Peter Love reports on the sale and background of a 1928 Scammell S10 artic unit that’s now the oldest of its type still on the road.
It’s with mixed emotions that we report that 91-year-old steam wagon and heavy-haulage pioneer, John Charles Butler, has sold his 1928 Scammell S10 artic unit No. 1240 Rumbling Rose; the only survivor from the famous EW Rudd fleet.
John, who lived in Tonbridge, Kent, purchased the vehicle in 1962 from Archie Redmond’s Coronation Garage, in Falcon Road, Ponders End, which was run by his good friend and Archie’s son, Tom. Tom was also a vintage commercial vehicle pioneer and Scammell fan and owner himself (see The Yellow Rolls-Royce film, and the end sequence for more of Tom and his Scammell outfit).
John paid £60 for the Scammell, but it didn’t have a back axle and so they went in Archie’s Austin K4 5-tonner runabout and picked a good one out of many that Hardwick’s had at Cock’s Lane, Ewell, Surrey. With this fitted with chain, the magneto sorted and the engine oil topped-up (not drained), the Scammell started and went on to take part in various HCVS London to Brighton Road Runs. The first one started at London Transport’s Clapham museum, by the time they arrived the other entries had all left!
Tom went charging off with his Scammell, but John couldn’t keep up and plodded on, but both made it to Brighton! At this time the Scammell was on pneumatics and was kept with other venerable machinery near Judd Road, in Tonbridge. Later the Scammell gained solid tyres, and its last outing on the London-Brighton run was with the restored Scammell artic trailer which, amazingly, had been discovered dumped in Orkney. It was brought back to Kent on the back of the Pierce brothers’ green AEC Ergomatic-cabbed Mercury rigid.
It was an incredible to see the outfit looking perfect when it was on the run. After marriage to Gill and a new life at Harrietsham, the Scammell went with them and took part in various local events over the years. It was the star in the Scammell 100th Anniversary 2022 show in John’s ownership.
John has done so much with this amazing Scammell. Its 7-litre OHV engine was so advanced for its time, and was coupled to the ‘dreaded’ diaphragm clutch which could be a problem off and on with the ‘old girl.’ This was experienced by the editor when on a trip with it to the Ardingly Rally in July 1980, when it went over centre and stuck at Penshurst. After the assistance of some very young children, a length of rusty bedstead was found to act as a lever through the floor boards, the clutch freed-off when it cooled down and, with French chalk added, we were on our way! The petrol tank was high up on the bulkhead in the cab.
In working days, these solid-tyred Scammells used to eat wheel bearings and king pins, but were certainly a great improvement for heavy-haulage operations that were using steam wagons and road locomotives – the future was with Scammell.
The S10, if that’s actually its model designation, is now with Robbie Jardine and, already, his two sons have all the lamps working and the pioneer artic unit has a new future ahead with people who will appreciate it. It’s so pleasing that young people are enjoying this fabulous piece of kit, as I did as a 10-year-old in 1962, when I first saw it. It certainly opened my eyes at the time. Today the Scammell is known as Rumbling Rose – let it rumble on for decades to come!
This feature 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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