WW2 Military Vehicle: Fiat Pavesi P4/100 Artillery Tractor

While certainly the majority of Barn Finds over the years have been trucks and cars, every once in a while a unique example of some other type of machine pops up, and this is one of those instances. This is a rare and unusual wartime vehicle that is all-original and mostly complete. It is available for sale here on eBay, and can be viewed in person by anyone who wishes to travel to the UK! The asking price converts to just under $36,000. Thanks to Barn Find fan George G for the tip!

There is much that is unknown about this vehicle: mileage, engine displacement, and who actually used it. However, for equipment like this the story is sometimes more important than the specifications! The seller has done a very thorough job of researching this type of machine. Here’s an excerpt from the online listing: “This 4×4 machine was first developed in 1918 by Ugo Pavesi of Italy. It was innovative on every level, being a true 4×4 and having a double articulated frame so it could continually keep all four wheels on the ground. Whilst it was available for both civilian and military use, the costs of such a vehicle arguably priced the farming market out. It was, however, a success with the armies of a range of European countries including Italy, Germany, Hungary, and Greece. To keep up with the military contracts, the design was licensed out to a couple of established manufacturers including the well-known Italian firm, Fiat.”

The seller states a plate on the body is labelled with the date 1939, which leads him to believe this example was likely used in World War 2. The listing claims that this tractor is in generally good shape for the age and use it has experienced. A couple minor dents along the body and a few missing linkages are apparently the majority of the issues. Of course, if someone attempts to actually restore this, they’ll have to be prepared for a significant undertaking, but hopefully they won’t have to source any impossible-to-find pieces.

One of the cool features this tractor has is a interchangeable rear half, on which a variety of accessories or attachments could be mounted. A quick online search will show a quite a few World War 1 and World War 2 photos that have this tractor with different configurations, such as this covered example (apologies for the low-quality image), presumably for transporting troops. This is an extremely unique opportunity to own a piece of history. Do you think it should be restored to as-new condition, or left as it is, battle scars and all?

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Comments

  1. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Fascinating vehicle, though if going to Sunday’s Cars and Coffee, better leave days ahead with a top speed of 22kph…

    At first I thought the wheel design was more LEM that earth-based but I think the shark-tooth wheel components are hinged, and must have rotated out for traction in messy, unpaved surfaces.

    Like 13
    • Bill McCoskey

      Fahr . . .

      You are correct, the ‘shark teeth’ are hinged and can be swung 180 degrees, resulting in a vehicle, that, as long as the engine doesn’t stall, and the water not too deep, will crawl across damn near any surface you can imagine. The one surface to avoid with the teeth is a cobblestone road, as the teeth will actually pull the cobbles up and out of the road surface!

      It should be noted that each wheel has a gear reduction by way of chain drive to the axle. This is one of the reasons a Pavesi can’t travel quickly.

      This vehicle also had an accessory single axle segment that could be added to the back, making it a 6 wheel 3 axle segmented vehicle as well, and in theory another axle could be added, but it’s doubtful the engine could handle an 8 wheel, 4 segmented vehicle.

      How do I know? Years ago I made friends with an Italian mechanic who had worked on Pavesi vehicles during WW2 [I assume they were Fiats], and he showed me similar photos. I quickly recognized the shark teeth on these wheels.

      My friend also said the worst part of these vehicles was the center swivel bearing between the 2 segments. He said it wasn’t a 3-D u-joint type connection, and the strain from the segments being in a single rotary plane connection made the bearing fail on a regular basis. He also said the turning radius was about 25 meters, so that meant he had to back out of locations because it was impossible to turn around!

      Had this been available 25 years ago, it would have ended up in my garage!

      Like 1
  2. Steve

    Yard art

    Like 4
  3. local_sheriff

    From a historical view definately interesting – with that said; if this is representative for what Luigi would go to war with in North Africa it’s highly understandable he needed some assistance from Adolf…

    Like 5
  4. mark

    Considering the Italian military performance in WWII……..it has to be junk.

    Like 4
    • Skorzeny

      They made quite a few decent aircraft, but they always did poorly at nearly every military ground vehicle. Especially when compared to Germany and the Soviet Union. Their fighter planes were nearly on par with the Germans. Pilots on the other hand…

      Like 5
  5. doug

    There’s an article in the new MVPA magazine on these vehicles, even mentions this one. Engine specs are there.

    Like 5
  6. pebblebeachjudge

    I see a future class entry at Pebble Beach. You have to dress the part, which wont be difficult for most egos entrants there.

    Like 1
  7. Husky

    318 Poly Swap…..

    Like 4
  8. Arby

    No wonder they lost.

  9. Howard A Member

    Say what you will, for it’s time, it was state of the art. Replaced “Old Dobbin”, it did. It was the utmost in what technology had to offer. The wheels are some sort of attempt at suspension, and it’s enclosed chain drive was unbelievably stout. After the war, I’m sure a lot of this stuff, including Allied vehicles, became regular farm implements, it’s not like there was a shortage. While the initial price and subsequent restoration will make even the strongest and therefore richest people to faint, it should be restored, for sheer histories sake. I know the “Fiat” jokes may prevail, I’m the biggest offender of that,, but Italians made some incredible stuff, and this sure looks like one of them.

    Like 11
    • Gary

      Italians make interesting stuff, no doubt about that, but how much of it is reliable? I am not asking for Toyota or Honda reliability, but something more akin to a Chevy would go a long way with their reputation. “Fix It Again Tony”, is more then just a bad pun.

      Like 3
  10. Lance

    Roulette wheels and no seat……..

  11. Howie Mueler

    You need parts for a what?

    Like 6
    • Dave

      Lemme check Rock Auto…

      Like 2
  12. That Guy

    Drive this to your local steampunk gathering and you’ll be hailed as a god.

    Like 7
  13. BR

    I’m willing to bet that this fine specimen has quite a few “Hold my beer” stories to tell.

    Like 4
  14. Karl

    There was a hotel military collector who passed a few years ago he had the largest civilian military tank collection in the world and I remember reading about one of the rarest vehicles he had was an artillery tractor built by Fiat! Nobody new he had it in his collection but it was was a big deal because of the rarity of that vehicle. Was it a vehicle like this, I don’t remember the details and the one that collector had was converted to running on rubber tires. Very interesting though!

    Like 2
  15. t-bone BOB

    Item location:Exminster, United Kingdom

  16. Karl

    I did some more research on this interesting piece of WWII Italian history and lo and behold this exact picture came up. There is traction devices on the wheels that are folded in in these pics and like the seller said it’s got a crunch in the rear. They were built with a 4 cylinder gas engine top speed of 14 mph. They were gear driven for both moving and turning. Fiat only built a few of them so they are definitely rare! Forgot, the are pretty heavy coming in at just over 10,000 pounds.

  17. dogwater

    why

  18. gregory

    now Those are the 22’s I would put on my CADDII !!!!! Look out Hood!

    Like 2
  19. Forrerst Leatham

    I find that tractor to be very interesting I would like to know what all it can do.

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