Down memory lane

Vintage lorries have a habit of popping out of the woodwork when you least expect them. When HSF 511 resurfaced after a lengthy interval of twenty years, Drew Laburn grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
Drew is a building contractor by trade, and hails from the fruit-growing centre of Blairgowrie near Perth. Hebeen a big fan of old lorries since an early age. He said: remember the first lorry I sat in was my Dad s ageing Fordson 7V tipper. It must have fired my imagination, because I have been interested in old lorries ever since. The first vehicle I actually owned was a 1926 one-ton Morris commercial, which I bought jointly with a friend in 1968 when I was still a teenager.”Having spent several weeks restoring the Morris, Drew became interested in the lorries he could remember from his childhood. One vehicle stuck out in particular, an Albion FT35 Clansman tipper. first spotted the Albion at the Scottish Transport Extravaganza run by the Strathmore Vintage Vehicle Club just up the road at Glamis Castle,”he recalls. That was back in the early 70s. Drew immediately fell in love with the Scotstoun classic, and made a note of the owner s name and address for future reference.
He said: knew that where he lived in Friockheim was not far away from Blairgowrie, so I decided to keep my eyes peeled next time I was in the area.”
Clansman
By this time Drew had a family to take care of, and was also heavily involved in running the business. The memory of the Clansman was put on the back burner until the early 90s, when he stumbled across the lorry again almost by accident.
was taking my mother out for a Sunday run in the car, and just by chance we ended up passing through Friockheim,”he recalls. name jogged my memory, and I suddenly thought of the Clansman.”
Just as he was on the point of leaving the village, Drew happened to see an elderly gentleman standing by the side of the road. On the spur of the moment he stopped the car, and asked him if he knew the whereabouts of the Albion.
He said: my surprise, when the chap turned out to be Mr Wilkie, the actual owner! After a bit of persuasion he agreed to take me back to his place to see the lorry, which was buried away under a pile of stuff at the back of a shed. I was determined to get some photographs, and he promised to telephone me once he had cleared away the mess and got the Albion started up and out in the open.”
Sceptical
Fordson 7VHaving been in business all his life, Drew was a little sceptical as he had heard similar promises in the past. Despite his excitement, he tried to keep the lorry at the back of his mind.
down I thought that would probably be the end of the matter,”he explained. much to my surprise Mr Wilkie phoned me the following week.”
Drew returned hotfoot to Friockheim carrying his camera equipment, and some original Albion literature. By this time Mr Wilkie had begun to realise that Drew was a genuine enthusiast, and not a time waster. They seemed to get on like the proverbial house on fire, and kept in touch for the next couple of years.
Drew said: got the impression that Mr Wilkie was starting to lose interest in the Albion, which by this stage he had owned for several years. He had documents to show that the Clansman (serial no 72911B) had originally been registered in Edinburgh in June 1950 to the Scottish Hydro Electric Company. It had then been sent to Kinloch Rannoch in the Highlands. Apparently it was operated by the same driver throughout its career, and the furthest it had ever travelled was the short distance to Dundee. The lorry s coachwork had been made by Kirkless & Innes in Dalkeith, a company that is still trading today.”
Once it had completed its stint with Scottish Hydro, the lorry was then sold on to Mr Wilkie who was looking for an Albion to take to rallies. By the time Drew came across the Clansman for the second time, the tipper was a little the worse for wear and was suffering from a few niggles.
He said: tipping ram was leaking oil, and the brakes weren t working properly. I suggested that Mr Wilkie might like to show the
lorry again at that year s Glamis Extravaganza, and that was when he dropped his bombshell. Apparently his son had no interest in taking over responsibility for the vehicle, and he had decided to sell it to me instead.”
Drew was understandably over the moon, and quickly agreed terms. Wilkie agreed to fix both the rams and brakes, and in return I sold my old Morris commercial that I still owned to help pay for the deal,”he explained. Exactly twenty years after he had originally spotted the Clansman, Drew suddenly found himself the third owner of HSF 511.
Despite the fact that the Albion was still in its original state, the lorry only needed a modest makeover and a new coat of paint. Drew started taking it to shows in 1995, and soon became a regular on the Ulster, Tyne Tees, and North East road runs.
Drew s other passion is a Bedford Model S, which is another trip down memory lane. He said: originally had a Dinky model of the Bedford when i was a young lad. One of my Dad s competitors also used a Model S, which seemed bigger and grander in comparison to our family s Austin Lodestar.”
Drew bided his time before acquiring a 1952 example that had previously been used as an Auxiliary Fire Service vehicle to back-up the legendary Green Goddess. He said: went down to Nottingham to complete the purchase, and drove it back to Scotland the same day.”
The long slog home confirmed the Bedford s biggest weakness —the thirsty petrol straight-six engine —and Drew s first task was to ditch this unit in favour of a Bedford 330 diesel. He also replaced the differential with a higher ratio unit taken out of a Bedford bus.
The restoration was carried out locally, and the livery belongs to a company run by a close friend. Because of its higher top speed Drew now uses the Bedford on road runs, and the Clansman is only brought out on special occasions.