M201 - Indicators / Clignotants

The lighting system of an M201 was almost identical to the WW2 design including a lack of direction indicators. The same WW2 four pin trailer socket was also fitted. It was therefore inevitable that a series of modifications would be needed in order to comply with changes to road traffic law in France (code de la route). These changes are described in technical bulletins as follows: 631/AU (1967), 1482 & 1487 (1985), 11306 (1990), 11855 (1993) & 11286 (1994).

From the late 1960s onwards indicators of various designs were added to M201s but this conversion was only ever carried out to jeeps in daily road use with passengers. This explains why a large number of jeeps that remained in service into the 90's were never actually fitted with indicators.

Technical guidance for fitting the conversion kit was first given in bulletin BT 0361 (1967) and included the correct positioning of the various additional components. At the front a pair of light units were added to the grille and, as far as I can tell, the earliest examples had a clear acrylic lens rather than the later amber types. The style of lens changed over the years from the early 'bell' shaped profile to the final larger style illustrated at the top of the page.

Additional light units were not added at the rear. Instead, the stop lights were rewired to double up as indicators, a system common for years in American cars. To achieve this the right hand rear lamp unit also had to be modified and the BO stop light replaced with a red lens to match the left hand unit (see BO stop light). A repeater lamp unit and direction switch were also added to the dashboard. (see opposite and below)

 
 

The photos below show the indicator switch (inverseur) and dashboard repeater lamp (lampe témoin) in detail. Although the example below has a red lens I have seen rather more examples with a green lens.

In terms of placement of the indicators at the front and rear there are always exceptions to the rule and although the technical bulletin gives the precise location of the additional components different army workshops often had their own ideas. The front units were frequently mounted lower than recommended, perhaps for aesthetic reasons or possibly because some grilles already had holes made lower position for cables to pass through for IR lights if fitted. Examples of this variation can be seen in the photos below which also show that occasionally separate amber light units were fitted at the rear rather than using the brake light as an indicator. Although these were generally fitted as shown below use was also made of the aerial brackets where no aerials were fitted (see en Afrique). Different light units were also fitted to M201s whilst serving in Germany (see Bundeswehr lights).

 

 

 

common early type indicator lamp unit

 

common later type indicator lamp unit

Although having indicators was a distinct improvement for road use, the use of brake lights as rear indicators was less than adequate for use in modern traffic and when the rear lights reached the point of failing to meet legal requirements for civilian road use a radical conversion kit was developed for both M201s and trailers based on the same design as used on the Peugeot P4 that replaced the M201. (for trailer illustration see trailer page). By this time there were relatively few M201s still left in active service and not all of these were converted before M201s were final withdrawn from active duty. Details of the rear lamp cluster can be found on the high visibility lights page.

 
   

less common early type indicator lamp unit

 

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Photos by AC except jeeps at auction - Bulletin officiel d'Annonces des Domaines. BT 0361: thanks to JLM.