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Homepage. This page: A closer look at the James Handyvan, part of the Classic Van section at oldclassiccar.
Classic vans and pickups

The James Handyvan, 1929-1939.

Return to the Classic van & pickup section. Period images of the James Handyvan
Terry kindly sent me these scans a little while back, taken from period publicity material issued by The James Cycle Co. Ltd, of Greet, Birmingham, publicising their range of 3-wheeled light vans and pickup trucks. The pictures shown here feature the different Handyvans that they could supply at the time of publication - the 12cwt "Bulk Capacity" Handyvan, the 8cwt & 12cwt Open-side van, the 12cwt Open truck (pickup), and suitable for specialist coachbuilders, the chassis/scuttle option.
The James Handyvan first puttered onto the chaotic roads of Britain in 1929, and survived in production until 1939. Obviously motorcycle-based, the Handyvan offered an economical light goods vehicle for the small-business owner. Early Handyvans were powered by an engine of just 247cc and offered a payload capacity of 5cwt. In 1933 the engine was replaced with a larger V-Twin unit, as can be seen on this page, and the payload capacity was increased to 8cwt or 12cwt, depending on the model chosen. The later James vans were known as the "Samson Handyvan".
Similar three-wheeled vans were offered by Reliant and Raleigh at this time. If anyone has photographs of the James Handyvan in service when they were a common sight, it'd be great to feature them on the site if possible, thanks. One such example of a period scene did turn up, of an open truck (pickup) being used for coal deliveries. It now features in the photographs section, on this page.
The James engine
A Handyvan pickup truck of the 1930s
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