The following two photographs both hail from the same source, and I thank Jenny for sending them over. A number of items relating to her father's old business, Welland's Garage (link), can now be found on the site, and it is for this business that the Ford Model AA shown below served. Her father Cyril is shown stood with the trusty breakdown lorry, known as "Lizzie", outside the garage in Burnham-on-Sea in 1948. Evidently the old girl had led a busy life, and at the time with raw materials in short supply it was still very much a case of "mend and make do", note the cord securing the exhaust silencer to the body mounting bracket.
I wonder if the salvage crane was an in-house creation built at the garage? I've been unable to find a match for it in a contemporary Harvey Frost catalogue, and the two upper "arms" do look like a car's chassis side rails, truncated where they'd extend over the rear axle, and much modified to suit this new role.
Just visible to the left, alongside the main garage doors, is a Redex upper cylinder lubricant cabinet, while behind the Ford is a Dunlop sign. The mechanics of the lifting gear mounted to the truck's rear chassis can be clearly seen, hard work to use no doubt but it'd probably still be in fully working order even today, if it has survived. Usually Model AAs have twin rear wheels, here though it is running with just a single wheel at either end of the rear axle. What a great photo.
(Please click the thumbnails to view the full-size images.)
Recovering a stranded car on Berrow beach, 1958.
The second photograph was taken ten years later, in 1958. The truck has received a coat of paint and a general tidy-up, and now has both rear wheels fitted. It is shown recovering a V8 Ford saloon that had got into difficulty on Berrow beach. Apparently recovering cars off the sands was not an uncommon experience, as Jenny now describes:
"I have many stories of people who he pulled from the mud on Berrow Beach over the years, including the son of Air Chief Marshal Lord Hugh Dowding, head of Fighter Command. His son sat in his car, stuck up to the doors in our lovely mud tooting SOS on his horn. Funny, the two men on the winch are Peter Horsey the Butcher and Frank Maisey the Baker, we did not have a Candlestick Maker in Berrow or I am sure he would have joined in too!!!"
"Whenever there was a car stuck, Peter and Frank would be the first to want to come and help dad. It was always fun for us if not the people stuck? Dad had to retire due to M.S. but continued with his interest in the Garage until his death in 1991, at the age of 83. He was a man well thought of in the village, and during the war years worked in Bristol as a foreman on the Bailey Bridges. At home at the weekends he used to work on farm equipment and essential-use cars. He and his sister Violet were often to be found in an ambulance car. Our local doctor had a crankshaft break in his car during the war, and dad made one on the lathe out of oak. The car was sold on with it still in place. I have the photos of that somewhere."
The Ford in the second photograph dates to 1936, registered as NV 9013. The stylised "V8" emblem can be seen on the spare wheel cover, beneath the number plate. The distinctive bumper, with the dip in the centre, has sturdy chains attached to it to enable the recovery. The rear wheels of the lorry are supported on an assortment of planks, to prevent it becoming marooned along with the car. All in a day's work for any garage that happened to be situated near a beach.
Enthusiasts of old breakdown lorries will probably also be interested to see this 1937 Bedford, in the livery of Spurling Motors. Two photos of a unique campervan based on a 1929 Model AA truck can also be found, here. The video below contains over 120 photos of classic breakdown truck, recovery lorries, car transporters and more.
Old Classic Car (C) R. Jones 2022. Content not to be reproduced elsewhere.