Restored JCB takes pride of place at St Patrick’s Day parade

Julian Carder pictured with the JCB 3 he has lovingly restored
Julian Carder pictured with the JCB 3 he has lovingly restored

A JCB digger will take pride of place at this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in London after being restored to showroom condition – more than 50 years after it first rolled off the production line.

The dilapidated JCB 3 - which cost £2,500 when it was brand new - was discovered rotting in a field in Kent. Thanks to the efforts of JCB employee Julian Carder, aged 40, of Uttoxeter, it is back to the condition of 1963 when it was first manufactured at JCB’s World HQ in Rocester. Now a final layer of polish is being applied to the gleaming paintwork in readiness for its starring role in the St Patrick’s Day parade on Sunday (March 13th).

“The machine was in a pretty poor state, rusty and leaking oil through lack of care, so it took about 10 months of evenings and weekends at a friend’s workshop to bring it back to life. All in all, we put in about 1,400 hours of restoration. We tried to keep as much of the machine as original as possible but had to replace the metalwork which was rotten and beyond repair.”

Julian Carder, JCB employee

Julian said: “The machine was in a pretty poor state, rusty and leaking oil through lack of care, so it took about 10 months of evenings and weekends at a friend’s workshop to bring it back to life. All in all, we put in about 1,400 hours of restoration. We tried to keep as much of the machine as original as possible but had to replace the metalwork which was rotten and beyond repair. The carcass of the cab is original but totally rebuilt. We even had to get some parts specially made because you can’t get them anymore. Every last detail was researched to keep it authentic.”

The machine was bought by plant, demolition and haulage contractor George Killoughery Ltd, of Mitcham, south London to mark 50 years in business in 2015 and Managing Director Joe Killoughery approached JCB Worldwide Product Marketing Manager Julian about a re-build of the machine. Julian, who based at JCB’s World HQ, has so far restored five JCB machines over the past five years and is regularly approached for his expertise with vintage diggers.

He said: “Joe Killoughery had seen a 3C Mark 111 backhoe that I’d previously restored and wanted the same craftsmanship and showroom condition for his machine. His machine looks fabulous and now Killougherys are having one of their oldest operators come over from Ireland to drive it at the parade. I’ll be behind it at the wheel of one of our brand new 70th anniversary 3CX backhoes. This re-build really has been a labour of love and I’m proud that I’ll have a bird’s eye view as the re-born JCB 3 wows the crowds during the parade.”

Floats representing all 32 counties of Ireland make their way through London for the Parade as over a quarter of a million people flock to the capital to celebrate Ireland’s patron saint. It passes by some of London’s most famous landmarks, including Nelson’s Column.