John French of the Manchester Historic Vehicle Club has kindly sent us this photograph of a 1922 Ford Model T van. Can anybody identify the coachbuilder?
The photograph was sent to John by a good friend in Canada, the grandson of the original owner who bought it new on 13 August 1922 from Manchester Garages on Oxford Road. Grandfather owned a grocer’s shop, so it was obviously used to deliver groceries. neither John nor Model T expert Neil Tuckett have ever seen a similar body – it is very streamlined for that period. Neil was however able to identify the wheels as Michelin disc wheels and to confirm that it was built in Trafford Park in Manchester.
Chris Barker of the Model T Register was not able to identify the coachbuilder but did add some more information:
“It appears to be a very well-built vehicle. It was fairly common for small businesses to have special bodies built onto T chassis for business use during the week and family on Sundays. Some companies even offered ‘lift off’ bodies or rear parts of bodies so that the Ford could be a 2-seat pick-up or a 4-seat tourer. Ellison & Smith of the Magnet works nearby advertised such conversions, but their products were less elegant than the one above. The same applies to Jennings of Sandbach. The Register has photos of other such vehicles […] I will hazard a guess that the car above [our headline picture] had a rear door, so it was an early estate car or hatchback that could be used for grocery deliveries. It has all the right bits for August 1922 – low black radiator, UK sidelamps and I would love those disc wheels on my T! Note that in 1922, the factory Ford vans had open-sided cabs, so this is up-market.”
We should be grateful for any help that readers can give.