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Rare Willys Jeep and Ferret will be on show at Throckenholt museum





Visitors to a museum which showcases gadgets from years gone by will be in for a treat when it reopens later this year with two new military vehicles on display.

A 1950s Ferret – a small tank which runs on wheels instead of tracks – and an American Willys Jeep made in the 1960s are being added to the exhibits at the Museum of Technology - The History of Gadgets and Gizmos, in Throckenholt, run by Trevor Cass and Rosie Hourihane.

The two vehicles, which have been donated to the museum by a private benefactor, have both been stored outside but are currently undergoing repairs and minor refurbishments before they go on public view later this year.

A 1960s Willys Jeep is also being added to the collection at the Museum of Technology in Throckenholt
A 1960s Willys Jeep is also being added to the collection at the Museum of Technology in Throckenholt

Rosie said they have been toying with adding more vehicles to their collection for a while, especially after the popularity of a 1980s military Land Rover, which was unveiled last year.

“It’s wonderful to get our hands on this British-made Ferret,’ she said. “They were made shortly after World War Two, and ours dates back to 1954. Essentially, they’re the poor man’s tank as they have wheels, rather than tracks, and a lot of them didn’t have the turret with the gun poking out the top, but ours does, which makes it a bit rarer.

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“They were used as a defence mechanism during the threat of nuclear war in the 1950s and 60s. This one is 70 years old. There were around 4,500 made and only about 1,000 of them left in circulation, so it’s quite rare.”

The 1954 Ferret, which will be going on display at the Museum of Technology at Throckenholt
The 1954 Ferret, which will be going on display at the Museum of Technology at Throckenholt

Since taking ownership of the machine last week the couple have been removing patches of rust and researching it. It will go on show alongside the Willys Jeep, which was made in America and sent out to Holland where it was used in NATO work.

“This one isn’t in too bad a condition either,” added Rosie. “We’ve given her a good clean down in preparation for her to go on display. I’ve also bought a US military helmet, so any children, or anyone else who wants to for that matter, can sit in it and have a photo opportunity.”

Rosie and Trevor opened the museum – which features a huge and unique collection of artefacts, including early cameras, weaponry from WWI and WWII, telephones, computers and televisions – many of which still work and can be demonstrated – in 2016.

It will reopen to the public for the 2024 season in May.

*For more information about the museum visit museumoftechnology.org.uk

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