The Six Appeal Wheel Group (SAW Group) was started in 2004 by long time Range Rover enthusiast Walter Davis, known to all his friends as Walt. Walt’s interest in Range Rovers was originally aroused when one of the earliest examples pulled onto the forecourt of his father’s garage many years ago. Later, after running his own transport related business for a while he came across a picture of a TACR2 in a book on Range Rovers. He still has that book and the picture features on the home page of this site. With his enthusiasm fired up when the opportunity came to purchase a TACR2 he decided he must have one. After trying various avenues he eventually decided to try and bid for one at a vehicle auction (this was before all ex MOD vehicles were handed over to the government approved disposal agency). After one or two aborted attempts he finally achieved success and purchased a Carmichael TACR2A .
09 AY 93 - RAF Lossiemouth - A few months before it was cast
Having acquired his new pride and joy Walt decided to take it to a few shows and it was there he met some fellow TACR2 owners and enthusiasts. As the circle of enthusiasts grew they began to exchange information and pictures of these vehicles and trawl the internet looking for history and facts. Walt eventually amassed a large collection of pictures and decided he would like to display them on the internet for all to see. Having already gained some experience of running a small website with his Ex-RAF Fire Appliance Group site he took the plunge and set up the SAW Group official website at www.TheSixAppealWheelGroup.org
This new internet site began to attract more enthusiasts and as the site evolved it spread its wings to include all Carmichael Commando chassised vehicles. A large number of members of the Ex-RAF Fire Appliances Group became members of the new website and so to avoid a lot of duplication Walt decided to incorporate this group within the main SAW Group website. Walt has managed to increase the membership of the Group, despite the odd junk mail individual trying to get on, and the membership now currently stands at over 200 members. These members participate in some lively exchange of views on the Group’s discussion forum on the website and there is an extraordinary exchange of information with subjects as diverse as what tyres should they use, “My TACR won’t start” and what colour should the interior be?
There is also a forum for Spare Parts and recently Walt has started up a separate forum for Technical Queries to help members with running problems or those more specific to these unique vehicles. More recently, an album site was added to accomodate the now, vast, collection of pictures from members from all over the world! It has some 9,000 images in over thirty albums and 207 sub-albums, not only of 6 wheelers but other fire appliance types. It can be found at: album.sixappealwheel.org
Commando Rescue Tender
The Group now covers all versions of the Commando chassised 6 wheeled vehicles as well as 6x4 Land Rover versions, the larger airfield fire appliances and it isn’t just restricted to military fire appliances. The Group’s website has the largest collection of pictures of military and civilian airfield fire appliances. Many of these pictures have been uploaded from the personal collections of Ex-Service personnel. Plenty of other information relating to these vehicles is also available on the website including spares, copies of manuals and brochures and a myriad of data useful to owners, operators and enthusiasts of these vehicles. The current ideal of the Group is to trace and maintain a record of all six wheeled Range Rovers that were produced between 1970 and 1995 and to provide help for its members.
Early version of TACR2 - now in civilian ownership
Members of the group have attended various Fire and Military shows over the past few years as well as participating in a few Gaydon runs. Moving on the Group is now trying to organise a presence at some of the major Military, Fire and Land Rover shows.
The Groups biggest gathering to date was at Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield, Warwickshire on the 19th June 2005. This was arranged to tie in with the airfield’s Vulcan Run, where a restored but not airworthy certified Vulcan bomber is blasted down the runway! In all a total of Nine TACR2s were present at this gathering including the airfield’s own example. This was followed up by various other shows based at numerous small airfields around the country.
Land Rover 6x6 - Highlands & Island Airport - Barra
At the 2006 Derby Fire Show a landmark in the Group’s history was achieved when at a small ceremony the 100th Member joined the Group. This show also marked the Group down as truly International when an early TACR2 was bought all the way over from Holland, by two of the Group’s overseas members, to attend the show! The Group then decided to hold its AGM to coincide with the Derby Fire and Rescue Show and at this year’s turn out it is hoped to see even more of these vehicles together for the first time.
Other shows that are regularly attended by the Groups members are Duxford and Sleap airfields, to name but two. For our first Land Rover show we decided to start at one of the smaller shows, so we attended the Land Rover World show at Eastnor in 2007. Unfortunately we were rather disappointed with the layout of the club stands at the show and so have decided to give it a miss this year. Instead we are planning to attend the Land Rover Monthly show at Billing and the Land Rover Owner show in Peterborough. We are also hoping to get a stand at Brighton for the South London & Surrey Land Rover Club’s London to Brighton Land Rover Run and are hoping for a strong attendance at all these shows.
Whilst the membership is strong there are actually very few of these vehicles in private ownership. As a testament to their design and build quality the majority of these vehicles are still in operational use by various organisations especially in their original role at small or private airfields. Some of these airfields are even lucky enough to have more than one vehicle. Redhill Airfield has two TACR2s and a third is used for spares, whilst Bembridge on the Isle of White has 2 TACR2s and a Carmichael Commando!
If you are interested, own or operate one of these unique vehicles, why not join us? All you need is access to the Internet and an e-mail address and you can participate to your hearts content. Alternatively, come and say hello to us at one of the shows we shall be attending throughout the year.
Clive N. Westwood
SAW Group Vehicle Historian