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1943 Austin K2/Y Military Ambulance


DAY ONE: Friday 2nd October 2020 - Lots 1 to 100. (TWO DAY SALE)

  • 02-10-2020
  • Memorabilia Start Time: 00:00
  • Vehicles Start Time: 18:00

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1943 Austin K2/Y Military Ambulance

The vendor has supplied the following information.

The Austin K2 Military Ambulance was one of two main Allied Military Ambulances used during World War 2, the other being the Dodge, from the USA. They were used at home and overseas in all theatres of war and many young women –WAAF, ATS & WRNS- learned to drive on them, including our Queen; the Princess Elizabeth as she then was. Captured vehicles were much prized by the Wehrmacht and were similarly popular on the Russian front as well as later in Korea. Even the US reluctantly agreed they were somewhat superior to their own offering!

Over 13,000 Austin K2/Y ambulances were built at Austin’s Longbridge plant continuously from 1940 until 1945. The body was designed in conjunction with the RAMC by Mann Egerton in Norwich. The body, although steel framed, is clad in Ash and Canvas and could accommodate 10 sitting casualties or 4 on stretchers, although one tale relates to 27 walking wounded being accommodated with some perched on the bonnet and rear steps!

Affectionately known as the Katie, the K2 was immortalised in the 1958 film “Ice Cold in Alex” starring John Mills, Sylvia Syms and Anthony Quayle although that actual vehicle was not a true K2 in that it was a 4 wheel drive Dodge with a K2 body on top - no production K2 ever had 4WD!

This vehicle was bought by the family of the current owner from a War Department sale in 1948, initially as a works ‘bus’ for the farm. As such it was used to carry workmen around the farms in South Lincolnshire over the years as well as serving as shoot bus for the ‘guns’ on shoot days. It has been used every year and has been regularly maintained- including a rebuild of springs, brakes and bushes on the chassis around 2000 miles ago. Although it has never been restored it has had a new canvas roof last year before going to Normandy. There are now two stretchers with it as well as various sundries including a very rare original air hose for pumping up the tyres via the onboard air compressor.   

It is a rare Royal Navy version, built in 1943 and saw service in and around the dockyards on the South coast evacuating casualties from ships before, during and after D-Day (June 6th 1944). We have taken it to Normandy on three occasions, 1994 (50th Anniversary) ,2014 (70th Anniversary) and 2019 (75th Anniversary); on the latter occasion we were privileged to be among the 600 ex WW2 military vehicles on the beach at Arromanches in Normandy at 0530 hrs on June 6th 2019.  It now goes to shows and veteran military events within the UK, where it usually  attracts several veterans all eager to share their reminiscences. 75 years after WW2, less than 50 now remain: around 10 roadworthy K2’s are left worldwide with only 2 being ex Navy; most of them, being unroadworthy, live in Museums. It’s now covered just over 40,000 miles and returns around 15mpg ‘cruising’ at about 45 mph; however, having straight cut gears , necessitating counting to 2 on the upchange and double declutching on down changes, making the whole experience pretty intense and somewhat noisy.

Please note that descriptions are produced from information provided by the vendors. We highly recommend that you view in person any potential purchase and take time to inspect paperwork.

On display at our Thornton le Dale site – Roxby Garage, Pickering Road Thornton le Dale YO18 7LH - viewings welcome, please call us on 01751 474455. Thank you.

Submit Best Bid - This vehicle will be offered at the auction on 3rd October. We have been asked to submit the highest bid on the day to the vendor. The vendor will then either accept or decline the bid.


  • Lot Number: 20
  • Year: 1943
  • Make: Austin
  • Model: K2/Y Military Ambulance
  • Registration: NFO 512
  • Engine Size: 3855
  • Estimate: SUBMIT BEST BID