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Homepage. This page: Various Ford-based specials competing in Chester Motor Club's off-road trials in the 1950s.

1950's trials cars at a Chester M.C. event.

A while back I purchased a set of photographs taken at a trials meeting. Initially I'd wondered if they were from the late 1930s, but a check on some of the cars' registration numbers confirmed that the trials cars, and the photos, date to the early-mid 1950s, a time when interest in trialling was high due to its (relative) affordability and entertainment value. Fortunately one of the pictures has a small pencil note on its reverse, proclaiming it to be a Chester M.C. (Motor Club) trial held in April 1952. They could quite easily have been events run by the 750 MC (750 Motor Club), the MCC (Motor Cycling Club), or the VSCC (Vintage Sports Car Club).

1. A Welsh-registered trials car.

HCA 543 (Denbighshire, 1951-onwards) is shown in the first two photographs to feature on this page, which ties in well with this being a trial held in the Chester/North Wales region. The first sees the car, with driver and co-driver/bouncer, tackling a relatively un-muddy section with three spectators looking on. An Austin 7 box saloon can be seen parked in the distance. If anyone recognises a car, a venue, or a driver in these pictures, please do get in touch! Perhaps the three-stud wheel fixings on this car will help its identification, or at least the source of its running gear?
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
A car competes in a post-war trial
Photograph number two sees the same trials car at speed, tackling a section in a wooded area. An AA badge is fitted, as is an unidentified motor club badge.
Car at speed during a trial

2. A Ford-based special from 1947-ish.

Registration number JWJ 97 suggests that this car's underpinnings date to 1947 (Sheffield), and are quite probably Ford 10 in origin. The first image in this next pair show the car attacking the hill, with both driver and bouncer well wrapped-up on what looks like a bright, but chilly, winter's day. Again the car is a home-built creation, with one-off bodywork and a cut-down Ford E83W van radiator grille. The wheels are also Ford 1172 items.
Ford 1172cc trials car
A shot now of the same Ford-based special tackling the wooded section shown further up this page. The transverse leaf front spring confirms that a Ford 8 or 10 chassis nestled beneath this particular car's bodywork, a popular choice with trials drivers.
Ford 1172 special attacked a trials hill

3. A different car in action on the hill.

There are few identifying features on this next car to aid its identification. It could well be based on MG or Morris running gear.
Another car in action

4. MG/Ford-based car.

The next trials car features elements of MG (M-Type radiator) and Ford 8/10 (front axle, chassis), and again is a perfect example of home-grown trials car of the post-war era, where function over form is the aim.
A Ford/MG special

5. Another Ford 1172 trials car.

Two photos now of HYD 232, another car exhibiting elements of Ford 1172 in its design - notably the steel pressed wheels and the cut-down 7Y saloon grille. The registration suggests that it was based on a 1947 car. The first photo sees the car tackling a hill, the passenger ready to commence bouncing duties the moment that traction is lost, or starts to slip away.
A Ford 1172 trials car
A low-down shot of the same car, tackling another muddy incline.
Classic trials

6. More Ford parts ascend a hill.

The next trials car shares many of its design elements with the previous machine - notably the wheels, the offset spotlamp, and the 7Y grille. The registration is HTD 234, suggesting that another 1947 Ford sidevalve donated its running gear to the cause.
Tackling a muddy trials hill
No crash helmets in classic trials cars, just a flat cap, or in the case of this car's passenger/bouncer, a fine beret.
Kicking up the mud

7. ABL 132 tackles the hilly ground.

Another clutch of sidevalve Ford parts in close formation, as a smartly-executed Ford trials car tackles the rutted slope. ABL 132 has a modified Ford E04A grille. The Berkshire registration dates to 1936, so the car could be based on a late Model Y, albeit with later axles. Note the neatly-designed scuttle, with its curved top edge in the pre-war sporting style, and missing headlamp.
Another trials car based on a 1936 Ford

8. Another home-made trials car.

The bodywork on this car is quite angular, the radiator grille looks to be of mixed Ford origin, while the remainder was probably constructed in the owner's shed. The rear wheels are also Ford, possibly wide 16" E83W pickup wheels, with larger wheels of different origin at the front.
Home-made sports car

9. Another car tackles the Chester Motor Club trial.

More Ford E494A Anglia parts are in evidence in this photo of the '52 Chester Motor Club event, with car registration EDN 568 bouncing its way up the muddy course. Flat caps, once again, are much in evidence, de rigueur attire for drivers, passengers and spectators alike.
Chester Motor Club trials car in 1952
A second photo shows the same car tackling the wooded section.
Through the woods on the Chester M.C. event

10. More Ford parts in close formation attempt the climb.

Two photographs of a different car now, the first taken at the same location as shown above. Once again, Ford 8/10 parts ascend the muddy section that wends its way through the undergrowth.
Ford 1172 trials car in action
The classic triallist's trick of lowering the rear tyre pressures is demonstrated with this next machine, the tyres and tubes struggling to remain on their rims. Does anyone recognise the location of the photographs? The hillside shots could well have been taken in a former quarry.
The 1172cc Ford climbs a muddy hill

11. Mud, mud, glorious mud.

More mud, and more Ford 1172cc parts in high-octane action. I'm wondering if this Chester M.C. event was purely for Ford-powered cars, or perhaps cars of that size, as no larger vehicles are shown in this set of photos. The ANF registration suggests that a chassis from the mid-1930s supports this trials car's neat bodywork.
Another car in the Chester-area trial

12. Bouncer and driver in perfect harmony.

Trials cars certainly have a hard life, and this example is no exception. Powering up the rutted climb, the driver picks his line while the sturdy-looking bouncer plays his part in helping the rear tyres grapple for traction. This is the final photograph I have in this collection, but if more turn up I'll add them in. Does anyone remember attending Chester M.C. events like this in the 1950s?
Chester Motor Club

Chester Motor Club.

The Chester Motor Club is still in existence, and can trace its roots back to 1921 when the first gathering of like-minded motorsport enthusiasts gathered at The Kings Head hotel in Chester. Trials were just one of several different types of event organised by the club over the years. The history of the C.M.C. can be found on this page of their interesting site.
Return to Page 14 in the classic & vintage vehicle photo gallery.
Other items of possible interest relating to trials cars on the site include a car competing on an event organised by the North Lancashire Motorcycle Club after the war, and four photos of another trials car in 1949, 1950 and 1951. A series of photographs featuring a rare prototype Dellow, which survives to this day and has been restored, can be found on the Dellow page.

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