Why this WWII M3 Grant tank is riddled with bulletholes

Yessiree, that's a whole lotta holes

IF YOU’VE ever wondered what it’s like to ride in a WWII tank, here’s your answer: “It’s physical, it’s dirty, it’s noisy … and that’s why we like it.”

So says tank restorer Carl Brown, who’ll be demonstrating this bullethole-riddled 1941 M3 Grant at the Classic and Sports Car Show in association with Flywheel later this month.

The M3 Grant was the British version of the M3 Lee medium tank featuring bespoke modifications that the Brits demanded from the American manufacturer, citing flaws in the original design. These included a modified turret with thicker armour and increased space to allowed the use of a smoke bomb launcher.

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This particular Grant was brought to the UK running and gunnery trials early in the war but towards the end of the conflict, when the model had become rather “long in the tooth”, it was used to test the effects of captured enemy ammunition, hence the Swiss cheese-effect armour.

The M3 Grant’s top speed in its day was 16mph off-road and 26mph on the flat, but Brown’s is limited to around 10-12mph.

Although visitors to the show won’t get to ride in Brown’s M3 Grant — the runs will be demonstrations only — rides will be possible in other tanks. It could be a dream come true for some girls and boys, of all ages.

The Classic & Sports Car Show in association with Flywheel takes place on June 23 & 24 at Bicester Heritage, Oxfordshire. The event is a collaboration between Classic & Sports Car magazine and the Flywheel Festival, and combines classic road car and bike displays and competition with vintage aircraft demonstrations, period fairground rides, live music performances, shopping and food stalls.


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