The preservation of polar exploration vehicles of famous French explorer Paul-Emile Victor included a sequence at UNIVEM where they got prepared for the big yearly exhibition in Paris : “Retromobile”
big vehicle is a “modern” « Hotchkiss » HB40, the small one is a WWII Studebaker Weasel M29C (see “Association vehicles”)
Paul-Emile Victor hears in 1947 that several hundreds Weasels form the U.S. army surplus are stored outdoors at the Fontainebleau ERGM (Escadron de Réserve Gendramerie Mobile). The hull plugs were not removed, they were full of water. Following an extensive overhaul some are used for the first expeditions in Greenland in 1948 and in Terre Adelie in 1949. About 50 Weasels will be used during a thirty year period. They demonstrated their effectiveness, thanks especially to their light weight (payload of 1000 pounds for a weight of 3800 pounds, ground pressure: 1.9 psi)
Hotchkiss HB40 tabulated data:
Length : 4.20 m
Width : 2.30 m
Heigth : 2.80 m
Ground clearence : 0.32 m
Cargo area : 5m²
Empty weight: 3.600 Kg (8,000 pounds)
Loaded weight: 5.000 Kg (11,000 pounds)
Ground pressure: 125 g/cm2, 1.8 psi (empty) 175 g/cm2, 2.5 psi (loaded)
Gasoline engine, Hotchkiss « 3501 », 125 hp, 4 cylinders in line, 3.5 liters (213.5 cu in.) Off-road Carburator, with automatic correction for altitude.
Gear box Hotchkiss « 178 », 4 synchronized speed, with power take-off. Transfer case Hotchkiss, 2 speeds. Differentia gear Hotchkiss « Cleveland », incorporating the braking and steering devices.
Tracks: magnesium wheels with rubber, tracks made of two, single-piece each, armed rubber bands, interchangeable track shoes of several types.
Suspension : Neidhart type, with 4 rubber blocks
Gasoline tank: 300 liters (80 gallons). Possible range : 135 km