Classic & Vintage Commercials Show 2021

Posted by Chris Graham on 11th October 2021

Peter Simpson reports from this year’s Classic & Vintage Commercials Show held at the British Motor Museum, in Gaydon, Staffordshire.

Classic & Vintage Commercials Show

The 2021 Classic & Vintage Commercials Show, held at the British Motor Museum, in Gaydon, Staffordshire was a great success.

The Classic & Vintage Commercials show – now incorporating the Classic Van Show – took place at the British Motor Museum, Gaydon, over the weekend of August 14th-15th. Visitor numbers certainly seemed up on 2020 (when this was one of a tiny number of events to go ahead at all), as life begins returning to normal. There was certainly strong exhibitor support, with more than 500 vehicles in attendance, including several new restorations and a few old friends with new looks.

British Motor Museum Shows Manager Tom Caren said: “I was very pleased with both the turnout and the attendance, and would like to thank all the exhibitors and visitors who came along and make the show what it is. We had some wonderful, first-time vehicles here at Gaydon this year.”

The Museum has also confirmed that, from next year, this event will return to its usual second weekend in June date, with the 2022 show taking place on June 11th-12th.

So, let’s take a look at some of the vans and lorries in attendance…

Classic & Vintage Commercials Show

Essex-based Paul Le Strange will be known to regular readers, as we’ve featured several of his restorations in the past. This magnificent Ford petrol tanker is his latest, and was also organiser Tom Caren’s favourite exhibit.


Classic & Vintage Commercials Show

This year a group of Scottish enthusiasts made the trip down, including this fine-looking 1967 Foden in T Johnson livery. A very impressive machine.


Classic & Vintage Commercials Show

This 1968 AEC Mandator spent its entire working life on Bermuda as a fire appliance. It looks to be rot-free and has covered just 19,000 miles from new. Restore, or should it just be preserved? Originality like this doesn’t exactly show up every day.


Classic & Vintage Commercials Show

Here’s a real rarity – a 1962 Austin J2 pick-up, part-way through restoration. Though it looks like a rot-free survivor, this one actually needed a massive amount of structural repair to the loadbed and underpinnings, all of which has been completed to a very high standard. We can’t wait to see it finished!


Classic & Vintage Commercials Show

Another new restoration! This 1964 ERF LV 68GX eight-wheeler, with Jennings cab and heavy-duty dropside body, was new to FJ Edwards. A survivor due mainly to time spent in fairground service, it has been restored to fabulous original condition by Peterborough-based PC Howard.


Classic & Vintage Commercials Show

One of the stars on the Morris Commercial Club stand this year was Len Wilkes’ 1962 Morris FG pick-up. New in Lincolnshire but spending most of its working life in Solihull, it passed to the present owner in 2017. It’s now used mainly to transport stationary engines, but it’s a preserved vehicle in its own right. This year the steelwork has been shot-blasted and powder-coated, the wood stripped and recoated, and the cab repainted.


Classic & Vintage Commercials Show

Clubs with stands at the show included the Post Office Vehicle Club, the Scammell Register and the Mechanical Horse Club, seen here.


As usual, the McGovern Collection was out in force, including a trio of Thames Traders. £3 10s a day ‘on the shovel’ was good money, but you earned every last penny of it!


Bob Carmichael’s legendary Volvo F88 was, of course, at the show. Due to celebrate its 50th birthday next year, but still in very regular use on timber transport, and often to be seen on roads around Stratford upon Avon, the vehicle is a firm favourite among lorry fans, and deservedly so!


Ray Beckwith’s 1973 Atkinson Borderer is also still used and, while most of the time it’s semi-preserved and used as back-up in Ray’s foam mattress business, during lockdown Ray became frustrated by a lack of events. Consequently, he started using his Atki more frequently, including on regular runs from Oldham into Lincolnshire. Unsurprisingly, it attracted a fair bit of attention…


Neil James is best-known in lorry circles for his Ergo-cabbed AEC and Leyland restorations. However, he’s also a Peugeot 205 fan, and has owned this 1.8 diesel van for the past five years. Bought by Neil from the original owner who’d used it to deliver eggs to pubs and restaurants, it’s been under restoration since with “a lot of rot removed and new parts fitted, but it still needs some painting and finishing-off.”


A pair of Bedford KMs, owned by Kenilworth-based Simon Sleep. We’re hoping to run a full feature on these two shortly.


As usual, the remote-control model fans were out in force, displaying and operating their impressive creations.


The Ford Transit Club, which holds its AGM and annual club rally on the first day of this show, attended with a wide range of vehicles, including some in working condition.


Mark Thomas’ 1979 Dodge R3820 was new to Parson Chain manufacturing in March 1979 but, after four years and 200,000km, it passed to Tom Henderson as traction engine transport, where it stayed for 36 years, covering just 40,000km in that time. But, despite being a low-mileage tractor unit, the cab rusted out, and a new lower half had to be fitted in 1990. Acquired by the present owner in 2019, a ‘mild restoration’ is underway, to be followed by a cab repaint.


Ian Bartlett’s 1940 Fordson E88W 25cwt van was new to Ransomes, Sims & Jeffries of Ipswich and, initially, was used by the works’ emergency team. It left there in 1962 and passed through several local owners before ending up at Ipswich Transport Society. Given away by the museum in 1980 on condition it was restored, it was bought by the present owners in part-restored condition, at the John Mould auction in 2003. It’s now fully restored in the livery of the owner’s traditional ironmonger’s shop – a type of business that’s now almost as rare as these vans!

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