Over time we have managed to acquire 5 highly detailed prints of some of our family transport on the fairground, they show some of the classic British trucks that were once so prevalent, not only on the fairground scene, but worldwide.
Roland Tucker’s Scammell Pioneer
Owned by Roland Tucker, a well known Yorkshire showman, this was a fabulous example of its type. Scammell was a late Victorian era wheelwright and coach building business that provided maintenance services to owners of Foden steam wagons. Eventually they were asked by a customer to build a high power haulage unit. World War I put a stop to the project, but equally proved the concept of mechanical haulage over horse drawn carts. By 1920 Scammell had presented a concept for a new model at the Commercial Motor show, taking 50 orders during the event and launching one the worlds most famous heavy haulage marques.
Designed as a 6 x 4 off road vehicle for use in Britain’s colonies where the roads were less than pristine. A bit like the A road network in the UK today. THe combination of incredible suspension travel, with excellent traction and a low revving high torque engine gave it impressive performance. Eventually being chosen as the basis for a heavy artillery tractor during WWII. The type was also developed into a heavy recovery vehicle and a tank transporter. The units were equipped with a Gardner 6 cylinder engine developing a mighty 102 BHP, driving the four rear wheels through a constant mesh gearbox with a top speed of 24mph and powering a Scammell winch.
Our family model was named Invader and used to tow
Dunny Tucker’s S36 Foden
Foden, one of the most popular makes on the fairground scene along with E.R.F, which stood for Edwin Richard Foden, a member of the Foden family who resigned and started a new firm specifically to build diesel powered trucks, rather than the steam wagons that Foden insisted on continuing with.
The company was originally founded towards the end of the 19th Century, and came to prominence when it won MOD trials to supply a series of 3-ton wagons for the military. The family split over diesel power led to the creation of ERF, but Foden was quick to switch its own production to diesel power. Sadly the last Foden rolled of the production lines in 2006 when the American owners Paccar mothballed the brand.
Dunny’s S36 tractor unit, was in the classic funfair style of carrying a couple of generators to power the rides, and towing a couple of trailers, in this case a waltzer ride.
Robert Moody’s E.R.F. ‘Sabrina’
The family split that led to E.R.F.’s creation, saw a range of well regarded vehicles produced. They were built in much the same style as Foden’s offerings, with glass fibre cabs, Gardner engines (though over the years Cummins, Caterpillar, Rolls Royce and Detroit diesel engines were also offered) and Eaton/Fuller gearboxes.
The model above was the KV or Kleer Vue cab. Most of them were typical flat fronted cabs, what the Americans call cabovers. But a number of bonneted versions were produced and proved popular with brewery operators. The rather large appendage on the front led to them being christened ‘Sabrina’ in homage to a busty television personality of the era (her real name was Norma Ann Sykes) a glamour model famous for her tiny 18 inch waist and erm, rather large 41 inch upper works.
This vehicle was used to carry a children’s ride in the North East, and eventually ended up at the end of its life with the engine being removed to build a generator with.
A.R. Moody’s Foden 4000 Series
Another entry from the Foden stable, this one was unusual in that it started life as a 4000 Series model, which is actually more modern than the picture shows. The reason was the company that owned it had all day cabbed vehicles (the type that didn’t have a bed built in), and their changing work pattern meant that they needed a sleeper cab. Rather than purchase a new vehicle, they swapped the cab for an older type cab they had in a corner of the yard. The lorry had a 14 litre Cummins engine, a type revered for its high power and torque, though less well liked for its high fuel consumption.
This carried a pair of silenced generating units, along with supplies for a catering unit, and was used to tow the owners 40ft living caravan, along with occasional trips with a children’s ride attached.
A.R. Moody’s Atkinson MkII
The last entry is from Atkinson Lorries, another old British brand. The original firm, like many others manfactured steam wagons. However it didn’t make the transition to diesel and eventually was fading away, before being bought and re established to manufacture diesels. Again using the well trodden path of those days, ie, a Gardner engine, David Brown gearbox and Kirkstall drive axle. Eventually graduating to Rolls Royce, Perkins and Cummins engines as Gardner’s began to lag behind in power outputs.
This one carried two children’s rides from the famous British ride manufacturer of Coulson’s of Ripon. It had a Gardner 5LW engine producing 94 BHP and a two speed eaton back axle that doubled the number of gear ratios. I remember it well as I spent hours painting and polishing it as a kid. Then as others got more up to date transport, hours begging my dad to swap it in. This he refused to do, until one day travelling through the Tyne Tunnel, we passed a broken down vehicle, a short time later the recovery vehicle saw us travelling that slowly they tried to recover us, due to the low engine power and the large caravan on the back meaning we were at about cycle speed on inclines.
He swapped it in shortly after for a Seddon Atkinson 400 series, which at the time was a quantum leap forward in British lorry engineering, and had the ‘high’ powered Gardner 6LXB engine with the startling output of 180 BHP.