Wolseley Mudlark'. After further enhancements the design was finalised, and a contract awarded to the Austin Motor Company to supply 15,000 vehicles to the Army. In order to increase profits, Austin was given permission to produce a civilian version, and eventually about 500 of these were built.

The military version was designated 'Truck, 1/4 ton, CT, 44, cargo & FFW, Austin Mk.1' and the civilian model was sold as the 'Champ', but soon the civilian name was used throughout the Army, albeit unofficially.
2. The Army designation 'Truck, 1/4 ton, CT, 44, cargo & FFW, Austin Mk.1' meant that it was a four-wheel drive vehicle designed for CombaT to carry a quarter-ton of cargo and manufactured by Austin. What did 'FFW' mean?

Answer: Fitted for Wireless

There were two versions of the military Champ. One was the basic cargo version and the other was designed to carry a radio transmitter/receiver. These were designated FFW (Fitted for Wireless), later to become 'FFR' (Fitted for Radio). FFW/FFR vehicles differed from the 'cargo' version in having additional batteries and cabling, and minor body modifications to accommodate the radio set. They were also fitted with a modified generator; this incorporated a two-speed automatic gearbox which allowed high electrical output at engine idling speeds. This gearbox was lubricated by circulating the engine oil through it.
A 'failure-free' warranty is an arrangement set up between a designer and a manufacturer to ensure maximum quality, and has no relevance here. 'Future force warrior' is an American military term to denote a high-tech infantryman amounting virtually to a one-man army. 'Fat-free weight' is the weight of an animal body (usually human) excluding all subcutaneous body fat.
3. Austin contracted to produce 15,000 Champs, but only about 11,000 were built. Why?

Answer: The vehicle was expensive and proved too complicated for combat work

The Champ had excellent cross-country performance for its time, largely due to its short wheelbase (seven feet) and its all-round torsion bar independent suspension (designed by Alec Issigonis, who was also responsible for the Morris Minor and later, the Austin Mini). On the other hand, it was mechanically complex and required special tools, which made it difficult to maintain in the field. In 1951 a cargo Champ cost about 1200 (over 30,000 at 2012 values), with the FFW costing 100 more. This was twice the price of its competitor, the Land Rover. As a result the contract with Austin was terminated early and the British Army, which had been using the Land Rover since 1949, adopted it as its standard ton truck in 1953. Apart from being cheaper, the Land Rover was easier to maintain and generally more practical. Champ production continued, however, until 1956.

The Champ had a simple Jeep-type flat hood and additional weather protection was afforded by clumsy canvas side screens. Troops did prefer the Land Rover for its enclosed cab, although this is unlikely to have been a major factor in its selection. As a consequence of the withdrawal of the Champ from military service, they were all sold by auction in the middle to late 60s, usually at prices representing a fraction of their value. I myself bought one in 1967 for 25 and ran it for several years with very little trouble.
4. The Champ had a few features which could trap the unwary driver, the main one concerning the transmission. What was this oddity?

Answer: The gearbox had no reverse gear

It's true! - the gearbox had no reverse gear. It had five forward gears, all with synchromesh, and a propellor shaft to the rear axle, which incorporated a transfer box incorporating forward and reverse gears with identical ratios. There was a second shaft running from the transfer box to the front axle, where a simple dog-clutch engaged four-wheel drive. There was no low/high provision in the transfer box, and first gear was a 'crawler', only used cross-country. In fact some vehicles had a crude interlock fitted which prevented selection of this gear unless four-wheel-drive was engaged.

The continuously variable transmission has no fixed-ratio gears, but has a mechanism which moves smoothly through an infinite number of ratios. A preselector gearbox is one in which the gear is 'pre-selected' before the actual change is effected by operating a separate control.
5. The original specification for the Champ called for a Rolls-Royce petrol engine to be fitted, but when production started it was found that R-R did not have the capacity to produce the required number. How was this problem resolved?

Answer: The engine was built under licence by another manufacturer

In fact, Austin took over manufacture of the engine. The engine originally fitted to the Champ was the Rolls-Royce B40 four-cylinder in-line 2838 cc 'F-head'. This refers to the valve arrangement (overhead inlet and side exhaust). The B40 design dated back to 1936, although it was not developed until the late 1940s, and it was built with reliability and longevity having priority over fuel economy. When it became apparent that Rolls-Royce could not build engines at the required rate, a licence was granted and tooling lent to Austin to manufacture engines to the same design. It is difficult to trace exact numbers, but probably about a quarter of the Champs built were fitted with the Rolls-Royce product. This unfortunately denies the cherished belief that all Champs had Rolls-Royce engines. Both versions of the engine were fully waterproofed for wading the vehicle.

For economy reasons, the civilian version had a modified Austin 4 cylinder engine of 2660 cc, as fitted to the Austin A90 Atlantic convertible, although the Austin-built B40 was optional.
6. 'Wading' a vehicle means driving it through water. What was the maximum depth that a Champ could wade without any preparation?

Answer: 3 feet (0.91 metres)

The engine air intake was mounted high on the side of the vehicle, and this allowed it to travel slowly in water up to three feet deep. All mechanical and electrical components were sealed against the ingress of water during manufacture, making further preparation unnecessary.

The intake was designed to accept a snorkel tube which, when fitted, allowed a wading depth of up to six feet (1.83 metres). When doing this, the driver is well-advised to wear SCUBA gear, or to stand on the seat and use the hand throttle!
7. The Champ's top speed driving forwards was just over 60 mph (98 kph). What was its top speed in reverse?

Answer: The same

Remember the somewhat eccentric transmission! There was no reverse gear in the gearbox, but forward or reverse could be selected in the transfer box (mounted in the back axle) by means of a separate lever. Thus the vehicle had five forward and five reverse gears, which allowed it to travel at top speed backwards (if the driver had the nerve), and this gave rise to many ill-mannered jests concerning the armies of certain countries.
8. Did the Champ ever see service in a war?

Answer: Yes

At least five early vehicles were sent to Korea for trials in 1953 at the end of the conflict there. This was the Champ's only involvement in a war. Apart from the UK, it also saw Army service in Germany, Libya, Cyprus and Suez (during the 1956 crisi). These were occupation or policing activities rather than combats.
9. Which major component was the weakest point on the Champ - its 'Achilles heel' - which caused the majority of problems?

Answer: The rear axle

The transfer box, which transmitted drive to the front axle and provided the forward and reverse gears, was integral with the rear axle and shared a common 'splash' lubrication system with the differential. If the oil level was not properly maintained, damage could easily result, usually to the crown wheel and pinion. A tendency for leaks to develop at various joints in the axle/transfer box unit exacerbated the problem. Champs sold out of Army service to civilian owners were often not maintained to the exacting schedules required and this contributed to the vehicle's reputation for having a 'dodgy back end'.

The other units mentioned were all heavily engineered and gave little trouble.
10. After the Champ, Austin went on to produce another four-wheel drive vehicle. What was it called?

Answer: The Gipsy

Over 21,000 Austin Gipsies were manufactured between 1958 and 1967 in an attempt to compete with the Land Rover. Like the Champ, it had all-round independent suspension, but using a novel system of rubber torsion springs. These were later abandoned in favour of conventional leaf springs. It was offered with two litre petrol or diesel engines. Initially only a 90-inch wheelbase version was available, but later a long wheelbase (111-inch) model was added.

Austin was part of the British Motor Corporation (BMC). When it merged with British Leyland, which owned Land Rover, in 1967, both vehicles were being made by the same company, and production of the Gipsy ceased.

The others listed are all four-wheel drive vehicles. The Freelander is a current Land Rover model; the Pathfinder is built by Nissan, and the Justy was produced by Subaru from 1984 - 2010.
Source: Author Charlesw321

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor stedman before going online.
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