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Homepage. This page: The original purchase paperwork for the Commer turns up, from 1963.
The Commer Superpoise restoration project

Original documentation from the 1960s.

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A number of items of paperwork relating to this old racing car transporter accompanied it on its trip northwards, from its Somerset home, in 2014. These included a few old paddock passes that I found inside the cab, and the odd item of correspondence from when W.B. Croot (Brian Croot) used the old van to transport the Sphinx-Allard, or "Sopwith Sphinx" as it was also known back in the 1950s. Fortunately, the old card RF60 continuation logbook also survives, detailing its second and third registered owners (the first owner was Forte's in Bournemouth, before it was converted into its car-carrying role).

Purchase correspondence from Tice & Son, in 1963.

Early in 2017, I received a note from the Croot household, to the effect that a number of items of paperwork relating to the venerable old van had re-surfaced, from when it was purchased with a view to converting it into a racing-car transporter, way back in 1963. As a sucker for any old items of ephemera of this nature, the news was received here at OCC HQ with a healthy dose of excitement. A few days later an envelope arrived in the post, containing the following printed gems. Any items such as these are gold when researching the history of an old vehicle, and help to piece together the vehicle's early working life, like little else other than first-hand accounts from the people involved can do. Understandably therefore I'm delighted to now have these items stored within the Commer's file.

Order confirmation letter.

Firstly, a wonderful letter dated 8th May 1963, addressed to W.B. Croot c/o the firm at which I believe he worked (or was involved with), namely N.E. Davis Engineers, of Wareham in Dorset. The supplying dealer is confirmed as Tice & Son Ltd of Bournemouth. A couple of years earlier I contacted the existing Tice dealership. They have records going back several decades, and were able to supply me with a photo of KEL 488 when it was new - this can be found here. Director and Sales Manager at Tice & Son, Mr F. Dunnington, signed the following correspondence, typed onto headed company paperwork that features an illustration of Tice's garage (a photo of which can also be found on the above link).
The letter confirms the order placed on the previous day for the classic Commer, after an inspection organised by a Mr Seal. The fact that Tice's also supplied the van new, and here as a used vehicle some thirteen years later, is confirmed. Specifics relating to the vehicle's road tax are given, followed by good wishes for its future life carrying racing car(s), and the fortunes of its driver(s). Delivery date was set for Tuesday May 14th 1963, and an order form (shown further down) was enclosed.
Letter re the Commer from Tice & Son
The scale of the Tice & Son organisation is clear - the illustration of the building, and the list of vehicles which they could supply - are evidence of this. The dealership was predominantly a Rootes outlet, hence the references to Hillman, Humber, Commer and Karrier, although honourable mentions are also given to Aston-Martin, Lagonda, Standard, Sunbeam-Talbot and Triumph.
It would seem that while Mr. Croot did the purchasing negotiations, for the first few years of the Commer's new life pounding the A-roads of England between races, sprints and hillclimbs, it was in fact registered to Norman Edgar Davis (as confirmed by the old logbook), of N.E. Davis Engineers, and used by both drivers as and when necessary. It would transfer to Croot's full ownership a few years later.
Collection day in 2014 It's 2014, and the Commer prepares to leave its long-term home in Somerset.

Order form.

Posted with the above letter was the order form, confirming the vehicle's details. The model was originally penned as Q2, but later altered by ??? to Q3. The colour scheme is recorded as being white and blue (probably from its Forte's days), and the delivery address is given as Trinity Lane in Wareham. Croot is listed as the Commer's purchaser, and his signature appears on the paperwork. So while he is down as having bought it, it would actually be registered in Davis' name instead, for the first few years at any rate.
Order for the transporter

Invoice.

Next, the Commer's invoice, dated 14th May 1963.
The Commer Q2's invoice

The continuation logbook.

As mentioned, this logbook came with the Commer when I bought it. It confirms that the registration of the Commer Q2 actually went into Norman Davis' name, at the Trinity Lane address. I seem to recall being told that the two of them both raced cars in the 1960s, and used Davis' workshop as a base for their activities, at least for the first few years. The registration is stamped 15th May 1963, ie the day following the estimated delivery date of the 14th referred to in the previous correspondence. The document also suggests that the van was pale grey at this time, rather than the blue/white described in the Tice paperwork, and was later painted green (in 1965 it seems), the scheme it has now.
Continuation logbook

Norman Davis.

Does anyone remember seeing Norman Davis racing anywhere? He was clearly active in the 1960s, and possibly earlier, but as yet I've found no references to this (presumably) amateur driver online as yet. The logbook shows that ownership transferred to Croot fully in 1968. Correspondence received from Tim, one of Brian Croot's sons, points to Davis meeting an untimely, watery, end. A boating enthusiast, he was lost at sea close to the French coastline in his yacht, at some point in the late 1960s. His body was never found. It's likely that the transfer of the Commer's ownership from Davis to Croot therefore took place at around this time. I'm told that Davis used to race a single-seat Lola, with a spaceframe chassis, possibly a Lola Mk2 - the "mini Vanwall", hence his need for and use of the Commer. As with everything I'm researching, I'd like to find out more about this gentleman and his racing.
W.B. Croot however used the lorry to transport the Sphinx-Allard to race meetings, and also a C-Type Jaguar I believe (something else I'd like to find out more about).

Dunn's Motors Limited, Taunton.

The final item to turn up in this group "find" is a receipt for various engine parts, issued by Dunn's Motors Limited (Rootes Main Dealers) of East Street in Taunton, in October 1967. I wonder if this is when the conversion from sidevalve to OHV Commer/Humber engine was made. The purchaser of the parts is down as the Radstock Road Motor Company.
Dunn's Motor Company Ltd
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