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Homepage. This page: A pre-war coal truck used by LAC in the 1930s, plus another in Scotland.

A Manchester lorry owned by LAC.

Linda emailed over this first image of a rare "Manchester" lorry, hoping that some more information on it, and the operator, could be uncovered. Her Grandfather is shown sat in the lorry's cab. Linda adds that he won numerous awards for his driving skills, and on at least one occasion drove for a coal merchant. This ties in nicely with the three letters visible on the passenger door - LAC. This stood for Lancashire Associated Collieries and on looking closely at the board above the cab, the words "Lancashire" and "Collieries" can just be discerned. The Manchester's registration, XJ 3736, suggests that the lorry was probably registered late in 1932 or early 1933.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
1930s Manchester coal lorry
Unusually for an old lorry, it has little-worn tyres with a matching diamond tread on the front axle - suggesting that it was probably new, or nearly new, at the time of being photographed - probably 1933-1935 or thereabouts. Quite often lorries and cars that appear in 1930's photos have a mixture of tyres and treads, or often tyres with no tread at all.
A close look inside the windscreen reveals the combined tax disc and commercial operator's licence holder. The vent on the scuttle, just below the screen, is open, suggesting a warm day. The headlamps are pointing skywards so would benefit from a spot of adjustment, not that people tended to worry about such details when the roads were fairly quiet anyway.
Willys-Overland-Crossley Ltd operated out of premises in Heaton Chapel, Stockport, just a short distance from Manchester. It was tasked with assembling Willys-Overland vehicles for the British market. A 1.25 ton lorry, previously known as the Overland, or Willys-Overland, would later be badged as the Manchester or, in some cases, Willys-Manchester. Power was courtesy of a 2.5 litre sidevalve petrol engine. This was joined by a 1.75 ton lorry, fitted with a 3.6 litre engine. Manchesters were produced from 1928 to 1933, making the example shown in Linda's photo a late-ish example of the breed. In 1930 a 2.5 ton model was added to the range.
My thanks to Linda for allowing me to share this photo here.

A second Manchester lorry, in Scotland?

No information accompanies this and a similar photo when I bought them. A close look at the vehicle on the right reveals the legend "MANCHESTER" cast into its radiator header tank, confirming the manufacturer. The registration - RG 106 - is from an Aberdeen series that ran for ten years, from 1928 to 1938. Therefore the lorry shown probably dates to 1930/1931 or thereabouts. The angular cab looks to be a one-off job, either built by its operator or perhaps by a local coachbuilder, with some interesting detailing in evidence, notably the curved wooden panel above the divided windscreens. The box body on the back is also of simple design and construction.
Judging by the rocks and items of junk on the floor around it, the Manchester wasn't in regular use at the time. Little tread remains on either of its front tyres, and the headlamp aim wouldn't satisfy any MOT tester today.
Two other lorries are also present. To the left is a Morris-Commercial, while behind is another - unidentified - vehicle. Part of a headboard fitted to the latter can be seen, but alas only a section of the signwritten operator's name - "?????RFORD" - is visible (Somerford? Hungerford?). Another view, better showing this particular Morris, may be found here.
A lady and gent are stood with the vehicles, as is a girl in tartan skirt, another admittedly tenuous pointer to this being a Scottish scene.
Another Manchester lorry
Return to Page 13 in the classic & vintage car photo gallery.

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