Chris s scrapbook

Transport writer and historian Chris Woodcock has been all over the world and amassed a superb archive of photographs of lorries from days past. Chris has kindly agreed to allow us to publish these gems in a series of articles —enjoy!
1. A technological advance. The revolutionary Ergomatic cab from the Leyland group in the late 60s. Designed by Giovanni Michelloti, who also gave us the Scammell Routeman and such icons as the Triumph Herald, the Ergomatic cab immediately became the benchmark others aspired to. Fitted to AEC and Albion models and, as in this Beaver tractor unit, the Leyland range. The Ergomatic cab was built around the driver-everything close to hand, comfortable, quiet and easy to drive. Large windows and mirrors gave visibility unknown before and vehicles fitted with this cab quickly became a common sight on the roads of Britain.
2. A technological dead end. Ford were not alone in the early 70s in their attempts to meet requirements for higher power and weight capabilities in the face of European imports. This six-wheeler chassis and ’series cab sported two engines which, while novel and in prototype form actually worked. It never found any popularity and never went into large scale production. Did any survive? Is the prototype the only one? The debate is thrown open to you!
3. Across the Atlantic with this one, a tiny town in southern Kansas called  Pretty Prairie  was the last resting place of this 1940s International owned by the late Benny Goering. The International had seen many miles on the old American highways before spending its later days carrying grain on the vast wheat fields of the mid-west. Even in this condition the old timer fired up and ran sweetly for the benefit of the visitor.
4. Before the modern fashion to contract out transport, all the major manufacturers operated their own fleets of wagons, the Bootes Group being no exception. This smart Commer Q series artic was used by Rootes to carry seating components to and from their plants to an upholstery company in Cricklewood. Though black and white the photo seems to convey the bright red livery of the Rootes Group and one can almost hear the roar of the Commer s two-stroke diesel blasting from the front mounted exhaust system.
5. At a roadside garage north of Preston a  parrot nose  Dodge battles the ravages of time and the salt-laden scouring winds of the nearby Irish Sea. The poor old Dodge has clearly had a hard life and judging from the wooden  greedy boards  on the body has often seen loads a little over the makerguidelines.
6. On a farm in Warwickshire this sad Fordson tractor unit sits out its retirement concealing a fascinating history. During WWII it was coupled to a  Queen Mary  trailer and was used by its owners, Armstrong Whitley, to transport bomber fuselages from its Whitley, Coventry, plant to their aerodrome at nearby Baginton. Sold to a farmer after the war the Fordson continued to give valiant service for many years until laid up in this spot. It is believed to still exist and hopefully will be rescued in the future.
7. This idea did work —albeit a little  Heath Robinson  looking. An  R  type Bedford 4×4 chassis has been converted by Reynolds Boughton into a self-loading pole carrier utilising the vehiclemid-mounted winch. While the idea obviously works, in practice the high centre of gravity might make the whole outfit unstable. In addition the time taken to load would very soon be cut dramatically by the widespread use of hydraulic lorry mounted cranes, making this another technological dead end.
8. The poor quality of this snap seems to lend itself to the subject —the twilight of the British eight-wheeler. The two AECs and what looks like an ERF sit awaiting their fate at Nightingale s depot in Yorkshire and although already redundant they appear to be parked up ready to trundle off with their next load. Or could it be that the snap is much older and the trio is actually doing just that?
9. An ex-US army six-wheeler, probably an Autocar, sits in the sunshine of the Dordogne valley of France. At the end of the war the allies left behind hundreds of such vehicles and a great number of these survive to the present day. This one has obviously been modified —the winch on the front looks original but the flat body and the HIAB type crane has probably been added at a later time. The tree growing through the grille gives an idea how long this veteran has sat enjoying the French sunshine.
10. France again, this time further west toward the wine-growing region of Bordeaux. At the winter quarters of a travelling circus a Mack tractor unit of 70s vintage shares a barn with a typically French 1960s Berliet routier  as the French call tractor units. Out of shot a further two Macks were parked alongside another Berliet tractor. Unfortunately no details could be gleaned as the yard was unattended and the vision of huge snarling guard dogs suddenly leaping from the shadows hastened the departure from the photo shoot.
11. Guard dogs or not, before rapidly leaving the circus yard this late 40s or early 50s Berliet called out to he photographed. It has obviously seen many seasons with the travelling show and most likely spent a previous hard life in the service of a French haulier, and would be ripe for restoration —an archetypal French lorry.