The web has changed the hobby of vehicle restoration, for the good, when I started over 30 years ago it was not easy to find information. There were few books about CMPs. The authors of the few books that covered and gave any true depth of information about CMPs deserve special mention Bart Vanderveen and Bill Gregg.
I bought my first books by Bart Vanderveen in 1972 "The Observer's Fighting Vehicle Directory World War II and the companion book The Observer's Fighting Vehicle Directory From 1945. The first of these books on WWII and its coverage of Canadian Military Pattern vehicles is large part responsible for my interest in CMPs (see BEAST Restoration)
When you think back when Bill Gregg and Bart Vanderveen started writing about CMPs the only way to exchange information was by publishing books or magazines in limited runs. Collection of information was done in large part by mail and by talking face to face with people. Peter Ford, John Merchant and a few others collected information about surviving CMPs slowly, one vehicle, or one collector at a time.
When I got started (1978) it was nearly a year before I learned that there
were organized clubs concerning restoring military vehicles. It was nearly
eight years after I got my HUP that I saw another CMP and met someone face
to face who owned one of these strange creatures (1984). By then I had corresponded,
or sent of letters, by regular mail to nearly every CMP owner listed in the
MVCC (Military Vehicle Collectors Club) directory. I learned may things:
1. That letters with photographs of my CMP got far more responses than the same letter with no photos.
2. That people in the US would pick up the phone and call instead of writing a letter.
3. That phone calls are a very ephemeral or fleeting way of collecting information, unless you can write very fast and take detail notes
4. That people in Australia, Britain, Belgium, Canada, France and Holland (alphabetical order) in other words out side the US, wrote great letters included great photos and detail little drawings about how things fitted on CMPs.
5. I can remember being amazed to receive back responses to letters sent to total strangers in Australia in under two weeks time, it was clear that they had sat down and responded as soon as they had gotten my letter. It was also clear that people put real thought in responding to technical questions in there letters.
I've save many of these letters and photos that people sent me back then and wonder if I should try to put them in some sort of order and include them and the pictures that accompanied them on my web site.
But back to how the Internet has not only speeded up the flow and exchange of information, think of how MLU started most of the posts were just text, now with digital cameras the number of photos has jumped dramatically. Think of the number of times now some body will ask a question about how something fits or what something is and a response including a purpose taken picture(s) from half way around the world is posted online. Now we are adding video to our bag of tricks. The Forum format though really does help with understanding, it adds a reviewable list of posts something that many conversations could really use.
Web Sites as of general CMP interest (these are sites that I visit regularly
and are not listed in any real order of importance because they all find unique
information) all of these links worked as of September 3, 2006. Note I checked
these again on December 20,2011 and unfortunately not all of them are still
good links or address. Will try and track down the ones that don't work and