The Bart Vanderveen Challenge Shield is awarded annually to the individual, chosen by nominations, who has contributed most to the military vehicle preservation movement. Inaugurated and sponsored by After the Battle, publishers of Wheels & Tracks magazine which was founded by Bart Vanderveen in 1982 and edited by him until the 75th issue published in April 2001. The trophy is presented at the War and Peace Show, which is the world's largest gathering of privately owned military vehicles, held annually at The Hop Farm, Beltring, Paddock Wood, Kent, in July.
Please click below to view a rundown on each year's award.
In 2007 the trophy was awarded to Mike Stallwood.
This was Pat Ware's address:
The Bart Vanderveen Challenge Shield was inaugurated in 2001 by Winston Ramsey of After the Battle, publishers of Wheels & Tracks magazine, in recognition of Bart’s huge contribution to the military vehicle movement. Classic Military Vehicle magazine was invited to participate in 2005 and the Award is now jointly administered.
Bart Vanderveen saw beauty in old military vehicles at a time when others saw just scrap. Many believe that Bart was the founding father of the present military-vehicle movement… if it were not for him, we might not be standing here today.
He restored his first military vehicle in 1959, having already published his first book on the subject. During the ‘sixties Bart’s Olyslager books became… and remain… essential reference works for enthusiasts worldwide. He went on to publish many military-vehicle books and, from 1982 until his premature death in 2001, was editor of Wheels & Tracks magazine.
Bart’s passing left a huge hole in the hobby which many felt could not be filled.
The Bart Vanderveen Challenge Shield was established to respect his memory and to ensure that the flame which Bart lit stays alight. Each year, the shield is presented to the individual who is felt to have contributed most to the military vehicle preservation movement. The name is chosen from nominations made by fellow enthusiasts and the award is made here at War & Peace.
For the first year the award was made posthumously to Bart himself as a mark of respect; in 2002, the recipient was Peter Grey; on the basis of this very show, Rex Cadman and IMPS were joint winners for 2003; in 2004, the award went to Tony Budge; in 2005 it was Joe Lyndhurst; and last year it was Preston Isaac for his Cobbaton Combat Museum.
This year's winner is no less worthy than those who have gone before but he may prove to be something of a controversial choice. Here is a man about whom there are as many stories as there are Jeeps at War & Peace! A larger than life character who's never usually lost for words . . . few have the opportunity of talking about him in a situation where he won't find it easy to answer back.
Our winner this year is Mike Stallwood.
In a military-vehicle career which spans four decades, Mike Stallwood is probably our longest-established military-vehicle dealer . . . he may even be our oldest!
Back in 1980, Mike sold me my first military vehicle and I know that he has been responsible for starting many enthusiasts down the slippery slope that leads inevitably towards tank ownership . . . even if it doesn't always quite get there. It was Mike who I first heard liken military-vehicle ownership to drug taking . . . you start out with something soft like a Jeep, he said, confident you can handle it, but before long the tanks are leaving track marks on your arms . . . 'mainlining on armour' I think he called it!
When he started out dealing in Champs way back in the 'sixties . . . buying them by the dozen, incidentally . . . the military-vehicle movement was scarcely a gleam in anyone's eye. Old military vehicles simply offered a cheap, occasionally reliable, form of motoring. No-one valued the unusual and it is said that he once buried the mortal remains of a rare as hen's teeth utility Champ because it wouldn't start.
As the supply of Champs dried up and those that remained were possibly more trouble than they were worth, he found himself fitting out 1-ton Austin K9s for hippies keen to undertake that overland trip to Marrakesh . . . far out, huh?
Following a brief flirtation with Land Rovers . . . and Italy . . . he saw the light and started dealing in Jeeps.
When the Greek Army sold off its remaining WW2 Jeeps, they came to Mike's yard at RR Services, and were piled literally three high. Customers who had responded to his famous Exchange & Mart adverts proclaiming '140 — yes, 140 World War 2 Jeeps in stock!' were given a marker pen to write their name on their chosen vehicle. Then the men at RR Services, would risk life and limb to actually get the Jeep out from the tightly-packed racks. But most of those tired looking Jeeps were restored and it is fitting that many of them are at War & Peace this weekend.
Several hundred French M201 Jeeps also passed through his hands before the supply of these, too, dried up and, always with an eye on the next trend, Mike started bringing in the French Simca-Unic trucks . . . promoting these as the ideal entry level vehicle for the would-be collector.
Through the years, his exploits have become the stuff of legend.
One story has Mike bringing three DUKWs back from France, two of which were mechanically . . . shall we say . . . less than competent. Using the lead vehicle of his little convoy as a tractor, the other two vehicles provided whatever mechanical input they could as the three DUKWs were A-framed across France. The fuel consumption was apparently of such eye-watering proportions that one filling station found it hard to believe that the fuel pumps had to be reset three times, so great was the quantity of super carburant required by these three monsters.
One of these DUKWs remained in his hands for years, becoming a regular at the annual 'amphibie' rally. During the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings the DUKW became stranded on the beach at Arramanches and was famously rescued from the rising tide by a high-speed artillery tractor.
Back in the 'nineties, it was Mike who supplied a certain purple-painted Chevy truck to Excelsior TV for the Darling Buds of May series, apparently repainting it three times before the art director agreed that the colour was sufficiently lurid. History does not relate whether he was lucky enough to meet Catherine Zeta-Jones . . . or if he did, how the encounter went!
Never one to suffer fools gladly, on another occasion, Mike was finding a French customs official a tad overzealous as he threatened to seize a DUKW he was exporting because he didn't have the required export permit for an armoured vehicle. Mike brandished a hammer and chisel, punching a jagged hole in the hull to prove it wasn't armoured. These diplomatic negotiating skills brought yet another DUKW onto the UK collectors' market.
Having spring-boarded several hundred people into the hobby, by selling them their first, and often several subsequent vehicles, Mike's worldwide contacts began to pay off as the Iron Curtain fell and the internet opened up. Mike became very adept at sniffing out the remains of all kinds of esoteric machinery and of matching them to customers around the globe. He was instrumental in helping many major collectors and museums acquire the rarer vehicles that had been on their wish lists but seemingly unobtainable. In the last couple of years he has been heavily involved with restoring and supplying vehicles to some very prestigious customers, including a major overseas private military museum.
Truly, one of those larger than life characters. Mike Stallwood has become a legend in his own toolbox. Without a doubt, his enthusiasm, determination and knowledge has made a unique contribution to the military-vehicle scene over nearly 40 years and Mike remains as firmly committed to the pursuit of rusty green machines today as he was all those years ago...
Ladies and gentleman, Mike Stallwood . . . a very worthy winner of the 2007 Vanderveen Shield.