It fires up for the first time in 28 years.
It’s been a while since we checked in on Master Milo. We’re used to seeing some wacky content on this YouTube channel, such as a trail-bombing a Ford Focus without any struts, or fitting a car with two steering wheels – one for each front wheel. This time around the action is serious and, dare we say, endearing for any proper petrolhead to behold.
The channel is restoring an old Iraqi Type 69-II tank, and its big 38.8-liter V12 diesel engine recently fired up for the first time in 28 years. The video above captures the action, and lest you think this is a corner-cutting project, think again. The clip opens with footage of the tank as it was found in the UK, where it went after being captured from Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War. To say it looked bit rough is an understatement, and realistically, the engine should’ve been scrapped. The video chronicles extensive corrosion in the powerplant, but the point here is to restore the mill, not throw it away.
Gallery: Old V-12 Tank Engine Cold Start
Fortunately, the Type 69-II was basically a Chinese copy of the old Soviet T-54 – one of the most mass-produced tanks in the world. Its Kharkiv V12 engine is also of Soviet design, so parts were available and Master Milo made good use of them. Despite the exceedingly poor condition of the engine to start with, it rumbles to life with tremendous smoke and visible fire through the open exhaust ports. After literally filling the workshop with smoke, the engine is relocated outside for further tuning and diagnosis. One of the cylinders wasn’t firing, and fuel adjustments needed to be made. But the big old mill ran – in fact, it ran so hard that you can see its massive steel engine stand shaking from the torque.
It’s very refreshing to watch a restoration project like this. Passion for motoring – be it a four-cylinder Honda or a massive decommissioned tank – knows no bounds and is seldom logical. That's what makes projects like this so great, and we can’t wait to see the next step in this gallant endeavor.