A few days ago we had posted about “Houston-Kid II”, a composite hull M4 105mm gun tank that appeared in some ads for World of Tanks during the Superbowl. We had asked if anyone knew any details regarding this particular tank. Thanks to a tip from Wargaming’s North American tank expert Nick Moran, we now know that this tank is from South Africa. This tank originally came from the South African Defense Force School of Armour in Bloemfontein. By 2007, it had been handed over to the Sandstone Heritage Trust who went to work making the tank mobile again. By 2008 the tank was up and running, although with a modern engine not original to any M4 variant. For details of the restoration, go to the Sandstone Estates website here. Below is a excerpt from the site explaining the changes made to the vehicle. The picture below shows the alterations made to the rear deck to accommodate the new cooling fans.
This example has been modified locally, by fitting a large V8 Mercedes Benz / Atlantis Diesel Engine 442 twin-turbo diesel engine, rated at 400 hp @ 2100 rpm. Max torque is 1600 nm @ 1100-1500 rpm. Fitted directly to the engine is an Allison AC740 CR (close ratio) 4-speed automatic gearbox with the prop-shaft running into the original gearbox which now acts as a transfer box. This in effect gives the vehicle a total of 24 forward and 6 reverse gears.
Top speed is 45 kmh. Fuel consumption is now +/- 2.5 litres per km compared with 9 litres per km with the Continental engine!
Further modifications to this vehicle include the fitment of electronically operated turret turning motors (which were not standard on this specific type) and the fitment of modern optical equipment and sights.
The other major modification on the vehicle was the fitment of twin radiators with accompanying cooling fans. These radiators are fitted in such a way that the complete radiator pack swivels open in less than a minute for easy engine access.