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Dellow trials car.

Period ad for the Dellow car
Period supplier advert for the Mk1 Dellow, as posted by forum member MikeC some time ago.
Trialling either side of WW2 was seen as a relatively affordable, and sociable, form of motorsport, and continues to be so even today. One of the best-known commercially-produced trials car of the immediate post-war era was the Ford-powered Dellow. This page features a selection of photographs of a very early car indeed, prototype car number 3, registration CAB 282. I'm very grateful to its current custodian, Peter Seabrook-Harris, for sending over this selection of images featuring his car. Unlike the later Dellows that featured an in-house produced chassis, the first handful - including Peter's - incorporates an Austin 7 chassis beneath its trialling body. The power unit chosen for the Dellow was Ford's ubiquitous 10hp (RAC) 1172cc sidevalve unit, as found under the bonnet of many Ford Pops and Prefects of the era, not forgetting the many many home-built specials that also led to Ford 10 saloons being cannibalised for their oily parts. While Pops and their ilk were designed to haul four people around the pre-motorway roads and lanes of Britain and beyond, slowly, Dellows were designed for one purpose only - competition work, usually involving mud.

Photographs - 1940s to the 1960s.

The first of Peter's photographs shows the Dellow in its natural environment, being given the beans at a meeting in the late 1940s. This venue was known as Nailsworth Ladder. The car's first owner was Mr Lewis Tracey, a well-known trials driver of the day. No racing overalls or "bone domes" for competitors in those days, or now for that matter, just a sturdy overcoat and a flat cap to match.
Click to view:
Dellow competing in a late-1940s trial
This next shot again shows the Dellow in action, several years later.
CAB282 in action
Here we have an overhead shot of the Dellow at work. A similar view of CAB was featured on the cover of Autosport magazine in 1950.
Overhead view of the Dellow
Following a bout of trialling action, the two-man crew are photographed with the car. A chap - who looks surprisingly similar to Stirling Moss - sits astride a trials-prepared BSA motorcycle, alongside the Dellow.
Dellow and BSA
Judging by how well presented and clean the car is in this next photograph, I suspect it had just begun a day's trialling. It's shown tackling a steep muddy track at an unidentified location, the bouncer in the passenger seat readying himself for work while a crowd of spectators looks on with interest.
Competing in a trial
Although best known perhaps for their trialling successes, Dellows could be seen from time to time in circuit races, as the following two photos demonstrate. Note the slightly different grille, and low-tech racing garments :-)
On a racing circuit
Racing as car number 15
While used for competition at weekends, during the week cars like this were often used as a "daily driver" by their competitive owners. CAB 282 is shown parked in a London street, with its bare hood frame in the raised position. An extra Lucas lamp has found its way on to the grille. A number of more commonly-encountered cars of the day can be seen behind, namely a Mk1 Cortina, an 1100/1300 in front of an A35, with a Bedford CA van (minus rear wheel spat) a little further away.
Parked in a London street
A spot of weekend tinkering perhaps? A new hood is being sewn together, while a few jobs under the car's bonnet are also being attended to.
Making a new hood
Another roadside shot of the compact Dellow. The owners stand alongside their sporting machine in this view.
Parked outside a house
The final "period" photo in this set shows the Dellow looking mighty sad and unkempt, missing various parts, with an equally derelict-looking Ford 100E for company. This was in the late 1960s, Peter bought the car as a project in 1977.
The Dellow looking derelict in a garden

The car today.

Peter restored the car over a good number of years, all the while striving to keep as much as possible of the originality intact. This approach led to most of the bodywork being fixed and re-used, rather than disposed of and replaced by new. Many thanks for sending over this set of photos, much appreciated.
Prior to restoration
The restored car as it is today

Related pages at OCC.

The popularity of special-building, and competing in post-war trials, led to all manner of tuning parts being created and sold to keen owners looking to extract more performance from their cars' (usually) low-tech engines. Companies such as Bowden, Aquaplane, Speedex and more listed tempting engine and suspension upgrades to those wishing to improve their cars. A number of these firms feature in the period tuning section, here at OCC.
Since 2001, hundreds of period motoring photos have been added in, including a number relating to post-war trials cars. A couple of a typical post-war, one-off, trials cars may be seen on this page and this. A set of photographs taken at a Chester Motor Club trial in 1952 can also be found here.
Return to Page 18 in the photographic archive. Alternatively, visit the main index of images here.

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