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Homepage. This page: A coachbuilt Vauxhall 20/60 panel van in use with film producer Gaumont British.

Vauxhall 20/60 van owned by Gaumont British.

This photo has been sat in a file here for a few years, the identity of the mystery vintage van being far from obvious at first glance. Stumbling across it again this morning, prompted a more thorough inspection of this intriguing image. Enough of the signwriting evident on the rear side panel confirmed that it was in the ownership of Gaumont British, a prolific producer of both films and local news items, in addition to being owners of cinemas located across the United Kingdom in the 1920s and 1930s. The identity of the van though took a little longer to pin down.
Thankfully there's a great clue. The photographer managed to include the van's spare wheel in his viewfinder before depressing the shutter button. The letter "V" on the centre wheel cap narrowed down the likely list of candidates for the vehicle's maker, Vauxhall being the first name that sprung to mind (after I'd already discounted Vulcan, a contemporary manufacturer of lorries). Most vintage Vauxhalls though have knock-on spinners to locate the wheels, not something that this van was equipped with. This page features a number of pictures of a Vauxhall 20/60 tourer, a model introduced following GM's takeover, in 1927. This model had bolt-on wheels with a centre cap that matches the one visible in the photograph below. My guess is that this, therefore, is a coachbuilt van, built onto a Vauxhall 20/60 chassis dating to 1929 or thereabouts. It would be 1930 before GM in the UK introduced the Bedford brand name for its commercial vehicles.
Vauxhall themselves marketed the 20/60 with a range of closed and open-top car bodies. It could also supply a chassis fitted with factory front wings and scuttle, to external coachbuilders who sought to build one-off or low-volume specialised vehicles on their chassis. I think this is what happened with the Gaumont British van shown below. Does anyone know who might have been responsible for the van bodywork?
(Please click the thumbnail to view the full-size image.)
Vauxhall 20/60 van
Two well-dressed chaps are stood with the van, one with a camera around his neck, the other leaning nonchalantly against the driver's door. The gent in the waistcoat has a small circular pass hanging from a buttonhole, and a pair of spectacles poking out of his righthand pocket. Perhaps they were at a horse racing event? Could that be a golf club leaning against the van, just visible between the two gents in the picture, or is it a rest for the camera (something can be seen just behind the lefthand chap's shoulder, against the van)?
One curiosity is that on the van's valance, between the bottom of the door and the running board, a couple of names can be made out, one reading "W.B. ROBINSON" and the other "H. ROGERS". What or who do the names refer to - these two men maybe? Also, can anyone identify the camera belonging to the gent on the left?
A closer look at the name on the van
What make of camera is this?
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