Walsall’s forgotten Hero! Ernest Wilson.

Here is an article which was originally published in The Black Country Bugle. To me, on a personal basis, this is the man who ensured that Walsall are still around in the football league, in fact I would go as far as to say if he had left the club for another job, Walsall would have gone bust. He alone kept them alive before the influx of Sky’s big money, when the stadia were called things like St James Park and Highbury not named after sponsers like The Ermirates and Fellows Park was not named after Banks.

DO YOU REMEMBER ERNIE ? Please post a comment if you do.

Another man who stayed through thick and thin was John Westmancoat until his retirement. I have done several searches for John and have only come up with two results. He gets a single line mention (as does Ernie by the way) in the Walsall fc history which you can see online. and the other which is a letter from Walsall to Everton with regards to the missed final payment for Bernie Wright, which i cannot publish as i cannot get permission from Everton Charitable Trust who own copyright, but you can see on their site.

08:30 15th September 2013
Black Country Bugle article on Ernie Wilson
THE Black Country Bugle has recently published an article on one of the unsung heroes of The Saddlers’ history, long-serving secretary, Ernie Wilson.

Here is their story…
A DEDICATED fan of The Saddlers has been in touch regarding his favourite club, and though he would like to remain anonymous, he is very keen that one of the club’s greatest servants is given the recognition he deserves.

Our correspondent writes:

“Your recent articles on Walsall Football Club have been most interesting, but whenever I read anything about the club no mention is ever made of probably its longest serving full-time employee.

“I refer, of course, to Ernie Wilson the company secretary, who, apart from war-time service, worked for the club for his entire working life. Ernie joined the club well before the Second World War and remained with them until his death, which I think was in 1971.

“In 1959 as a 16 year-old, I became an articled clerk with a firm of local accountants who were the auditors of the club. One of my first audits was Walsall Football Club Ltd. This was in the days when Ernie Thomas and Sir Alfred Owen were directors of the club.

“I worked on the audit each year until 1966. Under the chairmanship of Bill Harrison I also worked in the office on Saturdays until 1972.

“Ernie Wilson was always happy to reminisce on such things as times when there was not enough money on Fridays to pay the players’ wages and they had to wait until after the Saturday game to use the gate receipts to settle up.

“Tales of taking the gate receipts to the police station where they were locked in a cell until Monday morning when the banks were open. Bearing in mind that in those days the takings would be virtually all in cash.

“But I think my favourite story was about one Christmas when Bert Williams forgot there were no buses. Bert ran from Bilston to Fellows Park, played in the game and then walked home.

“My favourite audit story was about one shareholder, who regularly attended AGMs and always advised my boss when he was going to ask a question about the accounts. One year, in the days of Walsall being in the doldrums of the third division (south), he telephoned to say he was going to ask why the value of the team did not appear on the club’s balance sheet.

“My boss asked him on which side of the balance sheet should they be! The question was never asked.

“I hope this little insight is of interest and that someone can produce more details of Ernie’s career.”

Read more at http://www.saddlers.co.uk/news/article/ernie-wilson-1050573.aspx#XEX3SLmQJcbYOmbj.99



It is with great sadness that Walsall Football Club today announced the death of ex player Tim Rawlings. T

WE ARE sad to report the passing of former Walsall FC player, Tim Rawlings, at the age of 81.

He started his career with West Bromwich Albion, where he signed professional forms in March 1950, but having found his first-team opportunities limited at The Hawthorns, he joined The Saddlers in the summer of 1956.

Settling in quickly at Fellows Park, he was a tireless performer who helped the club achieve successive promotions in 1959/60 and 1960/61 on his way to 207 appearances in all competitions for the club.

In July 1963 he moved on to Port Vale having given Walsall sterling service and spent two years with The Valiants before retiring from the professional game.

The thoughts of everyone here at Banks’s Stadium are with his family and friends at this sad time.
Read more at http://www.saddlers.co.uk/news/article/tim-rawlings-rip-oct-2014-1984186.aspx#qx4HYlthFvTPh5Z3.99

he Statement Reads:

Personal information
Full name Charles John Rawlings
Date of birth 4 November 1932 (age 81)

Died 2014
Place of birth Coleshill, Warwickshire, England
Playing position Half-back
Youth career
Erdington Albion
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1950–1956 West Bromwich Albion 0
1956–1963 Walsall 201 (5)
1963–1965 Port Vale 31 (2)
Nuneaton Borough
Coleshill Town
Total 232 (7)

Rawlings played for Erdington Albion, before joining West Bromwich Albion in 1950. He spent six seasons at The Hawthorns, but was not handed his First Division debut either by Jack Smith or Vic Buckingham, and was instead allowed to leave the “Throstles” for Walsall in 1956. The “Saddlers” finished 15th in the Third Division South in 1956–57 under the stewardship of John Love. New boss Bill Moore could only take the club to a 20th place finish in 1957–58, which led them to become founder members of the Fourth Division. They then posted a sixth place finish in 1958–59, six points and two places outside of the promotion places. Walsall then topped the division in 1959–60 by a five point margin, to win a place in the Third Division. Walsall then finished second in 1960–61, six points behind champions Bury, to win a second successive promotion. The Fellows Park club finished 14th in the Second Division in 1961–62, before suffering relegation in 1962–63 due to their inferior goal average to 20th placed Charlton Athletic. In his seven years at the club Rawlings played a total of 201 league games, scoring five goals.[2]

Rawlings was signed by Port Vale manager Freddie Steele for a £4,000 fee in June 1963. He made 22 appearances in the 1963–64 season, and played 14 games in the 1964–65 campaign, as the “Valiants” suffered relegation out of the Third Division under Jackie Mudie. Rawlings was given a free transfer to Southern League side Nuneaton Borough in April 1965. He later turned out for hometown club Coleshill Town. He later worked for Lucas Industries.

Ex Walsall Player: Report from The Birmingham Mail

Former professional footballer died alone in his Black Country home
Dec 18, 2012 14:33 By Steve Bradley 0 Comments
Chris Thompson, who played for Blackburn, Bolton, Wigan and Walsall, found dead in Tipton.

Chris Thompson during his Blackburn Rovers days
A former top-flight footballer died a lonely death at his Black Country home after he hit the bottle and shut himself away from friends and family, an inquest heard.

Chris Thompson’s remains were found at his home in Anderson Gardens, Tipton, on June 1. He was just 52.

The Walsall-born former Bolton, Blackburn and Wigan midfielder suffered health problems and battled an “on-off” drink problem for “some years”, his sister Maureen Bradshaw told a hearing in Smethwick.

“He suffered from depression and he used to lock himself away until he was ready to see you,” she told Black Country coroner Robin Balmain.

“You couldn’t contact him. I had a key to the house but I could never get in because he used to bolt the doors.

“At Christmas he went downhill because he had to go to hospital – they were testing him for bowel cancer soon after.”

Mrs Bradshaw said Mr Thompson, who used to run a pub near Blackpool, was given the all clear but “wasn’t his proper self” when he visited in March.

“He would go down and you wouldn’t hear from him,” she said. “He wouldn’t answer his phone. His neighbours and friends used to try to get him out, but he wouldn’t.”

Mr Thompson’s family also revealed at the inquest, held at Smethwick Council House, that he had almost died from drinking five years ago.

A post-mortem examination confirmed he had cirrhosis of the liver and his death was “most likely” related to alcohol – either excessive consumption or withdrawal.

Recording that he died of natural causes, Mr Balmain said: “Even if it’s drink-related that’s not regarded as unnatural.

“I’ll record that Mr Thompson died of a natural cause, even though we don’t know what it is.”

He played in the old First Division for Bolton, where he scored 20 goals in 81 games between 1977 and 1983 before moving to Blackburn, where he netted 26 times in 100 appearances.

Later spells followed at Wigan, Blackpool, Cardiff and Walsall, where he played three times in 1991.

Former England international Peter Reid – who played with Mr Thompson at Bolton – was among the big-names to pay tribute to him following his death.

“He had good control, handled the ball well and scored a few goals,” Reid said. “He was such a classy finisher, he seemed to pass the ball into the net.

“He never quite fulfilled his potential but he went round the clubs and was a pleasant lad. It’s so sad to lose someone so young.”

NOTE: I will sort out information about his career and publish at a later date.

125 reasons to be proud to be a Saddler

Whilst searching for Walsall born players today, I came across this blog which was on the Express and Star site, I have to admit that I had not seen it, so thought that all of you Saddlers supporters out there would maybe like to view it. enjoy!

Blog: 125 reasons to be proud to be a Saddler

In a week of celebration here are 125 reasons to be proud to be a Saddler, writes Walsall blogger Mark Jones.

dean smith_edited-2

1. This season – It perfectly encapsulates the roller-coaster ride that comes with being a Saddler.

It’s been good and bad, there’s been fantastic highs and extreme lows, pessimism followed by optimism.

And, just when we were least expecting it, the very welcome development of a Walsall team well worth watching who play some superb football. It is very much on boys.

2. Alan Buckley – Legend as a player, legend as a manager.

3. Andy Rammell – The ultimate No 9, my all-time favourite player of all time.

4. Sir Ray Graydon – Without question our greatest ever manager.

5. Martin O’Connor – Walsall boy, midfield dynamo and he kept coming back.

6. Super Jimmy Walker – The ultimate No 1.

7. Adrian Viveash – A proper central defensive hard-man. If I’d been any good as a footballer I’d have wanted to be like Ada.

8. Gilbert Alsop – The first Walsall legend. When I was a kid he’d be walking his dog past where we played football and he always said hello.

9. Walsall 2 Arsenal 0 1933 – Forget kids in parkas, this was THE greatest giantkilling.

10. Colin Taylor and Tony Richards – My dad’s heroes.

11. Bill ‘Chopper’ Gutteridge RIP – Sad news on our anniversary.

12. Ken Hodgkinson – Met him by chance in the 1980s, a thoroughly nice bloke.

13. Bill Moore – Double Promotion winning manager 1959-60-61.

14. Taking over Shrewsbury since 1961.

15. George Kirby and Allan Clarke – A front two I wish I’d seen

16. Ronnie Allen, Doug Fraser, Dave Mackay, Tommy Coakley, Kenny Hibbitt – Managers who weren’t always great but had their moments.

17. Bert Williams, Phil Parkes, Mark Wallington, Mick Kearns, Ron Green, Fred Barber, Clayton Ince – Some of our other great goalkeepers and Big Mick’s never gone away.

18. The Reverend Peter Hart – Captain for the Milk Cup Run 1984 and throughout the 1980s.

19. Colin Harrison, Nick Atthey, Stan Bennett – Loyal servants of the 1960s and 1970s

20. Bernie Wright and George Andrews – Feared Forwards of my early days as a Saddler.

21. Brian Caswell and Alan Birch – Local boys made good.

22. Walsall 3 Manchester United 2 in 1975 – My first taste of the Saddlers making the big time.

23. Walsall 1 Newcastle 0 in 1975 – Fellows Park bursting at the seams, a proper 1970s mud-bath and a top division side put to the sword.

24. Fellows Park – The sights, sounds and smells of a proper football ground with its own kind of savage beauty.

Floodlight nights were the best, would love to relieve the experience if it were possible.

25. Birmingham 2 Walsall 1 in 1975 – My first away match, over 40,000 at St Andrews and no segregation. Awesome.

26. Alun Evans and Mick Bates – The 1970s midfield duo.

27 Walsall 1 Leicester 0 in 1978 – Evo’s last-minute winner.

28. Don Penn, Ian Paul, David Edwards, Martin Goldsmith, Stuart Ryder – Lads who could have made it big but for cruel injuries.

29. Kenny Mower and Mark Rees – Local boys who blazed a trail, cult figures.

30. Easter Monday in 1980 Walsall 2 Tranmere 0 – Going up for the first time in my lifetime.

31. Staying up at Sheffield United 1981 – Mental.

32. Arsenal 4 Walsall 1 in 1978 – As an 11-year-old hearing your dad shouting abuse at a former Wolves player does tend have a profound effect on your outlook on life.

33. Arsenal 1 Walsall 2 in 1983 – It took them 45 years to gain revenge and, five years later, we turned them over again.

34. Ally Brown, Richard O’Kelly and Kevin Summerfield – League Cup goal-scoring heroes.

35. Rotherham 2 Walsall 4 in 1984 – Totally and utterly dominant. Fact: the mighty Saddlers have never lost a major cup quarter-final.

36. THAT night at Anfield.

37. Coventry 0 Walsall 3 in 1984 – Who were the top flight team? We had even given them a goal start in the first leg.

38. Quality football throughout the 1980s – when there wasn’t much else to celebrate.

39. Preece- Shakespeare- Childs-Handysides – Young, short but possibly the most skilful midfield ever.

40. David Preece RIP

41. Ian Handysides RIP

42. Anton Reid RIP

43. Matt Gadsby RIP

44. John Whitney – A fantastic servant, much more than Ginger Mourinho’s Physio.

45. Micky Halsall – A great servant to the club.

46. Jukey – I worked on his house once while Ken Hodgkinson was working for him – and his legacy of first class scouts and a fine youth development team.

47. Lee Sinnott, Mark Taylor, Clive Platt, Julian Bennett and Manny Smith – proof that we produce great talent even though they move on.

48. Nicky Cross, David Kelly and Trevor Christie’s moustache – A fine front three.

49. Defeating Ken Wheldon – genuine fan power.

50. The beating heart of the fans past, present and future: ISSA, SWAG, the Saddlers Action Supporters, Unity and the Trust – I salute you all.

All the fanzines too– SaddleSore, Blazing Saddlers, One Step Beyond, Chasing the Dream, 90 Minutes From Europe, that other one from 2005ish and yes even Moving Swiftly On.

I wrote for all of the first five and loved doing it.

51. 1987 Charlton 1 Walsall 2 (Part 1)

52. 1987 Walsall 1 Blues 0 – Paul Jones’s corner in a game where defeat to Wheldon’s team was simply never an option.

53. The 4-4 at Watford FA Cup 1987 – Possibly THE most astonishing game ever, a real ding dong.

54. PLAY OFFS 1988 – Do it the hard way.

55. PLAY OFFS 1988 – DK’s tekkers at Notts County

56. PLAY OFFS 1988 – A record 7 goals for DK

57. PLAY OFFS 1988 – An odd penalty shoot out win.

58. PLAY OFFS 1988 – May 30th Walsall 4 Bristol City 0. A hat trick for Ned, one for Phil Hawker and at last we had finally done it.

59. Oo Stuart Rimmer – What could he have done in a better Walsall team?

60. Colin Methven – You never beat Big Colin 1990 until 1993.

61. Rod McDonald and Charlie Ntamark – When times were hard they brightened things up a little.

62. Dean Smith the player – Five good years then he was sacrificed to finance a promotion team.

63. Oo arr Chris Marsh – Stepovers, long-service and some pretty tasty stories.

64. Chris Nicholl – The boss who achieved what was asked of him and liked us so much he moved here.

65. May 1995 Promotion at last. Scarborough away followed by Bury away in two days. The five long bottom division years somehow made the celebrations at Gigg Lane even sweeter.

66. Kyle Lightbourne – 75 goals in three seasons and a cool dude. Welcome back Kyle.

67. Kevin Wilson – Top top quality.

68. Scott Houghton, Charlie Palmer and Wayne Evans – Stars of 95.

69. Derek Statham and Colin Gibson and Neil Pointon – Vintage left-backs who served us well.

70. Tony Barras, Andy Tilson, Richard Green – Hard as nails. Colin Brazier too.

71. Ian Ian Roper – A pure defender.

72. Dean Keates – Local hero, 17 years a professional and still going strong.

73. Visits to Blackpool – Always a riot. A MOC-inspired win in the sunshine in 96 when they’d already awarded themselves promotion springs to mind.

74. Big Fat Jan and the Cup Runs season – Andy Watson’s goals; Forest, Sheff U (them again), revenge over Fat Barry (twice) and Boli’s goal at Old Trafford.

75. Roger Boli – A player who genuinely had you thinking ‘what’s he going to do today’ when you walked into the ground, in a good way … while it lasted.

76. Jeff Peron – Beautiful to watch.

77. THAT goal against Sarfend (August 97) Jeff crosses to Roger, he’s still got a lot to do though….

78. Pedro Matias and Jorge Leitao – Our two finest overseas stars. Happy days.

79. Aranalde, Padula, Bukran, Siggi Eyjolfsson, Darko Mavrak etc – Other notable imports who had their moments.

80. Paul Hall and Fitzroy Simpson – From the Jamaican World Cup team at France 98 to the Graydon Dream Team circa 2001.

81. Darren Wrack – Proper winger, goalscorer and all-round entertainer.

82. Wracky’s goal at Bournemouth (April 1999) – Possibly the best goal I have seen. Go on Daza.

83. Lincoln away April 1998, Manc City bottled it, we waited forever for Wracky to score, defending like Trojans.

We left Sincil Bank working out we needed just two points from three games – even Walsall couldn’t blow it from there.

84. May 1st 1999 Walsall 3 Oldham 1 – Promotion Day, when everything fell into place. Near Perfection.

85. Party like its 1998-99 – I could relive the 1998-99 Season in its entirety over and over again.

86. Beating Albion, Stoke and Forest lots of times.

87. 28th August 1999 – A little local skirmish settled by Tony Barrass, Rambo and a phenomenal challenge from Wacka.

88. May 2000 Ipswich 2 Walsall 0 – Going down with dignity and defiance.

89. Ian Brightwell and Brett Angell – Putting the pro into promotion.

90. Don Goodman with his hair…and goals.

91. PLAY OFFS 2001 – Walsall 4 Stoke 2 – Pedro’s greatest game, Stokies leaving us so soon and all hail Sir Ray.

92. PLAY OFFS 2001 – Walsall 4 Stoke 2 – Shhhhh!

93. PLAY OFFS 2001 – May 27th: Soaking in the anticipation and atmosphere of a day out at a proper Final

94. PLAY OFFS 2001 – The Don equalises , retribution for Rougier and an inspired triple substitution.

95. PLAY OFFS 2001 – BYFIELD! Tony Barras wanting to play on with concussion and sulking because he wasn’t allowed. The final whistle.

96. PLAY OFFS 2001 – Tom Bennett lifting the Trophy at the Millennium Stadium.

97. PLAY OFFS 2001 – Ray Graydon celebrating with his people.

98. Darren Byfield – He scored that goal and a decade later he helped keep us up.

99. January 2002 Charlton 1 Walsall 2 (Part 2) – A kind of wake, a tribute to 442 and a fighting spirit that would soon be laid to rest … with a screamer from Jorge and a Wacka penalty save.

100. Staying up at Sheff U 2002 – Jorgey Jorgey Leitao.

101. Merse – Forget the managerial nonsense, what a talent.

102. Vinny Samways, Paul Ritchie, Gary O’Neill and Mark Kinsella – A different class of player, albeit only seen fleetingly.

103. Super Matty Fryatt – Genuine goalscorer.

104. Dicky Dosh – Grumpy but great.

105. Clayton Ince – Big Bad and from Trinidad. Clean Sheets galore.

106. March 2007 – Wracky scoring late on at Milton Keynes Dons for a mossive point.

107. April 2007 – Kevin Harper and Trevor Benjamin at Notts County.

108. 2006-07 – The return of Dean Keates driving us to the title.

109. The 93rd minute at Swindon May 5th 2007. CHAMPIONEES!

110. Michael Dobson – Title winning captain.

111. Anthony Gerrard – Who needs Steve?

112. Scott Dann and Daniel Fox – Great while it lasted.

113. Michael Ricketts and Martin Butler – both showing a lot of bottle to come back for a second time.

114. Troy Deeney – Prepared to put in a shift and to prepared to try and put things right. Got a feeling he’ll be back one day.

115. Tommy Mooney , Jabo Ibehre , Julian Gray and Steve Jones – glimpses of quality in a sea of mediocrity.

116. Walsall FC Sierra Leone and the Flemish Saddlers – Love these guys for their commitment, glad to have them as part of the family.

117. Ledesma and Flo – Proof that classy players always feel at home in Walsall and they always like to come back.

118. All our loan keepers this season – Karl, Aaron, Ian and Sam – getting better every time.

119. Andy Butler – Captain Fantastic

120. Dean Smith the Manager aka The Ginger Mourinho – the Great Escape January to May 2011 and the Great Revival December 2012 to (fingers crossed) May 2013.

121. O Febian Brandy, Will Grigg, Jamie Paterson, Nicky Featherstone, James Baxendale and Ben Purkiss, Andy Taylor and Craig Westcarr, Adam and James Chambers, Sam Mantom and Paul Downing.

He’s Dean and he’s Holden and he’s N0 5, George Bowerman, Mal Benning and all the ones for the future – sexy football.

122. 19 December 1998 – Walsall 1 Stoke 0. Neil Pointon’s cross for Andy Rammell’s phenomenal diving header to seal the win and my new-born son’s middle name was sorted.

123. My boys – When you are a football-supporting parent there is always a moment of immense pride when you realise that you’ve passed it onto your children and they are hooked in just the same way as you were.

I’m proud to say I’m the father of three Saddlers supporting sons.

124. Friends – As a Saddler I’ve made friends for life (Daz, Al, Evo, Steve, Stubbsy, Ross) who I’ve travelled the country with.

Countless others who might now get the hump cos I haven’t named them personally. You get to see people who you only know through football and people whose names you will never know.

Last Saturday two of the people stood by me (Asps and Belg) were people I stood with at Fellows Park over three decades ago.

Yet we are all part of the Walsall family. I just hope I’ve not forgotten anyone important. And clearly I have left some players and managers out on purpose).

125. So forget what the record books tell you, what the pundits say or the sneers of fans of other clubs, they are only jealous.

Walsall FC are by far the greatest team the world has ever seen.

Leyland Buses-Lorries and British Leyland

Leyland Bus

Leyland Bus was a British bus manufacturer. It emerged from the Rover Group (formerly British Leyland) as a management buyout of the bus business. It was subsequently acquired by Volvo Buses in 1988 and the name finally disappeared in 1993.

300px-DE2817 Leyland bus Leyland Lynx MK2_Cardif Bus_Large

Leyland Buses pictures from Google images

Leyland Motors Ltd

Fate Merged with British Motor Holdings
Successor(s) British Leyland Motor Corporation
Founded 1896
Defunct 1968
Headquarters Leyland, England, UK
Products Bus, Lorry

Leyland Motors Limited was a British vehicle manufacturer of lorries, buses and trolleybuses. It gave its name to the British Leyland Motor Corporation formed when it merged with British Motor Holdings, later to become British Leyland after being nationalised. British Leyland later changed its name to simply BL, then in 1986 to Rover Group.



Leyland Motors has a long history dating from 1896, when the Sumner and Spurrier families founded the Lancashire Steam Motor Company in the town of Leyland in North West England. Their first products included steam lawn mowers.[1] The company’s first vehicle was a 1.5-ton-capacity steam powered van. This was followed by a number of undertype steam wagons using a vertical fire-tube boiler.[2] By 1905 they had also begun to build petrol-engined wagons. The Lancashire Steam Motor Company was renamed Leyland Motors in 1907 when they took over Coulthards of Preston. They also built a second factory in the neighbouring town of Chorley which still remains today as the headquarters of the LEX leasing and parts company.

In 1920, Leyland Motors produced the Leyland 8 luxury touring car, a development of which was driven by J.G. Parry-Thomas at Brooklands. Parry-Thomas was later killed in an attempt on the land speed record when a chain drive broke. At the other extreme, they also produced the Trojan Utility Car in the Kingston upon Thames factory from 1922 to 1928.

Three generations of Spurriers controlled Leyland Motors from its foundation until the retirement of Sir Henry Spurrier in 1964. Sir Henry inherited control of Leyland Motors from his father in 1942, and successfully guided its growth during the postwar years. Whilst the Spurrier family were in control the company enjoyed excellent labour relations—reputedly never losing a day’s production through industrial action.

World War II

During the war, Leyland Motors along with most vehicle manufacturers was involved in war production. Leyland built the Cromwell tank at its works from 1943 as well as medium/large trucks such as the Leyland Hippo and Retriever.

After the war, Leyland Motors continued military manufacture with the Centurion tank.

Post war

In 1946, AEC and Leyland Motors worked to form the British United Traction Ltd.

In 1955, through an equity agreement, manufacture of commercial vehicles under licence from Leyland Motors commenced in Madras, India at the new Ashok factory. The products were branded as Ashok Leyland.

On the other hand, Leyland Motors acquired other companies in the post war years:

Holding company: Leyland Motor Corporation Limited

Donald Stokes, previously Sales Director, was appointed managing director of Leyland Motors Limited in September 1962 originally a Leyland student apprentice he had grown up with the company. He became chairman in 1966. In 1968 Leyland Motor Corporation Limited merged with British Motor Holdings (BMH) to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC). BMH brought with it into the new organisation more famous British goods vehicle and bus and coach marques, including Daimler, Guy, BMC, Austin and Morris.

The Leyland diesel engines were used in Finnish Sisu and Vanaja lorries and buses in 1960s.

British Leyland era


Further information: British Leyland

The BLMC group was difficult to manage because of the many companies under its control, often making similar products. This, and other reasons, led to financial difficulties and in December 1974 British Leyland had to receive a guarantee from the British government.

In 1975, after the publication of the Ryder Report, BLMC nationalised as British Leyland (BL) and split into 4 divisions with the bus and truck production becoming the Leyland Truck & Bus division within the Land Rover Leyland Group. This division was split into Leyland Bus and Leyland Trucks in 1981. In 1986, BL changed its name to Rover Group. The equity stake in Ashok Leyland was controlled by Land Rover Leyland International Holdings, and sold in 1987.



The bus operations were divested as a management buy-out to form Leyland Bus, and was subsequently bought by Volvo Buses in 1988, which discontinued most of its product range but adopted the Leyland Olympian, re-engineering it as the first named Volvo Bus model, the Volvo Olympian aside from minor frame changes the major alterations were the fitment of Volvo axles, braking system and controls. Both were the best selling double-deck bus chassis of their time.


  • 1987 The Leyland Trucks division of Rover Group (formerly BL) merged with DAF Trucks of The Netherlands, and was floated on the Dutch stock exchange as DAF NV. The new company traded as Leyland DAF in the UK, and as DAF elsewhere.
  • 1993 DAF NV went into bankruptcy. The UK truck division was bought through a management buy-out and became Leyland Trucks. The van division was also bought through a management buy-out and became LDV Limited. The Spare Parts Operation (Multipart) was also subject to a management buy-out before eventually becoming part of the LEX organisation.
  • 1998 Leyland Trucks was acquired by the US truck manufacturer PACCAR. Leyland Trucks now operates as a division of PACCAR from the Leyland Assembly Plant in North West England manufacturing around 14,000 trucks per year of which about a third are sold in the EU, though not with the name Leyland.

The Leyland name and logo continues as a recognised and respected marque across India, the wider subcontinent and parts of Africa in the form of Ashok Leyland. Part of the giant Hinduja Group, Ashok Leyland manufactures buses, trucks, defence vehicles and engines. The company is a leader in the heavy transportation sector within India and has an aggressive expansionary policy. Ironically, since 1987, when the London-based Hinduja Group bought the Indian-based Ashok Leyland company, it is once again a British-owned brand. Today, Ashok-Leyland is pursuing a joint venture with Nissan, and through its acquisition of the Czech truck maker, Avia, is entering the European truck market directly. With its purchase of a 26% stake in UK-based bus manufacturer Optare in 2010, Ashok Leyland has taken a step closer to reconnecting with its British heritage, as Optare is a direct descendant of Leyland’s UK bus-making division. On 21 December 2010, Ashok Leyland bought an additional 49% stake in Optare, bringing its total to 75%.

Historically, Leyland Motors was a major manufacturer of buses used in the United Kingdom and worldwide. It achieved a number of firsts or milestones that set trends for the bus industry. It was one of the first manufacturers to devise chassis designs for buses that were different from trucks, with a lower chassis level to help passengers to board. Its chief designer, John George Rackham, who had experience at the Yellow Coach Company in Chicago before returning to England, created the Titan and Tiger ranges in 1927 that revolutionised bus design. After 1945, it created another milestone with the trend-setting Atlantean rear-engined double-decker bus design produced between 1956 and 1986.


  • Q-type 4 ton
  • SQ2 7 ton
  • SWQ2 10-ton six-wheeler
  • Bull
  • layland madion


  • Beaver
  • Bison
  • Buffalo
  • Bull
  • Hippo
  • Octopus 22-ton eight-wheeler
  • Steer
  • Lynx
  • Cub
  • Badger



  • Leyland 90
  • Beaver
  • Comet
  • Steer (1966, Ergomatic)[8]
  • Gas Turbine
  • FG
  • Lynx


  • Terrier (G-series)
  • Mastiff (G-series)
  • Boxer (G-series)
  • Clydesdale (G-series)
  • Reiver (G-series)
  • Marathon (Ergomatic)
  • Bison (Ergomatic)

The G-series cab was built in Bathgate and was available with several different names, such as Terrier, Clydesdale, and Reiver. After this cab was replaced the tooling was shipped to Turkey, where BMC’s Turkish subsidiary built it as the “BMC Yavuz” and then as the “Fatih” (with Cummins engines) from 1986 until 1996.

The Marathon was Leyland’s answer to the booming “max cap” truck fad at the start of the 1970s. Imports such as the Volvo F88 and Scania 110/140 were selling very well in the UK thanks to the previously unheard of levels of driver comfort, reliability, quality and performance.

Leyland had insufficient money for development of a complete new vehicle at the time, so designers were instructed to utilise as many existing in-house components as possible. It was perceived at the time that the resulting model would be a stopgap until the new T45 range was ready for production toward the latter half of the 1970s.

The cab was a re-worked version of the “Ergomatic” tilt cab of 1965, heavily modified with different lower panels, raised height etc., and was available in day and sleeper cab form. Engines were decided from the outset to be in the higher power category to be competitive with rival vehicles. The only existing engine within the Leyland empire suitable for such an application (following the demise of the ill-fated fixed-head 500 series and AEC’s underdeveloped and unreliable V8) was the AEC AV760 straight-six, which was turbocharged and designated as the TL12. Other engine options included a 200 bhp Leyland L11, as well as Cummins 10- and 14-litre engines at 250 and 330 bhp, respectively.

Production began in 1973, and various shortcomings were noted, including below-par heating and ventilation, and pronounced cab roll. However, road testers of the time were very impressed by the truck’s power and performance. In 1977, the redesigned “Marathon 2” was launched, an updated and revised vehicle that attempted to address some of the previous criticisms of the earlier vehicle. Relatively few Marathons of all types were sold before production ended in 1979 with the introduction of the T45 “roadtrain” range of vehicles.



This was Leyland’s answer to the Ford cargo in the non-HGV 7.5-ton truck sector. Launched in 1984, it utilised a Leyland straight-six engine until 1986, when a 5.9L Cummins was introduced. It was notable at the time for its low-level passenger side windscreen, featured as a safety aid to enable the driver to see the kerb, although this was deleted on later models. The basic cab had a long service life, becoming later on the Leyland DAF 45.


The Leyland Roadtrain was a range of heavy goods vehicle tractor units manufactured by Leyland Trucks between 1980 and 1990. The nomenclature “T45” refers to the truck range design as a whole and encompasses models such as the lightweight 7.5-ton roadrunner, Freighter (4 wheel rigid truck) constructor (multi axle rigid tipper or mixer chassis-its chassis owing much to the outgoing Scammell 8-wheeler Handyman) and Cruiser (basic spec low weight tractor unit). The Roadtrain itself was a max weight model with distance work in mind.

The cab design was a joint effort between Leyland, BRS and Ogle Design and was seen as the height of modernity when compared with its predecessors, the idea being to have one basic design to replace the various outgoing models (for example, the Bathgate built G cab on the Terrier, the Ergomatic cabbed Lynx, Beaver etc.). This did indeed make good economic sense; however, there has been speculation that Leyland did in fact alienate a number of customers who had traditionally purchased other marques from within the Leyland empire—Albion, AEC, Scammell, etc.—who were now left with no alternative but to have a Leyland branded vehicle or purchase from elsewhere.

Throughout its production run, engine choices included the AEC-based TL12, a straight carry over from the preceding “stopgap” model Marathon range, The Rolls-Royce Eagle 265/300 and the Cummins 290 L10 and 14-litre 350 coupled to a Spicer or Eaton transmission, although all versions produced a distinctive whine from the propshaft knuckle joint when approaching 60 mph (97 km/h). The TL12 engine was dropped early on in the production run, with most large fleet buyers choosing the Rolls-Royce engine.

The Roadtrain was available in day- and sleeper-cabbed form, in high and low datum versions—this refers to the cab height—high datum versions were intended as long haul vehicles with higher mounted cabs and more internal space. 6×2 versions were built in high cab form only on a chassis that was basically that of the ageing Scammell trunker.

In 1986, the high roofed Roadtrain interstate was introduced, a top of the range long distance truck with standing room inside.

The Roadtrain was a common sight throughout most of the 1980s, with a great many of the major fleet users in the UK such as Tesco, Blue Circle (unusually with high datum day cabs) and BRS running them. The Firm of Swain’s based at Rochester in Kent had a number of roadtrains in its fleet which enjoyed a comparatively long service life (until the late 1990s) before being replaced by the newer DAF 85.

Production ended in 1990 with the sale of Leyland Trucks to Dutch firm DAF, although as a postscript DAF relaunched the model in low-datum form (it was already manufacturing the large DAF 95) as the DAF 80, using the Roadtrain cab with the DAF 330 ATi engine (quite ironic, given that this engine had its roots in the Leyland O.680). This model was produced for a relatively short time until 1993 with the launch of the brand new cabbed DAF 85.

Due partly to the cab’s propensity to rust and also to the admittedly short life of commercial vehicles, any Roadtrain in commercial operation is now a very rare sight indeed. However, a small number remain in use throughout the country as towing-and-recovery vehicles.

The army made use of an 8×6 version of the Roadtrain as a hook loader until recently. This is known to the British Army as Demountable Rack Offload and Pickup System (DROPS), which has seen action Iraq and Afghanistan and is still in service, but is due to be replaced by the MAN version.


The Leyland Comet was introduced in 1986, specifically designed for export markets mainly in the developing world. As such, it was a no-frills vehicle of a simple and sturdy design, with five- or six-speed transmissions rather than the multi-speed units used on European models. The cabin was a simplified all-steel version of that used by the Roadrunner, designed to enable local assembly. The three-axle version is called the Super Comet.

Leyland Trucks

Leyland Trucks Limited

Type Subsidiary of Paccar since 1998
Industry Manufacturing
Founded 1993
Headquarters Leyland, Lancashire, England
Key people Ron Augustyn-Managing Director
Peter Jukes-Operations Director
Denis Culloty-Chief Engineer
Products Trucks
Revenue Approx £850 million
Owner(s) Paccar UK
Employees 950
Parent Paccar
Website leylandtrucksltd.co.uk

Leyland Trucks is the UK’s leading medium & heavy duty truck manufacturer and is based in the town of Leyland, Lancashire. It emerged from the bankruptcy of DAF NV as the result of a management buy-out in 1993, and was acquired by PACCAR in 1998, of which it is now a subsidiary. Since Leyland Trucks was acquired by PACCAR it has become the group’s established centre for the design, development and manufacture of light and medium duty trucks. Leyland Trucks operates out of one of Europe’s most advanced truck manufacturing facilities – the Leyland Assembly Plant, and currently employs 1000 people. In 2008 Leyland produced more than 24,500 trucks of which 50% were exported.


Its history lies in origins as Leyland Motors which subsequently became part of the nationalised British Leyland conglomerate. Upon the breakup of BL’s successor Rover Group, the truck making division merged with DAF’s truck business as DAF NV. When the new company became insolvent a few years later, Leyland Trucks emerged as an independent company.



  • 1896 The Lancashire Steam Motor Company is formed by James Sumner at the Herbert Street workshops with 20 employees. Henry Spurrier financed the development of a 30cwt steam van which proved to be successful
  • 1907 T Coulthard and Co, an engineering firm in Preston, was taken over by LSMC and the combined company named Leyland Motors Limited
  • 1963 Leyland Motor Corporation is formed after Leyland Motors absorbs Standard-Triumph International and Associated Commercial Vehicles Ltd during the preceding years
  • 1968 Leyland Motor Corporation and British Motor Holdings merged to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation, which was now the fifth largest vehicle producer in the world
  • 1975 BLMC was nationalised by the government in response to the severe financial problems being experienced by the group. The corporation becomes British Leyland with Leyland commercials becoming part of the autonomous Truck and Bus Division
  • 1978 Leyland Vehicles Limited becomes the new name for the division
  • 1979 Production starts during September at the all new Leyland Assembly Plant. The first build being a Leyland Leopard bus chassis
  • 1981 LVL split into three companies;- Leyland Trucks, Leyland Bus and Leyland Parts
  • 1987 DAF Trucks take a 60% controlling share in Leyland Trucks and Freight-Rover and becomes Leyland DAF
  • 1993 The Leyland factory is subject to a management buy-out and becomes Leyland Trucks Limited
  • 1998 Leyland Trucks is acquired by PACCAR of the United States and incorporated as the Leyland Trucks subsidiary of that company
  • 2000 Production of all Foden product is transferred to the Leyland Assembly Plant
  • 2002 The Leyland designed and built LF wins the prestigious award ‘International Truck of the Year’
  • 2005 Leyland Trucks starts painting truck chassis robotically on the moving conveyor, a first in the industry
  • 2006 Leyland Trucks stops production of Foden trucks following the decision to retire the Foden brand
  • 2007 In another industry leading move, Leyland Trucks starts production of the complete bodied truck. Bodies are built on the production line, under the same quality controls, and fitted directly to its chassis prior to delivery to the customer
  • 2008 On 17 April Leyland Trucks produced its 300,000th truck. Mark Armstrong Transport Ltd took delivery of the DAF XF 105 direct from the assembly line
  • 2008 Leyland Trucks built a record 24,700 trucks at the assembly facility (beating the previous 2007 record of 17,500), supporting DAFs Leading UK Market Share of 27.3%
  • 2009 In April Leyland Trucks was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade.
  • 2010 Leyland Trucks was awarded the PACCAR Chairman’s Award for 2009

British Leyland


British Leyland

Industry Automotive
Fate Renamed
Predecessor(s) British Motor Holdings (BMH)
Leyland Motor Corporation (LMC)
Successor(s) Rover Group
Leyland DAFLDV Van Group
Founded 1968
Defunct 1986
Headquarters Longbridge (Austin Rover), BirminghamCowley, Oxford

1986 – 2005: Washwood Heath, Birmingham LDV Vans

Key people Lord Stokes
Michael Edwardes
Graham Day
Products Automobiles
Employees 250,000

British Leyland was an automotive engineering, and manufacturing conglomerate formed in the United Kingdom in 1968 as British Leyland Motor Corporation Ltd (BLMC), following the merger of Leyland Motors and British Motor Holdings. It was partly nationalised in 1975, when the UK government created a holding company called British Leyland, later BL, in 1978.[1][2] It incorporated much of the British-owned motor vehicle industry, and held 40 percent of the UK car market,[3] with roots going back to 1895.

Despite containing profitable marques such as Jaguar, Rover and Land Rover, as well as the best-selling Mini, British Leyland had a troubled history.[4] In 1986 it was renamed as the Rover Group, later to become MG Rover Group, which went into administration in 2005, bringing mass car production by British-owned manufacturers to an end. MG and the Austin, Morris and Wolseley marques became part of China’s SAIC, with whom MG Rover attempted to merge prior to administration.

Today, MINI, Jaguar Land Rover and Leyland Trucks (now owned by BMW Group, TATA and Paccar, respectively) are the three most prominent former parts of British Leyland which are still active in the automotive industry, with SIAC-owned MG Motor continuing a small presence at the Longbridge site. Certain other related ex-BL businesses (such as Unipart) continue to operate independently.


BLMC was created in 1968 by the merger of British Motor Holdings (BMH) and Leyland Motor Corporation (LMC), encouraged by Tony Benn as chairman of the Industrial Reorganisation Committee created by the Wilson Government (1964–1970).[3] At the time, LMC was a successful manufacturer, while BMH (which was the product of an earlier merger between the British Motor Corporation and Jaguar) was perilously close to collapse. The Government was hopeful LMC’s expertise would revive the ailing BMH, and effectively create a “British General Motors“. The merger combined most of the remaining independent British car manufacturing companies and included car, bus and truck manufacturers and more diverse enterprises including construction equipment, refrigerators, metal casting companies, road surface manufacturers; in all, nearly 100 different companies. The new corporation was arranged into seven divisions under its new chairman, Sir Donald Stokes (formerly the chairman of LMC).

While BMH was the UK’s largest car manufacturer (producing over twice as many cars as LMC), it offered a range of dated vehicles, including the Morris Minor which was introduced in 1948 and the Austin Cambridge and Morris Oxford, which dated back to 1959. After the merger, Lord Stokes was horrified to find that BMH had no plans to replace these elderly designs. Also, BMH’s design efforts immediately prior to the merger had focused on unfortunate niche market models such as the Austin Maxi (which was underdeveloped and with an appearance hampered by using the doors from the larger Austin 1800) and the Austin 3 litre, a car with no discernible place in the market.

BMH had produced several successful cars, such as the Mini and the Austin/Morris 1100/1300 range (which at the time was the UK’s biggest selling car). While these cars had been advanced at the time of their introduction, the Mini was not highly profitable and the 1100/1300 was facing more modern competition.

Allegro british-leyland-mini-clubman-05

The lack of attention to development of new mass-market models meant that BMH had nothing in the way of new models in the pipeline to compete effectively with popular rivals such as Ford’s Escort and Cortina.

Immediately, Lord Stokes instigated plans to design and introduce new models quickly. The first result of this crash program was the Morris Marina in early 1971. It used parts from various BL models with new bodywork to produce BL’s mass-market competitor. It was one of the strongest-selling cars in Britain during the 1970s, although by the end of production in 1980 it was widely regarded as a dismal product that had damaged the company’s reputation. The Austin Allegro (replacement for the 1100/1300 ranges), launched in 1973, earned a similarly unwanted reputation over its 10-year production life.

The company became an infamous monument to the industrial turmoil that plagued Britain in the 1970s. Industrial action instigated by militant shop stewards frequently brought BL’s manufacturing capability to its knees. Despite the duplication of production facilities as a result of the merger, there were multiple single points of failure in the company’s production network which meant that a strike in a single plant could stop many of the others. Dealers, starved of stock found their customers defecting to contemporary products from Ford, Vauxhall, and the burgeoning Japanese imports.

At its peak, BLMC owned almost 40 manufacturing plants across the country. Even before the merger BMH had included theoretically competing marques that were in fact selling substantially similar “badge engineered” cars. To this was added the competition from yet more, previously LMC marques. Rover competed with Jaguar at the expensive end of the market, and Triumph with its family cars and sports cars against Austin, Morris and MG. Individual model lines that were similarly sized were therefore competing against each other, yet were never discontinued nor were model ranges rationalised quickly enough – for instance BMH’s MGB remained in production alongside LMC’s Triumph TR6, whilst in the medium family segment, the Princess was in direct competition with upscale versions of the Morris Marina and cheaper versions of the Austin Maxi, meaning that economies of scale resulting from large production runs could never be realised. In addition, in consequent attempts to establish British Leyland as a brand in consumers’ minds in and outside the UK, print ads and spots were produced, causing confusion rather than attraction for buyers. This, combined with serious industrial relations problems (with trade unions), the 1973 oil crisis, the three-day week, high inflation, and ineffectual management meant that BL became an unmanageable and financially crippled behemoth which went bankrupt in 1975.

1970s restructuring

Sir Don Ryder was asked to undertake an enquiry into the position of the company, and his report, The Ryder Report, was presented to the government in April 1975. Following the report’s recommendations, the organisation was drastically restructured and the Labour Government (1974–1979) took control by creating a new holding company British Leyland Limited (BL) of which the government was the major shareholder. Between 1975 and 1980 these shares were vested in the National Enterprise Board which had responsibility for managing this investment. The company was now organised into the following four divisions:

  • Leyland Cars (later BL Cars) – the largest car manufacturer in the UK, employing some 128,000 people at 36 locations, and with a production capacity of one million vehicles per year.
  • Leyland Truck and Bus – the largest commercial and passenger vehicle manufacturer in the UK, employing 31,000 people at 12 locations, producing 38,000 trucks, 8,000 buses (including a joint venture with the National Bus Company) and 19,000 tractors per year. The tractors were based on the Nuffield designs, but built in a plant in Bathgate, Scotland.
  • Leyland Special Products – the miscellaneous collection of other acquired businesses, itself structured into five sub-divisions:
  • Leyland International – responsible for the export of cars, trucks and buses, and responsible for manufacturing plants in Africa, India and Australia, employing 18,000 people

There was positive news for BL at the end of 1976 when its new Rover SD1 executive car was voted European Car of the Year, having gained plaudits for its innovative design. The SD1 was actually the first step that British Leyland took towards rationalising its passenger car ranges, as it was a single car replacing two cars competing in the same sector: the Rover P6 and Triumph 2000. More positive news for the company came at the end of 1976 with the approval by Industry Minister Eric Varley of a £140 million investment of public money in refitting the Longbridge plant for production of the company’s “ADO88” (Mini replacement) model, due for launch in 1979. However, poor results from customer clinics of the ADO88, coupled with the UK success of the Ford Fiesta, launched in 1976, forced a snap redesign of ADO88 which evolved into the “LC8” project – eventually launched as the Austin Mini Metro in 1980.

In 1977 Sir Michael Edwardes was appointed chief executive by the NEB and Leyland Cars was split up into Austin Morris (the volume car business) and Jaguar Rover Triumph (JRT) (the specialist or upmarket division). Austin Morris included MG. Land Rover and Range Rover were later separated from JRT to form the Land Rover Group. JRT later split up into Rover-Triumph and Jaguar Car Holdings (which included Daimler).

In 1978 the company formed a new group for its commercial vehicle interests, BL Commercial Vehicles (BLCV) under managing director David Abell. The following companies moved under this new umbrella:

  • Leyland Vehicles Limited (trucks, tractors and buses)
  • Alvis Limited (military vehicles)
  • Coventry Climax (fork lift trucks and specialist engines)
  • Self-Changing Gears Limited (heavy-duty transmissions)

BLCV and the Land Rover Group later merged to become Land Rover Leyland.

BL Ltd

In 1979 British Leyland Ltd was renamed to simply BL Ltd (later BL plc) and its subsidiary which acted as a holding company for all the other companies within the group The British Leyland Motor Corporation Ltd to BLMC Ltd.

BL’s fortunes took another much-awaited rise in October 1980 with the launch of the Austin Metro (initially named the Mini Metro), a modern three-door hatchback which gave buyers a more modern and practical alternative to the iconic but ageing Mini. This went on to be one of the most popular cars in Britain of the 1980s. Towards the final stages of the Metro’s development, BL entered into an alliance with Honda to provide a new mid-range model which would replace the ageing Triumph Dolomite, but would more crucially act as a stop-gap until the Austin Maestro and Montego were ready for launch. This car would emerge as the Triumph Acclaim in 1981, and would be the first of a long line of collaborative models jointly developed between BL and Honda. By 1982 the BL Cars Ltd division renamed itself Austin Rover Group, shortly before the launch of the Maestro and Michael Edwardes was replaced by Harold Musgrove as chairman and chief executive. Jaguar and Daimler remained in a separate company called Jaguar Car Holdings, but were later sold off and privatised in 1984.

A rationalisation of the model ranges also took place around this time. In 1980, British Leyland was still producing four cars in the large family car sector—the Princess 2, Austin Maxi, Morris Marina and Triumph Dolomite. The Marina became the Ital in August 1980 following a superficial facelift, and a year later the Princess 2 received a major upgrade to become the Austin Ambassador, meaning that the 1982 range had just two competitors in this sector. In April 1984, these cars were discontinued to make way for a single all-new model, the Austin Montego. The Triumph Acclaim was replaced in that same year by another Honda-based product – the Rover 200-series.

Jaguar sale

In 1984 Jaguar Cars became independent once more, through a public sale of its shares. Ford subsequently acquired Jaguar. In 1986 BL changed its name to Rover Group and in 1987 the Trucks Division – Leyland Vehicles merged with the Dutch DAF company to form DAF NV, trading as Leyland DAF in the UK and as DAF in the Netherlands. In 1987 the bus business was spun off into a new company called Leyland Bus. This was the result of a management buyout who decided to sell the company to the Bus & Truck division of Volvo in 1988.


In 1986 Graham Day took the helm as chairman and CEO and the third joint Rover-Honda vehicle – the Rover 800-series – was launched which replaced the 10-year old Rover SD1. That same year, the British government controversially tried to reprivatise and sell-off Land Rover, however this plan was later abandoned. 1987 saw the Austin name dropped on the Metro, Maestro and Montego, signalling the end for the historic Austin marque, in a push to focus on the more prestigious (and potentially more profitable) Rover badge. In 1988 the business was sold by the British Government to British Aerospace (BAe), and shortly after shortened its name to just Rover Group. They subsequently sold the business to BMW, which, after initially seeking to retain the whole business, decided to only retain the Cowley operations for MINI production and close the Longbridge factory. Longbridge, along with the Rover and MG marques, was taken on by MG Rover which went into administration in April 2005.

Many of the brands were divested over time and continue to exist on the books of several companies to this day.

Ashok Leyland

The Leyland name and logo continues as a recognised and respected marque across India, the wider subcontinent and parts of Africa in the form of Ashok Leyland. Part of the giant Hinduja Group, Ashok Leyland manufactures buses, trucks, defence vehicles and engines. The company is a leader in the heavy transportation sector within India and has an aggressive expansionary policy. Ironically, since 1987, when the London-based Hinduja Group bought the Indian-based Ashok Leyland company, it is once again a British-owned brand. Today, Ashok-Leyland is pursuing a joint venture with Nissan and through its acquisition of the Czech truck maker, Avia, is entering the European truck market directly. With its purchase, in 2010, of a 25 per cent stake in UK-based bus manufacturer Optare, Ashok Leyland has taken a step closer to reconnecting with its British heritage, as Optare is a direct descendant of Leyland’s UK bus-making division.

British Leyland also provided the technical know-how and the rights to their Leyland 28 BHP tractor for Auto Tractors Limited, a tractor plant in Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh. Established in 1981 with state support, ATL only managed to build 2,380 tractors by the time the project was ended in 1990 – less than the planned production for the first two years. The project ended up being taken over by Sipani, who kept producing tractor engines and also a small number of tractors with some modest success.

Notes for the timeline table

  • The car brands of BSA were divested, BSA was not merged into Jaguar.
  • Mini was not originally a marque in its own right. See Mini and MINI (BMW) for more detail.
  • The BMC trademark is registered (1564704, E1118348) to MG Rover Group Ltd in the UK. BMC is also the name of a commercial vehicle manufacturer in Turkey, formerly the Turkish subsidiary of the British Motor Corporation. It is believed that Nanjing Automotive may have purchased this from MG Rover, however the brand has not been reassigned as of 17 July 2006.
  • The Wolseley trademark is registered (UK 1490228) to MG Rover Group Ltd for automobiles only. It is believed that Nanjing Automotive may have purchased this from MG Rover, however the brand has not been reassigned as of July 2006 to a different company. The UK building materials supplier Wolseley plc owns the rights to the Wolseley name for all other purposes. Wolseley plc is a descendant of the original Wolseley company.
  • The Vanden Plas trademark is owned by Ford (through Jaguar) for use within the USA and Canada, and as (UK 1133528, E2654481) to MG Rover Group Ltd for use in the rest of the world. It is believed that Nanjing Automotive may have purchased this from MG Rover, however the trademark has not been recorded as reassigned as of 17 July 2006. This is why Jaguar XJ Vanden Plas models are branded as Daimlers in Britain. The last Rover to use the Vanden Plas name was the Rover 75 Vanden Plas, a long wheelbase limousine model.
  • The Rover trademark was owned by BMW and was only licenced to MG Rover Group Ltd. BMW sold the brand to Ford in September 2006.
  • Alvis was purchased from British Leyland by United Scientific Holdings plc in 1981, in 2002 Alvis merged with part of Vickers Defence Systems to form Alvis Vickers which was purchased by BAE Systems in 2004. BAE Systems did not acquire Alvis through their ownership of the Rover Group in the early 1990s. Production of Alvis branded cars ceased in 1967. The trademark is owned by Alvis Vehicles Ltd.
  • The use of the Triumph name as a trademark for vehicles is shared between BMW and Triumph Motorcycles Ltd. The former for automobiles and the latter for motorcycles. The motorcycle and car business separated in the 1930s.

Merged companies

The car firms (and car brands) which eventually merged to form the company are as follows.

The dates given are those of the first car of each name, but these are often debatable as each car may be several years in development.

  • 1895 Wolseley Motors
  • 1896 Lanchester Motor Company
  • 1896 Leyland Motors Ltd (commercial vehicles)
  • 1896 Daimler
  • 1898 Riley
  • 1899 Albion
  • 1903 Standard Motor Company
  • 1904 Rover
  • 1905 Austin
  • 1912 Morris
  • 1913 Vanden Plas
  • 1919 Alvis
  • 1923 MG created by Morris
  • 1923 Triumph Motor Company
  • 1924 BSA used as a car brand
  • 1935 Jaguar
  • 1947 Land Rover created by Rover
  • 1952 Austin-Healey created by Austin division of BMC (see below)
  • 1959 Mini : the car initially launched as the Austin Seven and Morris Mini-Minor became popularly known just as the ‘Mini’ and BMC recognised this by initially re-badging the Austin as the Austin Mini, and subsequently deleting both marque names from the car and effectively making Mini a marque name in its own right.
  • robbo
  • The infamous Derek Robbins (RED ROBBO) Leader of the unions.
  • strike
  • Strike Meeting
  • turn against robbo
  • The workers turn against Red Robbo
  • box_98_20110723122046_00218A.jpg
  • Wives or Women against strikes on the picket line at Longbridge.
  • Pictures courtesy of Local newspaper.


Albion Automotive of Scotstoun, Glasgow is a former Scottish automobile and commercial vehicle manufacturer, currently involved in the manufacture and supply of Automotive component systems.
Today the company is a subsidiary of American Axle & Manufacturing, and manufactures axles, driveline systems, chassis systems, crankshafts and chassis components. It is Scotland’s best known name in the motor industry. Albions were renowned for their slogan “Sure as the Sunrise”.Albion Prodline albion-motors

Originally known as Albion Motor Car Company Ltd, the company was founded in 1899 by Thomas Blackwood Murray and Norman Osborne Fulton (both of whom had previously been involved in Arrol-Johnston) they were joined a couple of years later by John F Henderson who provided additional capital. The factory was originally on the first floor of a building in Finnieston Street, Glasgow and had only seven employees. In 1903 the company moved to new premises in Scotstoun.

The Albion Motor Car Company Ltd was renamed Albion Motors in 1930.
In 1951, Leyland Motors took over. After the British Leyland Motor Corporation was founded in 1968, production continued with the Albion Chieftain, Clydesdale & Reiver trucks and the Albion Viking bus models. Production of these was then moved to the Leyland plant at Bathgate in 1980. In 1969, the company took over the neighbouring Coventry Ordnance Works on South Street, which it continues to operate from.
Leyland dropped the Albion name when the company name was changed to Leyland (Glasgow) and later to Leyland-DAF from 1987 when it became a subsidiary of that Dutch concern.
A management buy-out in 1993 brought Albion Automotive as it was thenceforth known back into Scottish ownership. A new owner, the American Axle & Manufacturing Company (AAM) of Detroit, Michigan, took over Albion in 1998.

In 1900 they built their first motor car, a rustic-looking dogcart made of varnished wood and powered by a flat-twin 8hp engine with gear-change by “Patent Combination Clutches” and solid tyres.
In 1903 Albion introduced a 3115 cc 16 hp vertical-twin, followed in 1906 by a 24 hp four. One of the specialities the company offered was solid-tired shooting-brakes. The last private Albions were powered by a 15 hp monobloc four of 2492 cc.
Passenger car production ceased in 1915 but in 1920 the company announced that estate cars were available again based on a small bus chassis, it is not known if any were actually made.

Although the manufacture of motor cars was the main industry in the first ten years of its existence, it was decided in 1909 to concentrate on the production of commercial vehicles. During World War 1 they built for the War Office large quantities of 3 ton trucks powered by a 32 hp engine using chain drive to the rear wheels. After the war many of these were converted for use as charabancs.

Albion1 Albion2 Albion3 albionbus
Trucks and buses (single and double deckers) were manufactured in the Scotstoun works until 1980 (1972 for complete vehicles). The buses were exported to Asia, East Africa, Australia, India and South Africa. Almost all Albion buses were given names beginning with “V”, these models being the Victor, Valiant, Viking, Valkyrie, and Venturer. Albion also made the Claymore with the 4 speed gearbox,The Reiver was a six wheeler. The Chieftain had a 6 speed gearbox,6th being an overdrive gear,with a worm and wheel rear axle.
Bus production
The earliest buses were built on the A10 truck chassis with two being delivered to West Bromwich in 1914. Newcastle upon Tyne also took double deckers around this time, but Albion did not produce a purpose-built double deck chassis until 1931.
In 1923 the first dedicated bus chassis was announced derived from the one used on the 25 cwt truck but with better springing. Bodies seating from 12 to 23 passengers were available. A lower frame chassis, the Model 26, with 30/60 hp engine and wheelbases from 135 inches (3,400 mm) to 192 inches (4,900 mm) joined the range in 1925. All the early vehicles had been normal control, with the engine in front of the driver but in 1927 the first forward control with the engine alongside the driver was announced as the Viking allowing 32 seats to be fitted. Diesel engines, initially from Gardner, were available from 1933. The first double deck design was the Venturer of 1932 with up to 51 seats. The CX version of the chassis was launched in 1937 and on these the engine and gearbox were mounted together rather than joined by a separate drive shaft. Albion’s own range of diesel engines was also made available.
After World War 2 the range was progressively modernised and underfloor engined models were introduced with two prototypes in 1951 and production models from 1955 with the Nimbus.
With the Leyland take over the range was cut back. The last Albion double decker was the 1961 Lowlander and that was marketed in England as a Leyland, and the last design of all was the Viking, re-using an old name.

Albion badged Atlantean


• Model 24 (1923–1924) First purpose built Albion bus chassis
• Viking 24 (1924–1932) Various wheelbases from 10 feet 9 inches (3.28 m) to 16 feet 3 inches (4.95 m) Front wheel brakes from 1927. Six cylinder engines available in Viking Sixes.
• Valkyrie (1930–1938) Forward control. 5 litre engine, 6.1 litre from 1933, 7.8 litre optional from 1935. Mainly sold as coaches.
• Valiant (1931–1936) Mainly sold to the coach market.
• Victor (1930–1939) Normal or forward control. 20 or 24 seater.
• Venturer (1932–1939) Albions first double decker. 51, later 55 seats. 3 axle version, the Valorous made in 1932, only one produced.
• Valkyrie CX (1937–1950) Engine and gearbox in-unit.
• Venturer CX (1937–1951) Double decker.
• Victor FT (1947–1959) Lightweight single decker
• Valiant CX (1948–1951) Mostly sold to coach operators.
• Viking CX (1948–1952) Mainly sold to the export market.
• KP71NW (1951) Underfloor engined chassis with horizontally-opposed eight cylinder engine; 2 built.
• Nimbus (1955–1963) Underfloor engine.
• Aberdonian (1957–1960) Underfloor engine.
• Royal Scot (1959) 15.2 litre underfloor engined 6×4 dirt-road bus. 20 built for South African Railways.
• Victor VT (1959–1966) Front engined, derived from Chieftain truck chassis.
• Clydesdale (1959–1978) Export model built on truck chassis.
• Talisman TA (1959) 9.8 litre front engined 6×4 dirt-road bus. 5 built for Rhodesian Railways.
• Lowlander (1961–1966) Double decker. 18 feet 6 inches (5.64 m) wheelbase. LR7 had air rear suspension.
• Viking VK (1963-1983?) Mainly exported. Leyland O.370 O:400, O:401 engines. VK 41,55 were front engined; VK43,45,49,57,67 models were rear engined, Australian market had optional AEC AV505 engines.
• Valiant VL (1967–72) Similar to rear-engined Vikings but with tropical cooling unit as on VK45 and axles from Clydesdale.
Automotive components production
A complete change of profile went on in 1980. Since then, only automotive components, such as rear axles, have been produced.