Car talk

Remember the July 11 post from Colin, looking for historical information on what I thought was Uncle John’s car? Well, good old David has followed up on this. Here’s a picture of the car (not the actual one being discussed, but a picture, nevertheless, so we all know what they’re talking about. And here’s their correspondence on the subject:
From Colin:
My car is a 1952 Ford V8 Pilot Woodie Shooting Brake. I bought it in May 1987 from a small classic dealer Mike Hallowes near Guildford, Surrey. I am not sure how the original log book had survived all those years, but when I bought it he gave it to me. It had all the past owners up until the log book was cancelled in May 1968 when it was replaced by a new green log book, which sadly I do not have. At the time I wrote to all the names in the log book and had a nice reply from a company in Frome, Somerset called Notts Industries, the chairman there was a director at Habershons in Rotherham as well.

J J Habershon I understand were a supplier to Ford’s at Dagenham, which is how they came to buy the car, as new cars were quite difficult to obtain in the early 50s. Habershons kept the car until 1954 when it went down to Notts Industries in Frome where it stayed until July 1960 when it was sold in a part exchange deal for a new van for works use. I wondered if you could tell me if any records or archives exist for Habershons and where I could go to search for any info on my car. I assume they used it for works use, deliveries etc. It’s a miracle it had survived for so long as it’s all wood from the windscreen back, and our climate is not the best for a car made mostly of wood!

(David replied to Colin explaining all about Habershons, Notts and our historical penchant for cars with wooden trim, particularly the Morris Oxford which ended up as a tool shed on chocks in Ronnie Cullen’s garden!)

Dear David,

Its great to hear from you and thanks for filling me in on all the fascinating information about Habershons. I will take the liberty of printing out the email and saving it for the album I am building about the car’s history. I would be more than happy to show you the car at some point, only problem is it is buried in the back of my garage at present stored in an air tight bag, as my pre-cast garage suffers from condensation badly, and at the moment I don’t have much spare time to take it out (or money come to think of it). I have your telephone number and will get in touch at a later date for us to meet up for a chat. If you let me have your address I’d be more than happy to get some photos copied for you if of any interest.

I was very interested to read about Habershons connection with Notts Industries and wonder what they were making for Ford’s in the early 50s? The letter I have which was in reply to a letter I had sent to Notts was Christmas time 1987 I think, and is from the MD there – Mr Peter Yates, have you heard of him? He remembered the car very well, and the colour and that it was bought from Habershons in May 1954. He mentioned that a photograph existed of Notts transport fleet taken around 1956/7 but sadly never did locate it.

I tried to make contact with him again last month through the Frome Historical Society, to be told sadly he had passed away earlier this year. His widow [Pam] said she searched high and low for the photo, but could not find it. I would dearly love to find it but suspect it may have been destroyed long ago. I was very interested to read about your family’s Morris Oxford Traveller, again a very rare car these days and only a handful of survivors. The wooden shooting brake as you know is a forerunner of the modern people carrier. After the war they were very popular for a short time as they could be taxed as a commercial vehicle and run on red petrol when rationing was in force as wood was plentiful and steel in short supply. They could get away with this if they had less than four doors, hence mine has two front doors but only one rear on the nearside to get around this. Peter Yates from Notts told me in his letter they were waiting for up to 18 months for steel deliveries in the early 50’s.

I have recently managed to trace an advert in the Bath Chronicle through the central library in Bath for my car when it was part exchanged through a garage in Bath called Ware’s Motors dated 31st July 1960 when it was offered for sale at £85(!) which I was thrilled to find.

Its been lovely to make contact with you and you being so helpful which I really appreciate and hope we can meet up sometime in the future for a chat.

David replied.

Hi David,

I will contact you at some point in the future for us to get together and for you to see my car. I was amazed that you knew Peter Yates. I did speak to him on the telephone a couple of times and he was very enthusiastic about my car. I did send him some photos and a copy of a feature we did in Classic and Sportscar magazine back in Dec 1994. If you are interested you may be able to pick up a copy on Ebay.

I was very interested to read about the family Morris Oxford Traveller, again a very rare car these days, probably only a handful left. Do you have any photos of it? I would be interested to know what Habershons used my car for as there is not a huge amount of space in the rear, although the back seat was missing when I bought it. It would be lovely to trace anyone from the early 50s that might remember the car but after so long I don’t hold out much hope.

Thanks again for getting in touch and lovely to fill in a few gaps.

(End of exchange)

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