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Motor Industry in Coventry

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rojwhittle
derbyshire
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1 of 28  Tue 30th Aug 2011 11:35pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2011  Total posts:57

Being Coventry born, and with a lifelong interest in motor car history, I have finally decided to write the book which has been an ambition for years. It is about the motor industry, and I am looking for photos, personal anecdotes and stories from 'the inside', rather than dry historical stuff. If any of you have personal memories of working in the motor car, or associated businesses, or anecdotes handed down by relatives or friends, I would love to hear them. All will be credited and all property rights will be rigorously observed. My email is available for public contact, and it would be great to air the stuff in this forum. Second question - if anybody knew me, Roger Whittle, or any of my family years ago when we lived around Coventry, I would love to hear from you, particularly if you worked at, or have an interest in Harry Ferguson Research, at Toll Bar End, Jagusr, or Triumph motorcycles, Meriden.
Industry, Business and Work - Motor Industry in Coventry
InnisRoad
Hessle
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2 of 28  Fri 2nd Sep 2011 8:05am  
Member: Joined Feb 2011  Total posts:127

I've just heard this morning that the Brown's Lane factory will be re-opening again next year, producing exclusive cars, almost on a one-off basis.
Regards Innis Road

Industry, Business and Work - Motor Industry in Coventry
rojwhittle
derbyshire
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Thread starter
3 of 28  Fri 2nd Sep 2011 7:39pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2011  Total posts:57

Hi Innis, I heard that it is to do with making the Dutch spyker sports car. Good news!
Industry, Business and Work - Motor Industry in Coventry
dutchman
Spon End
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4 of 28  Fri 2nd Sep 2011 8:57pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3011

CPP also make the bodies for Aston Martin and others. It's one of the great unsung success stories of the motoring industry.
Industry, Business and Work - Motor Industry in Coventry
morgana
the secret garden
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5 of 28  Mon 7th Nov 2011 12:47am  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:2234

I use to work for Pistons Ltd on Quinton Road where a dhss office now stands opposite where Rolls Royce was or still is, they use to make the pistons and the pistons rings for cars, I worked in their office they had their own packing department too, I recall Alfred Herbert having dealings with them too as I did all the filing, they moved to Wales and now are known as Mayphil still owned by the family Mr Gorden Parsons and Allan Parsons two brothers whom I should think are either now very old or deseased.
Industry, Business and Work - Motor Industry in Coventry
K
Somewhere
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6 of 28  Mon 7th Nov 2011 2:02pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:567

Hi Roj I worked at Coventry Climax during 1973-4, in the Experimental department at Browns Lane from 1975-84; at Aston Martin Lagonda from 84-86, and Lotus 86-2010. In the latter three posts, I have known some well-known people in the industry, e.g. Norman Dewis, Tom Jones, Harry Mundy, Bob Knight at Jaguar; I worked for Mike Bowler and then Bill Bannard at Aston, and knew very well both Victor Gauntlett and William Towns; and in my role at Lotus, have been involved with many other firms world-wide, the DTI and DETR (as it was), the EC, and national and international motor industry committees. I retired last year. Also, my father worked at Siddeley-Deasy during 1920, and at Humber Road in the Experimental from 1931-1945, after which he and a partner started a sheet metal company (Al-Metal Craft) making body parts for Humber and Daimler, up to 1956. They made many hand made panels for Rootes show cars, especially in my memory being the 1954 Motor Show at Earl's Court. My brother was a Rootes apprentice at Ryton from 1942-49; in later years he worked at FF Developments (ex-Harry Ferguson Research), owned by Tony (APR) Rolt of Colditz fame. Rolt with Duncan Hamilton won two Le Mans for Jaguar ('53 and '55) My father's father worked for The Wolseley and Sheep Shearing Company, later Wolseley Motors Ltd, from a young man in the late 1880s until his death in 1919. As a family, we have had a long time in the industry! I remember quite a few anecdotes, but I'm not sure I should allow some to be published.....
Industry, Business and Work - Motor Industry in Coventry
Alvisnick
France
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7 of 28  Sun 11th Dec 2011 11:43am  
Member: Joined Oct 2011  Total posts:23

Re Keith Leslie - Al-Metal Craft. Could this have been A.P. Metal Craft? If so, in addition to one off parts, they made sports bodies postwar for Alvis - first on the four cylinder TA14 series, known as TB14 and later for export Three Litres sports jobs known as the TB21.
Industry, Business and Work - Motor Industry in Coventry
K
Somewhere
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8 of 28  Sun 11th Dec 2011 12:04pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:567

No, it wasn't. Al-Metal Craft worked exclusively for Humber and Daimler until the early 50s. Then they took on more general sheet metal work, as motor firm contracts dried up. In about 1954 they had a Humber scout car in for modification for Lord Rootes, who intended to use it as a shooting brake on his estate. I had a ride in it, before it was modified, with my father driving it. At that time, the factory was in Stoney Stanton Road, down a long drive that was almost opposite RHMS. The majority shareholder was a Yorkshireman, Joe Alderson, from whence came the Al.
Industry, Business and Work - Motor Industry in Coventry
rojwhittle
derbyshire
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Thread starter
9 of 28  Sun 11th Dec 2011 8:22pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2011  Total posts:57

Hi Keith - another post missed due to my absence. I worked at HFR, the predecessor of FFD, from 1963-1968. I must have known your brother if he worked at HFR. I am interested to know what he did there?
Industry, Business and Work - Motor Industry in Coventry
K
Somewhere
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10 of 28  Sun 11th Dec 2011 9:49pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:567

Hi Roj My brother didn't work for HFR, only FFD. He was a sheet metal worker. I take it you knew the likes of Keith Hamilton-Smith?
Industry, Business and Work - Motor Industry in Coventry
rojwhittle
derbyshire
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Thread starter
11 of 28  Sun 11th Dec 2011 10:51pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2011  Total posts:57

Keith Hamilton-Smith, Dusty Rhodes, Oz Webb and Derek Gardner. However to me the greatest charhcter was Jimmy Walker, who had worked with Freddie Dixon before Harry Ferguson and Tony Rolt got involved. As an engine person, you would also know of Claude Hill, who was Chief Engineer? He used to come into the test house with a cigar lit with all the petrol around and 'No Smoking' signs all over the place. I was once removing a cylinder head, the spanner slipped and flew through the air, taking Claude's cigar straight out of his mouth. he just said 'Bollocks' quietly and walked out! HFR was a great place to work, especially for a motor-struck youth like me, and most of my memories of the place and the people are very happy ones.
Industry, Business and Work - Motor Industry in Coventry
Midland Red
Cherwell
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12 of 28  Mon 12th Dec 2011 7:14am  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4827

I went to school with Claude Hill's son Richard (Rick) and often stayed over at their house in Kenilworth - I believe Rick worked at Lotus and still lives in Norwich
Industry, Business and Work - Motor Industry in Coventry
K
Somewhere
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13 of 28  Mon 12th Dec 2011 12:13pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:567

My brother knew Jimmy Walker well! The other names don't mean anything much to me, though Claude Hill rings a vague bell. MR - Would that be Richard Hill, went there about the same month that I did, Jan 86? Said he is related to William Shakespeare on his mother's side. Aerodynamicist. Lives at Reymerston now. roj, your anecdote about petrol reminds me of an incident at Browns Lane. There was a car in the middle of the workshop that had a petrol tank out, and a large deep tray with the fuel in it at its side. Plus a large notice "No Smoking - Petrol" One of the foremen was standing talking right by the notice, and smoking. Someone came over, nudged his arm and pointed to the notice. He looked daggers, threw his cigarette (lighted!) in the petrol and stormed off. Sensible chap...not!!! I also remember an engineeer bending over looking at a running engine. His tie caught in the fanbelt, and he smacked his face on the cam covers before his tie broke. I doubt he did that again!! Oh my Lol
Industry, Business and Work - Motor Industry in Coventry
Midland Red
Cherwell
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14 of 28  Mon 12th Dec 2011 12:26pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4827

On 12th Dec 2011 12:13pm, KeithLeslie said: MR - Would that be Richard Hill, went there about the same month that I did, Jan 86? Said he is related to William Shakespeare on his mother's side. Aerodynamicist. Lives at Reymerston now.
No, he moved east well before that - I believe he lives in the centre of Norwich itself
Industry, Business and Work - Motor Industry in Coventry
K
Somewhere
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15 of 28  Mon 12th Dec 2011 12:42pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:567

H'mm, probably I don't know him, then. Do you know what he does/did? Hill is quite a common name though, and there were several Hills that I knew. (Can't be E Anglians - their ears pop going over a hump back bridge. Lol )
Industry, Business and Work - Motor Industry in Coventry

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