The Enfield Pageant of Motoring

Posted by Chris Graham on 2nd August 2023

Mike Neale reports on this year’s brilliant Enfield Pageant of Motoring, held over the May Bank Holiday weekend.

Enfield Pageant of Motoring

This 1931 Ford Model AA, owned by Thompsons of Crews Hill, hasn’t moved far from its original home.

The Enfield Pageant of Motoring, organised by the nearby Whitewebbs Museum of Transport as its main, annual fundraiser, was blessed with glorious sunshine over its traditional end of May Bank Holiday weekend. It’s now held just on the Saturday and Sunday as previously the number of exhibitors and visitors was dwindling on the Monday. Attendance figures were up on last year, and there was a wide range of vehicles on display, although sadly no steam this time.

An immaculately restored 1931 Dagenham-built Ford Model AA pick-up was very similar to the very first vehicle to be driven off that factory’s production line. The truck was discovered around 10 years ago in a barn just up the road from the current owner’s depot, where it had been languishing for the previous 30 years. It was originally a stonemason’s truck in Edmonton, so it hasn’t been far from home in the past 92 years!

Enfield Pageant of Motoring

The gleaming metallic paintwork and whitewall tyres on this Ford F1 disguise its utilitarian origins.

Next to this was another Ford pick-up; an early post-war F1 half-ton truck from 1946, but this one was built in America and looked much more transatlantic in style, with its whitewall tyres and vertical chrome bar grille. Under the skin, it was the same as Ford’s 1942 trucks.

Whitewebbs Museum had brought along a number of vehicles from the collection, including the 1929 Morris Commercial T-Type breakdown truck. Fortunately, its services weren’t called upon during the show! The one-ton T-Type was the first commercial produced by Morris Commercial Cars Ltd in 1924, and used the contemporary Oxford’s 13.9hp engine.  

Enfield Pageant of Motoring

Whitewebbs Museum’s Morris-Commercial T-Type breakdown truck.

The museum had also brought along its 1956 Ferguson T-20 tractor. You couldn’t really call it a ‘Little Grey Fergie’ as it wasn’t actually grey, being finished in olive green army livery.

In more typical colours of blue and orange was a 1959 Fordson Power Major diesel tractor, which had been found rusting but running on a nursery in Hertford back in 1979. The owner swapped a 1950 grey Fergie for it, and then restored it between 1980 and ’82. Unusually, it had a cab fitted, which I think was by Winsam.

Enfield Pageant of Motoring

This Ferguson T-20 tractor in military guise normally resides at Whitewebbs Museum.

Among several Land Rovers was a nicely restored, 1954 Series 1 86in version, which was being offered for sale. Apparently it was still fitted with its original engine, and was being sold with both a canvas top and factory hardtop.

A 1963 AEC Merryweather turntable-ladder fire engine was one of five identical appliances ordered by the LCC London Fire Brigade to a design that was unique to London, on an AEC Mercury chassis with a 7,685cc, six-cylinder diesel engine. It had a 100ft extending steel ladder comprising a fixed main ladder with three extending sections. Originally based at New Cross fire station and in service until 1981 (in the reserve fleet from 1980), it now resides at Romford fire station, having been restored by the 240FLM Turntable Ladder Preservation Group.

A Fordson Power Major tractor fitted with an enclosed cab.

In gleaming black with cream detailing, and looking almost better than new, was a 1946 Bedford O-Series tractor unit and trailer in Vantona Textiles Ltd livery – a Manchester bedding company established in the 1920s, which used it from 1946 to 1953. Presented in a more weather-beaten appearance was a blue and red 1948 Bedford O-Series dropside truck.

Other Bedfords included a 1965 J1 pick-up in red and a 1965 JO in white. The J1 was a 25/35cwt truck with a wheelbase of 9ft 11in and single rear wheels, while the JO was a steel-bodied pick-up fitted with the Vauxhall Cresta 2,651cc six-cylinder, making it a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Recently restored was the rare and wonderfully named 1960 Bedford CA Kenex Carefree camper van, finished in turquoise and white with a full width rising roof, built in Dover before Kenex was taken over by Martin Walter. It was one of several CA vans at the event.

A 1954 Land Rover Series 1.

A regular feature of the pageant, for as long as I have been visiting, is the line-up of Bedford CA vans brought along by enthusiast Bob Alderman, and this year was no exception. Most body styles and eras were represented, including panel van, pick-up and tipper. He had played a blinder with the three gown and Luton vans, though, starting with a 1956 split-screen van originally owned by a house furnishers in Dovercourt, that was undergoing a sensitive restoration.

A 1960 single-piece windscreen gown van with the second-generation grille, bodied by Keith & Boyle (Ldn) Ltd., had a body insulated with polystyrene for its first owner, an ice cream factory in Dulwich. A 1968 Luton van, a third-generation type (confusingly known by Bedford as the Mk2), with the larger windscreen and pressed alloy grille, is believed to have been used by a piano firm early on in its life.

Bob had also brought along a 1952 Ford E83W 10cwt gown van, bought from Matthewson’s auctions in Thornton-le-Dale, mainly in order to stop it having holes cut in the side to turn it into a catering van. This had been restored, but remains largely as originally built.

This 1963 AEC Merryweather turntable ladder served with the London Fire Brigade.

Another sidevalve Fordson – a 1950 E494C 5cwt van – still looking very smart in Howes Lollipops livery, is a regular attendee at the show. It must have lost its original registration many years ago, as has had the A-reg reflective number plates for as long as I can remember seeing it.

A well-used early Morris Minor split-screen pick-up from 1954 had been with its current owner for almost 30 years. It has been fitted with a later 1,275cc A-Series engine, in place of the original 803cc.

An unusual Austin was a 1952 ‘woody’ shooting brake coachbuilt on an FX3 taxi chassis with a 2.2 litre petrol engine, supplied new to Bright Steels Ltd. of Norton, North Yorkshire.

An immaculate Bedford OSS with Scammell coupling to its flatbed trailer.

It’s expected that next year’s Pageant will again be at the end of May, but the location may be moved due to the expansion of the London ULEZ zone. For more information check nearer the time.

This report comes from the latest issue of Old Glory, and you can get a money-saving subscription to this magazine simply by clicking HERE


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