Priest M7B1

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Starting bid: 150,000.00

Margin
Buyer’s premium 16.5 % of the hammer price and VAT according General Conditions
Location: Nederweert The Netherlands
Year of production: 02-1945
Country of origin: United States of America
Manufacturer:Pressed Steel Car Company, Chicago / Hegewisch Station
Type: M7B1 Self Propelled Howtizer 'Priest'
General condition: Very good condition/runner
Estimated Price: € 550.000 and € 650.000

Movie: Priest M7B1

After an extensive 2 year Class A restoration this WWII veteran is brought back to its former glory. The Priest is equipped with all the characteristic attributes and its handles like it just left the factory in 1945. This is a high-end restoration which can been seen in every detail.

Special offer: Attending the Normandy 80th anniversary with your newly acquired Priest can be arranged by BAIV Events. Please contact us for more details and conditions.

Total Bids Placed:

Auction starting April 19, 2024 12:00 am

Condition

DISCOVERY, RESCUE & RESTORATION

This example is discovered in Germany by BAIV in 2018. Originally it was delivered in February 1945 (Hull no. 4606) by the Pressed Steel Car Company located in south Chicago (called Hegewisch Station) as M7B1. It was vehicle 189 in Series 2. In total 826 Priests are produced till the end of the war.

Straight after it came from the production line in Chicago this Priest was transported to Europe for active service. It most probably served in the final campaign in Germany. Unfortunately details of this period are unknown to us and require historical research.

After the war, it was stored in a US-Army warehouse in Northern France. In the early 60’s it was modified to M7B2 by ABS France (Atelier de construction de Bourges) and saw active in the German army (August Dorf) till the early 70’s. This specific vehicle was in that period used as a training vehicle (FAHRSCHULE). Therefore, it was, according to our findings, always serviced very well.

After its active service this Priest remained as a gate guard at a German Army Base. It was never sent to a shooting practice range. In 2006 it was salvaged by a German collector who transported to his yard in Hollnich / Hunsrück where it remains until its discovery by Ivo Jr. and Sr.

As permits and licenses are in Germany very difficult to obtain it took us till the end of 2021 to get it transported to our workshop in the Netherlands.

Basically, it was very complete, in relatively good condition however it required a total nut-bolt restoration which took over 2 years.  The Priest is equipped with all the characteristic attributes and its handles like it just left the factory in 1945.

The restoration started in 2022, so it can be part of the 80th Anniversary of D-DAY in Normandy in June 2024. Basis for completion was a Class A restoration of the entire vehicle. As we have already a couple projects finished we gathered lots of knowledge of this specific vehicle and have a nice stock of spare parts. From this restoration an elaborate photographic report is available.

The Priest has been brought back to its original condition as being active in the German campaign in the winter / spring 1945. This unique reconversion project was performed by BAIV. During the entire process nearly 3.000 hrs. have been invested.

History

For the duration of the war, the workhorse of the motorized artillery units was a derivative of the most produced tracked platform in the US Army, the M4 Sherman tank. In 1941, US Army observers noticed that more firepower would be needed to support armored operations. Before experiments were made with the Sherman in 1944 with a 105 mm (4.13 in) howitzer in the turret, building SPGs was the easiest way to achieve this, as there were few constraints on the gun carried. The T19 half-tracks were developed for this task, but still lacked protection and off-road capabilities. Eventually, in 1941, the M3 Lee chassis was chosen, leading to a converted prototype, the T32.
The T32 was modified with an open-topped superstructure, mounting a 105 mm (4.13 in) howitzer. This standard M2 howitzer was just entering service when the Pacific War started, and proved to a be highly dependable piece of ordinance, being produced from 1941 to 1953 and used until the 1970s. Accuracy was good, and its HE rounds (105x372R) were noted for their excellent explosive power.
Due to the high transmission of the chassis, the floor was high and the superstructure tall, with flat armored walls to protect the open crew compartment Ammunition was stockpiled inside storage boxes and into the hull (24 rounds). During trials, it was apparent that defensive armament was needed, and provisions were made for an M2 Browning machine gun. This gave an excellent arc of fire, while the howitzer was placed offset to the right. This characteristic was noted by the British commission, which named the new vehicle “Priest”, due to the pulpit-like MG emplacement.
Charged to buy the new tank, they placed an order for 4400 to be delivered in 1943 (never achieved). The new vehicle was accepted for service in February 1942 as the 105 mm Self Propelled Gun, and production started immediately at the American Locomotive Company. It was joined in 1942 by Pressed Steel Car and later by Federal Machine and Welder.
The M7B1 was an upgraded version based on the M4A3 Sherman chassis and standardized in September 1943, 826 were built by Pressed Steel Car. They were characterized by their Ford GAA V-8 (450 hp) engine, new suspensions roadwheels and idlers, and side skirts, with many internal modifications.
The Priest saw action in North-Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, and the entire Western front up to Berlin and proved to be very reliable and successful. The Priest M7B1 saw first action in the battle of the Bulge. There the M7B1 proved to be very effective. Same for the campaign up to Berlin. For this reason, it was also frequently used in the post war period. In the ‘50s the M7B1 was widely used in the Korean war.

Technical

Manufacturer Pressed Steel Car Company, Chicago / Hegewisch Station
Model M7B1 Howitzer Motor Carriage
Manufacturing date February 1945
Serial number 4606
Length 19 ft 9 in (6,02 m)
Width 9 ft 5 in (2,87 m)
Height (top up) 9 ft 8 in (2,95 m)
Height (top down) n/a
Weight 50,045 lb (22.700 kg)
Max. speed (land) 24,4 mph (39 km/h)
Max. speed (water) n/a
Operational range 120 mph (193 km)
Main armament 105 mm M2A1 howitzer
Secondary armament 1x .50 M2 machine gun, note secondary armament not included.
Engine Ford GAA V8 cyl. gasoline, 450 hp
Crew 4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver)
Armor 2 in – 4,2 in (51 – 108 mm)
Production numbers 826 M7B1’s

Note to Buyers

LOCATION

The location of any Lot is indicated with the specific lot number. Specific address details will be provided upon request and to the successful bidder / Buyer.

INSPECTION(S)/ VIEWING DAYS

Inspections (viewing days) are open on:
– USA: Thursday March 14, Friday April 5, Saturday 6 and Friday April 19 2024

– The Netherlands: Saturday April 13 (Nederweert)

Given the fact that these are often very special items whose condition, no matter how hard we try, cannot always be described 100% completely, we really recommend that you make use of this.

IMPORTANT DATES

– Campaign Start: March 1st 2024,

– Release Website and brochure (all items listed and categorized): March 20 2024,

– Bidding Open: Friday April 19 2024 00:00 CET (Dutch American Friendship Day),

– Bidding Ends:

Saturday April 20 2024 (Vehicles)

Saturday May 11 2024 (Parts & Accessories)

Times:             Amsterdam NL (CET): 06:00 PM (18:00)

London: 05:00 PM (17:00)

New York USA: 12:00 AM (12:00)

Sydney AUS: 04:00 AM (04:00) next day

BUYER’S PREMIUM

On all lots a buyer’s premium of 16,5% of the hammer price is charged. Over this buyer’s premium a 21% sales tax (VAT) will be applicable.

PARTS, ACCESSOIRIES & MILITARIA

The batches of spare parts, various accessories and militaria are sold in as-is condition and delivered without any guarantee of functioning.

VEHICLES & VEHICLE RELATED EQUIPMENT

Cars, motorcycles, trucks, cannons or howitzers, armored vehicles, and tanks are sold in as-is condition, with no technical guarantee and guarantee of authenticity and with or without registration.

Arms & weapons

The Auction House will not supply ANY item unless the correct paperwork and licensing – if needed – has been supplied by the Buyer in full.

If required and applicable (fire)arms can be made inoperable or permanently disabled by BAIV in The Netherlands as being a licensed Arms & Weapons Dealer Registration Nr. NL20191618779. In this case all relevant cost will be charged to the Buyer in addition and have to be paid in advance in full. Collection by appointment only!

MARGIN/ VAT

However, for most of the lots 21% sales tax (VAT) over the hammer price will be not applicable, it might be that in some specific cases sales tax (VAT) over the hammer price will be charged. In such a case this will be specifically specified in the lot description. For all other lots the margin scheme will be applicable. For more info see our General Conditions of Sale Article 9 on our website; www.tracksandtrade.com

 

COLLECTION

Due to our participation in the commemorations of D-DAY in Normandy France collection of all lots is scheduled for the period Monday June 24 till Friday July 5 2024. However, for buyers who want to participate with their purchased lot at the 80th Anniversary Commemorations in Normandy this can of course be deviated from. In such a case please let us know soonest.
import and export

Depending on the destination and content of the Lot the Buyer shall obtain an International Import Certificate / End User Certificate. Some of the items listed in the auction may require special licenses or permits or existing documents must be prepared for export. If this is relevant, Tracks & Trade will take care of this. The applicable costs will be charged to the successful bidder. Please email [email protected] if you have any questions or concerns. No item will be allowed to be collected without 100% of all legal requirements being fulfilled.

Delivery

Removal of lots must be completed by June 28 2024 after full payment and 100% coverage of all legal requirements. No storage fees will be applicable until that date.

Shipping and packing costs and special costs that arise for loading special items, such as crane costs or costs for hiring special equipment etc., will be charged to the Buyer on the basis of actual costs + a surcharge of 10%. Naturally, you can count on us when it comes to the shipment of your purchases. We are happy to take care of that!

STORAGE

Lots not picked up by Buyers before June 28 2024 will be returned to secure storage at Buyer’s expense. In this case storage fees will be applied as follows:
– Parts & accessories: € 25,- / lot / week.

– Cars and motorcycles: € 50,- / lot / week.

– Armored vehicles, tanks, cannons etc. € 75,- / lot / week.

Listed storage fees excluding 21% VAT.

NOTE
If you have any specific questions, please contact us either by telephone (+31 6 518 22 502) or E-mail ([email protected]). We are happy to help and support you through the entire process. We will do our utmost to please and comfort you.
So, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!

GENERAL CONDITIONS

All information and transactions are subject to the general terms and conditions (Version 2.0 dated 29-04-2022). For more detailed information visit our website or click here.