Monday, October 26, 2009

Merv Brunt Collection Colac - Part 1

Sunday October 11 2009 we went with other members of the Historic Commercial Vehicle Club (H.C.V.C.) to view Merv Brunt’s collection of historic trucks in Colac. It is a fabulous collection. In this and the next two Blog posts you will see photographs of most of the trucks in the collection. I don’t have many technical details on engines and that sort of stuff, but if you are interested each truck had an informative sign with restoration details and technical details. The collection is well worth viewing if you ever get the opportunity. In this post we will look at the Albions, Beans, a Morris Commercial, Thornycrofts and some Leylands. Because I am a Librarian (and like to spread information around) I have done a bit of research on the history of the truck Companies.

The Albion, above, is from 1924 and the one below is a 1927 Model.

Albion is the name given in ancient times to the British Isles. The Romans associated the name with albus, in reference to the white chalk cliffs of the south - east coast (or the White Cliffs of Dover, as Vera Lynn sang about). Albion Motors Limited was a Scottish Company. According to Commercial Vehicles in Great Britain, Mr Blackwood-Murray and Mr Fulton, Engineers employed in the very modern sounding Mo-Car syndicate, started the Company in 1899. The first Commercial vehicle was built in 1902, and, as with other truck companies, the First World War provided a growth in production - over 6,000 A10 models were produced for the Armed Forces in the First World War. Mr Blackwood-Murray was responsible for the design of all the Albion models until he died in 1929. In 1935 Albion took over the Scottish firm of Halley, a Company started by George Halley in 1901. Halley had started off producing steam trucks, but by 1907 had moved into petrol engine trucks. During the Second World War, Albion supplied three and ten ton trucks and around 1,000 tank transporters. After the War, Albion introduced model names such as the Chieftain and Clansman, which had previously been used by Halley. Later model names included Claymore and Caledonia. In 1951 Albion was taken over by Leyland and the Albion name was discontinued in 1972.

An unrestored Bean.

The Bean, above, is from 1925 and the one below is 1926.

The Bean history goes back to 1826 when A. Harper & Sons began producing drop forging, castings and stampings. In 1907 the Company became A. Harper, Sons & Bean Ltd and produced parts for the motor industry. In 1919 the Company combined with Perry Motor Company to produce the Bean car. In spite of a capital of six million pounds, initial output was low, well less than their objective of 50,000 vehicles per annum. Commercial vehicles were gradually introduced, and had replaced cars entirely by 1929. The early trucks had the 11.9hp engine used in the Perry car before World War One and this was in production to 1923. Other models were introduced such as the Empire Model Range in 1930 and the New Era range, however sales were slow due to the Depression and the vehicle production ceased in 1931. Beans Industries Ltd continued in the general engineering field and was taken over by British Leyland in 1958.

This is a 1926 Morris Commercial with the 1926 Bean next to it, then a 1934 Indiana.

William Morris founded Morris Motors Limited in 1913 and in 1924 created Morris Commercial Cars Limited to design and manufacture commercial vehicles. He was knighted and later received the title, Lord Nuffield. Lord Nuffield set up the Nuffield Foundation in 1943 with a capital of 10 million pounds, the Foundation today is worth £220 million. The Foundation supports projects in the area of Education and Social Welfare. Morris combined with Austin in 1951, and created the British Motor Corporation and this was taken over by Leyland in 1970.

The Thornycroft, above is a 1916 model and the one below is 1925.

The Thornycroft Steam Wagon Company, established by J.I. Thornycroft, produced its first vehicle in 1898. There were several models including an articulated vehicle, the first one in Britain. In 1902 the Company moved into internal combustion engines and in 1905 the name of the Company changed to J.I Thornycroft Limited. The Company built trucks for use in World War One and introduced various models in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1933 the diesel engine was introduced and the Company changed its name to Transport Equipment (Thornycroft) Limited. Some of the model names included the Hathi (introduced in 1925), the Taurus (1933) the Trusty (l934), the Nubian (start of the Second World War), Antar (1950) and Big Ben in 1952. Big Ben was designed to carry payloads of 50 tons. Thornycroft was acquired by AEC in 1961, which was itself taken over by Leyland in 1969.

Shown above are two Leylands, I don't have their date of manufacture.

James Sumner produced a steam wagon in 1884, this was the first of his many inventions including a steam driven lawn mower and, later, a three wheeled motor car. J Sumner and Company was formed and George Spurrier later bought into the Company and in 1896 Spurrier and Sumner formed the Lancashire Steam Motor Company, in Leyland, Lancashire. In 1907 they changed the name of the Company to Leyland Motors Limited. Steam power dominated production in the early years, though an internal engine vehicle was produced in 1904. The last Steam powered vehicle was produced in 1926. Truck models in the 1930s included the Octopus, Beaver, Bison, Buffalo, Bull and Hippo. Leyland continued to grow and take over other truck Companies including Albion Motors in 1951, Scammell Lorries in 1955, AEC in 1969. Leyland was nationalized in 1975 and then sold to DAF in 1987.

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