Eden Camp Modern History Theme Museum has just become the proud owner of a rare prototype of a Fox Armoured Car.
The rare military vehicle was destined to go to a private collection in the USA before the museum managed to ensure, at the 11th hour, that it remained in the UK.
Development of the Fox began in 1965, and the following year the Daimler company of Coventry, which was building the Ferret scout car at the time, was awarded a contract to build 15 prototype vehicles, the first being completed in November 1967.
After trailing the prototypes for 18 months, the MoD accepted the design for service with the British Army and a production order was placed with Royal Ordnance Leeds.
Production of the Alvis FV721 Fox began in 1972 and the first vehicle was completed in May 1973.
The Daimler prototypes utilised a 4.2 litre Jaguar engine that was used in the e-type Jaguar road car of the time.
It proved a versatile vehicle – with four-wheel drive and the capability of reaching speeds of close to 65 miles an hour in both forward and reverse gears.
Its 30mm L21 RARDEN (Royal Armament, Research and Development establishment Enfield) autocannon also meant that it packed a bit more firepower than most other conventional armoured scouting vehicles of the period.
Of the 15 prototypes made by Daimler, only four now still exist. Of those four, Eden Camp’s new acquisition is the only one that is licenced to run on the road, making it extremely rare.
However, at 7.4 tons, the Jaguar J60 4.2 Litre in-line 6 cylinder petrol engine consumes a gallon of petrol for every six miles travelled, so the museum’s staff won’t be using it to nip into Malton.
The museum’s manager Nick Hill said: “The Daimler Fox prototype is a valuable and rare addition to our growing collection of running vehicles.
“We are proud that we have been able to ensure that a fine example of British design and engineering is staying in the UK, especially when the production version of the vehicle was built in Yorkshire.
“Our Fox will be maintained in running order and demonstrated on site during the summer months.”