Shelvoke & Drewry

Posted by Chris Graham on 14th August 2020


Shelvoke & Drewry

Founded in 1922, Shelvoke & Drewry (SD) is one of Britain’s more interesting manufacturers of commercial vehicles, as this new, 100-page bookazine explains. Starting with the revolutionary, low-loading-height SD ‘Freighter’, which featured a transverse petrol engine driving the rear wheels, but no steering wheel, the company went on to produce a diverse range of commercial vehicle chassis over a production span of eight decades.

These included chassis with swap bodies, long before these became normal, skip trucks, on/off highway trucks, fire appliances and airfield crash tenders, alongside the production of refuse collection vehicles for which the SD name is perhaps best known.

What is perhaps less well known is the fact that SD also had an association with French manufacturer, Latil, during the 1930s. This led to the production of four-man submarines in WW2, followed by the first, British-produced, heavy-duty diesel forklift truck design – the Freightlifter – in the early 1950s.

Using material from his extensive archive, transport industry journalist Malcolm Bates is in a better position than most to tell the fascinating story of Shelvoke & Drewry, as he started his career in the vehicle industry working for the company as its publicity manager. Using a combination of former factory photographs, Malcolm’s own brochure, vehicle design drawings and his own personal experiences, SD – Shelvoke & Drewry is the latest, 100-page addition to the Kelsey Vintage Roadscene Archive series and is out now, priced at just £8.99.

To order your copy of SD – Shelvoke & Drewry, simply click here


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