M201 - 6 volt (1956 - 1960)

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Hotchkiss produced the M201 under licence from Willys and from1956 to mid 1960 this consisted of 6 volt jeeps which looked very similar to the wartime MB both externally and under the bonnet. A few differences can be spotted on the cover of the original sales brochure (above) including electrically operated wipers, the distinctive Hotchkiss steering wheel, solid rather than split combat rims, and no 'notch' in the  body tub above the instrumentation by OS. There is no start button on the dashboard, the jeep had a 'heel and toe' floor start just like the MB. Note; the wood blocks on the bonnet also the jeep had a WW2 style blackout light at the front not visible in this photo. A fire extinguisher was mounted on drivers' side fender.
Reference is made by J-G Jeudi & M Tararine in the book 'La Jeep' to the fact that body tubs were initially imported from the US leading to speculation that the first M201s may have had notches though there is no real evidence to support this and certainly it is missing from the jeep used for publicity. The tyres fitted on the jeep were Dunlop Track-Grip though the army favoured the traditional bar grip tread which was used in production.
The above illustration is taken from army manual MAT 3422/1 (1959) for the M201 6 volt jeep. I apologise for the quality but it is a definitive illustration of the engine bay layout of an early M201 and therefore not open to debate. Un-rebuilt examples of these early 6 volt jeeps are few and far between but I have seen a couple and the engine bay looks pretty much identical to the MB with the exception of data plates, labels, stampings etc which indicate the components are of French origin.
The following photos were supplied by Serge Mangione (M201 no. 02983) of some detail of an M201 6 volt. The jeep was rebuilt at La Maltournée in 1964 and has been fitted with a later Solex type carburettor.
Army manuals show the introduction of the M201 an evolution followed based on a number of technical improvements.
1956 Improved clutch plate by Aubern 00121
1956 Modified jerrycan bracket 00751
1957 Adjustable steering link and improvements to strengthen gearbox & transfer box 01056
1957 Larger clutch plate by Ferodo 03406
1957 Further gearbox modifications 03538
1958 windscreen wiper improvements including switch being moved to the dashboard 04544
1960 24 volt model introduced to replace the 6 volt model 08829
1960 Modifications to body panels, aerial mountings, headlights with integral sidelights 10461
1960 Earthed exhaust pipe to reduce interference, new Jager speedometer and cable. 11257
1961 Improved oil filter housing 13393
The fact that there was a gradual evolution can make it difficult to pinpoint the introduction of some of the revised features e.g. photographic evidence suggests that the wood blocks on the bonnet were replaced by metal stays on the windshield during the production run of 6 volt vehicles i.e. pre 1960.

I am grateful to J-L Martin for providing copies of the various official data sheets used or referred to on this page and the 24 volt page.