Peter Simpson shares some of the interesting exhibits he found at this year’s Classic Car and Restoration Show at the NEC.
Photos: Peter Simpson & Sarah Lott
As usual, the restoration-themed classic car season-opening event at the NEC included a good selection of commercial vehicles in varying conditions. Here’s a selection of the interesting machinery I found on display.
Classic Car and Restoration Show: Here’s a ‘nearly finished’ restoration, displayed by the Ford Sidevalve Owners Club. This 1951 Fordson E83W van has, like many supplied at the time, bespoke bodywork built by Hawson Garner of Acton, from a chassis and scuttle supplied by Ford. The body is made from reinforced woodfibre compressed into sheets – not unlike hardboard. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this material isn’t massively long-lasting and, consequently, the van has been rebuilt several times during it long life.
With barn finds as the theme of this year’s classic restoration show, one of the centrepiece stands – sponsored by Footman James Insurance – displayed a selection of ‘discoveries’, complete with hay bales for added effect. One such was this 1971 Austin half-ton ‘A60’ van…
… The vehicle was owned from new by the Lancashire church furnishing and renovation company whose sign-writing it still carries. It’s been in storage for, quite literally, decades. It would be really good if, somehow, the restoration could retain that original, period sign-writing!
The Volvo Enthusiasts Club usually displays one lorry alongside the cars on its stand but, this year, the usual Evans Minsterley F88 was joined by this fabulous F86 tractor unit in the livery of Mansfield-based B Taylor & Sons.
A real rarity here that’s definitely in need of some TLC! It’s one of just two 1971 ambulances that were built based on the Austin 3-Litre saloon. This one is thought to have been an ambulance at the Lockheed factory.
Two Maestro vans graced the Maestro & Montego Owners Club display. This 1994 500L is owned by Paul Stokes, with restoration into a replica West Midland Police van underway since 2019. Though never owned by the WMP, this is arguably the next-best thing, having a registration from the same ‘GVP’ series as the original vans.
Also within the Footman James ‘Barn’ was this probably-unique 1961 Series II Land-Rover bullion van. With bespoke bodywork by Lomas (better-known for ambulances), this vehicle was commissioned by Shotton Steelworks of Flintshire, and used to collect the staff wages every week from a bank in Chester. Retired in 1975, it ended up as a farm hack, but was rescued by David Alcock who plans a full restoration.
This Mini display by specialist restorer The Real Mini Company of Wallingford featured a trio of vehicles, of which two were the commercial variants.
This feature comes fro the latest issue of Classic & Vintage Commercials, and you can get a money-saving subscription to this magazine simply by clicking HERE