Kfz 17/1 restoration part 1: The chassis

It must have been around 2005 that I first encountered the Kfz.17 chassis in a friend's vehicle collection. Small details such as the extra fusebox for the internal lighting told it apart from a "normal" Kfz.15 chassis. Being an avid collector of radio equipment I could only dream of German radio vehicles and I implored my friend to restore it with a radio body. Since he was more interested in a open bodied Kfz.15 body the chassis remained unrestored for a couple more years. Around that same time I toyed with the idea of building a radio car mockup indoors to exhibit some of my radio equipment when another friend offered me an original radio table from a Kfz.17 radio vehicle. I started to research and collect more interior details of the vehicle when my friend (who had the Kfz.17 chassis) found a more complete Kfz.15 and rather jockingly suggested I might want to buy his Kfz.17 chassis and rebuild a radio car myself. That is when I decided to take the plunge and I found myself with a project!

A tentative start was made with stripping and cleaning the chassis and I found myself with an ever growing pile of rusty bits. The wooden body remained a problem, as the original wood had largely rotted away. I was able to find enough orignal body parts to understand how the body sized and constructed. Detailed photographs of an original surviving body in Norway also helped with the re-engineering of the body. Together with another interested restorer we found a woodworker in Germany who took on the task of rebuilding the ash and beech frame (as we had found in the original parts).

In the mean time a second more complete Kfz.17 came my way, the restoration of which was given priority of my time and resources, but about 7 years had past since I first set eye on the Kfz.17 chassis the restoration finally started to accellerate with the chassis and mechanicals coming back together. In the summer of 2013 I finally had the completed chassis in my garage so I could start the work on the Kfz17/1 body...