1946 Scammell Showtrac sold for £167,500!

Posted by Chris Graham on 5th February 2022

We report on the Cheffins’ sale of the late Roger Austin’s 1946 Scammell collection, in which a Scammell Showtrac sold for £167,500!

1946 Scammell Showtrac sold for £167,500!

1946 Scammell Showtrac sold for £167,500!: Keen fairground enthusiast, Ken Albion, looks at the mighty show-stopper with some delight. (All photos: Peter Love)

This amazing sale, run by Cheffins and which finished on November 20th last year, saw some very interesting vehicles come under the hammer, but the thing that got everyone buzzing was the fact that a 1946 Scammell Showtrac sold for £167,500!

1946 Scammell Showtrac sold for £167,500!

The Gardner engine with green compressor and steering box shaft clearly seen on the Showtrac.

Jeremy Curzon, Cheffins director said: “The price achieved for the 1946 Scammell Showtrac (£167,500 including commission) is an amazing record, setting the bar for values for these hugely collectable fairground vehicles.

“This vehicle represents an important historical development in the history of the British funfair, which was reflected in the pre-sale interest we saw from across the UK. There is an active market for collectors of fairground heritage pieces and commercial vehicles. The late Roger Austin’s reputation as one of the leading owners in the field helped to ensure that bids flew in from far and wide for the best items in the sale.

1946 Scammell Showtrac sold for £167,500!

Originally built as a six-wheeler, this 1931 Scammell chain-drive got to £11,000, but didn’t sell, so is to be offered again in 2022.

“Anyone who might have missed out on items in this sale will be pleased to hear that we will be offering the second part of the collection in 2022, which will include a series of historic rides, figures, rounding boards, signs and other fairground memorabilia.”

1946 Scammell Showtrac sold for £167,500!

The half-size BMC-engined Scammell model sold for £3,000.

Undoubtedly the star of the sale was the amazing ex-Flanagan’s of Watford 1946 Scammell Showtrac 6189, No. 10 of 18 examples built by Scammell, of which 17 survive today (6188 No. 9 was scrapped in 1969 at Selby, Lincolnshire).

1946 Scammell Showtrac sold for £167,500!

The ex-Bicton Gardens Austin 20 12-seater CLJ 566 in tidy condition went for £3,000.

No. 10 was used with John Flanagan’s 1939 ‘Land Wheels Autodrome’ for a while then, after his death, the Showtrac was with his niece Alice Webb and husband George and then used with a ‘Tunnel of Love’ ride. The Showtrac was used by them until 1974, when it was parked up in their Watford yard until they had a fire in 1989, after which it joined the late Roger Austin’s collection.

Just junk to some but, to others, it’s pure gold!

The Showtrac can be described as being in ‘older restored’ condition, but needing some work on the electrical gear and shutter frame area of the body, plus some chrome parts that were showing some rust, which is to be expected.    

1946 Scammell Showtrac sold for £167,500!

Some £1,100 was paid for this Scammell Highwayman.

It’s believed that the Austin family also have Showtracs No. 1 6032 His Majesty, ex-Henry Studt & Sons, and No. 8 West Riding No. 6173, ex-Tom Harniess/Harry Wigfield.   

As can be seen, many of the Scammells needed a full rebuild. This one could have been yours for £950.

Based in Raunds, Northamptonshire, Mr Austin, who ran a car salvage business, was a devoted supporter of the Fairground Heritage Trust, and started his major, large-scale collection in the 1980s, encompassing many hundreds of fairground memorabilia items at its peak.

First of its breed, the 1928 Scammell chain-drive tractor unit King Bobby, which sold for £19,250.

The second lot in the sale was the Parnaby’s-lettered, blue-painted 1927 Scammell 4×2 UW8361 No. 1460 chain-drive ballast tractor. It is well known that the tractor unit was the first ever used on the fairground and built for North East showman Hoadley’s Entertainments. When new it featured a 7-litre Scammell petrol engine, but this was later changed to a Gardner 6LW.

Rare to see, this BSA four-wheel car was very complete, apart from its cylinder head, and sold for £1,000.

The lorry was a ground-breaking vehicle at the time, but was later sold to be used in timber haulage before being rescued for preservation by Derek Parnaby who rebuilt it in his own style. The tractor unit needs work on the starter motor and various small things, but looked good considering it has been stored for at least 20 years now. It was sold for £20,636 (all in) to Cambridgeshire.

This was sold to a buyer from Lancashire, and will now be towed by a Foden road loco.

The very good 1931 Scammell 4×2 chain-drive GW 484 No. 1743DA was new to AC Morris. It was originally built as a six-wheeler but, sometime during its life, was converted to a four-wheeler. The bidding for this fine tractor unit reached £11,000, but this wasn’t enough and it’s to be re-offered at the 2022 Cheffins sale.

Absolutely rotten, this 1968-registered BMC Laird has an interesting history, which included being owned by Auf Wiedershen Pet star, Pat Roach.

Another important lot in the auction was the 1938 Scammell MU DTB 210 No. 2405 with tandem-axled chemical tanker. This was rescued by former policeman Sid Hunsworth, who restored it over 15 years. The outfit had a starring role in the TV advertising campaign for the launch of the Ford Mondeo Mk2 in 1996, in which it was cast as driving on the opposite side of the road to the featured car. This vehicle was purchased by Mr Austin in 1988, and sold for £25,994 (all in) to a private buyer.

Creating loads of interest was the solid-tyred Scammell bogie conversion turntable trailer, ideal for the steam road locomotive enthusiast and, after 41 bids, it sold for £8,800. All-in-all it was an excellent sale for the heavy-haulage enthusiast, and we’re certainly looking forward to the next sale later in the year.

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