Unique and fascinating collection explored in East Anglia

Posted by Chris Graham on 1st July 2024

We get exclusive access to a unique and fascinating collection of classic commercial vehicles and parts that’s come to light in East Anglia.

fascinating collection

Part of a fascinating collection in Lincolnshire that’s being opened-up to commercial vehicle owners and restorers.

There’s no getting away from it; sourcing parts for older British lorries from the 1980s back can be tricky, and gets harder with each passing year. They aren’t making them any more, so what we have now is all that we will ever have. What’s more, because the whole business of commercial vehicle preservation is somewhat specialist, it can take an expert eye to distinguish sought-after spare parts from stuff that’s simply scrap.

fascinating collection

Ergo-cabbed AEC six-wheel bulker has been here a long time and yes, the cab is very, very rusty!

Another issue is that much of what’s left is in the hands of people who have had it a long time, are getting on a bit in years and, not to put too fine a point on it, will not be with us forever. Then, when they do pass on, the risk is that other assets will be seen as more valuable, and the lorry stuff will, for speed and convenience, just be sent for scrap.

fascinating collection

c1977 ERF B-Series with greenery taking over inside the cab as well as outside.

These days ‘brownfield’ development sites are highly sought after, and even a pretty modest plot can easily have a value running into millions. In most cases, whoever has inherited the site will want to see it converted into cash as quickly as possible, and a few thousand quid’s worth of lorry parts will be neither here nor there; in most cases the priority will be to get the site cleared as quickly as possible, and in most cases the quickest way is to have a scrap metal dealer clear the lot!

fascinating collection

Scammell Handyman tractor and tanker trailer, both still showing the remains of their Wincanton Transport livery. That would surely look fabulous restored and on the show circuit.

Anyway, we were recently made aware, via our good friends Neal and Nigel Davies, of a very significant stash of spares and possible restoration projects just on the Lincolnshire side of the Lincolnshire and Norfolk border. We should probably at this point mention that the site is now very well protected by security of the electronic and canine variety, along with other means of keeping the site secure; in fact we’ll go as far as to say that anyone who does enter uninvited is running a very real risk of personal injury!

fascinating collection

1987 ERF tractor unit that appears to have worked for Turners of Soham.

The site formerly ran as a lorry breaking business, with engine and other component exports to China as a major line. However, that business dried up when China became able to make spare parts and components themselves rather than bring them in from abroad. The owner is also a particular fan of Gardner engines, and extremely knowledgeable about them.

fascinating collection

ERF B Series of 1977-78 vintage operated by May Gurney. Quite a few lorries in this yard appear to have come direct from their original owners, presumably with export in mind.

The site is known among local enthusiasts, but it’s one of those places where in the past you’ve needed to be known to be able to buy anything. However, the owner is now in his eighties and recognises that it is, perhaps, time for some of his collection to go to people who can make good use of them.

fascinating collection

A cab that looks like it could well be restorable.

He does not, however, want to deal with enquiries directly, and has ask Neal and Nigel to act as intermediaries and a first point of contact for any enquiries. It should also be noted that Neal, Nigel and the owner all know the value of what is there; this is not a clearance sale that will net anyone a complete Gardner engine for fifty quid! Rather, its an opportunity for lorry owners, repairers and restorers to get their hands on stuff which may be scarce now and will be more so in the future.

fascinating collection

Seddon Atkinson in the foreground dates from 1980 and has been off the road since 1993; 31 years, and more than twice as long as it was in use. AEC in the background is ex-Walls Meats.

As our photos show, there are also numerous complete and almost-complete lorries on site, which may well be available to purchase complete. All have, however, been standing outside for many years and if restorable at all, are likely to be major projects. Others are probably best regarded as parts donors, though we have seen worse bought back from the brink!

fascinating collection

This one would certainly take a bit of getting-out, and it looks pretty rough, but could still yield some scarce parts.

To find out more and/or to make enquiries about the availability of specific items, contact Neal and Nigel by email to

fascinating collection

Around every corner there’s something else.


More wonders in the deep.


To the untutored eye, this looks like a pile of scrap. It isn’t.


Scammell box-van trailer would look fabulous behind a restored Scarab or Townsman.


There are plenty of tyres including some that have never actually been used. They’ll almost certainly be past the 10-year age limit for use on the front axle of commercially-operated vehicles. Most have been stored in dark conditions so should still be useable on preserved vehicles.


This yard contains what is almost certainly the largest number of old-lorry engines to be found anywhere in Britain. Here’s just a few of them.


More engines. Gardner units were a speciality of the export business and form the majority, but there are others. All are basically as removed and still contain old oil.


Radiator corner. They’ll need reconditioning before being used, but if yours is beyond repair or simply missing, one of these could be exactly what you need…


A set of heavy haulage trailer wheels acquired at auction some years ago. Someone, somewhere, must surely need these!


Something a bit more modern in the shape of a trio of Eminox-type exhausts.


Need a replacement front panel for your Bristol FLF bus, or just fancy one as a wall-display piece? Look no further.


A pile of scrap? To the untutored eye yes, but we can se lots in there which could be re-useable and would be pretty-much impossible to remanufacture.

This feature comes from the latest issue of Classic & Vintage Commercials, and you can get a money-saving subscription to this magazine simply by clicking HERE


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