In investigating and identifying
historic vehicles we obviously depend significantly on photographic material
available in books, magazines and on the Internet. Most of this material is available from individual
sources but a number of 'Photo Libraries' have now sprung up on the Internet
that have large numbers
of 'stock photographs' which are used by the press and the advertising media
etc. when illustrating an article or enhancing a product. It saves time, hassle
and money not to have to go out and take the photos when they are suddenly
needed. These can instead he hired on a royalty basis, but are generally
available free to non-profit/educational organisations such as us.
I was recently researching a specific relatively rare Morris van on the Internet
and, amongst many others. up popped the above photo from the well known Alamy
photo Library illustrating a Morris Van. It did not surprise us to come across
this photo because this is a well know van in Commercial Vehicle circles, and
also because it belongs to one of our regular SVVS Members Roger Bishop who frequently
brings it to our meetings. Roger Bishop is from the "Bishops Move"
family who coincidentally move bishops, ministers and prime ministers! The photo
on the internet was very small but seemed to have two people in the car, neither
of which looked like Roger Bishop.
This therefore required clicking on the photo to get an enlargement and greater
detail. To our great surprise this revealed not Roger Bishop but our SVVS Magazine
Distribution Officer Chas Moody and his wife Janet. This was a bit puzzling??
As probably neither Roger Bishop nor
Messers Chas were aware of this photo ever having been taken, we sent a jokey email
to Chas, headed STOLEN CAR: - Did you know you two
are the stars of Alamy stock photos in what is obviously a stolen
car? ...and received the
reply: Aha! Caught on camera! That
was taken at Goodwood Revival in 2010 when Janet and I got the record for
the slowest lap of the day.
This obviously needed further investigation and
we eventually extracted the following full information from Chas:
Aha! Caught on the Camera !!
The picture was taken at the Goodwood Revival meeting in 2010 when Janet
and I got the record for the slowest lap of the day!
The theme for one
of the parades that year was Delivery Vehicles and Roger Bishop had been
invited to bring his unique 'Bishop's Move' 1924 Morris Commercial
Car (yes, that's right, Car, not Van), but then couldn't attend due to other commitments. Not wishing to let the
organisers down, he arranged for the car to be taken to Goodwood and then kindly invited three different drivers to turn up on consecutive days to
take the car round the circuit in the parade. Janet and I had the 'middle'
day, Saturday18th September. We drove down in our modern car, had free
entry tickets, paddock passes, meal tickets for the Pilot's Lounge and I
had to go to the Competitor's briefing where I found I was standing next to
Stirling Moss, so cheekily asked him to autograph my programme !
Moody amongst the Spitfires. Click to enlarge.
the Bullnose at the prescribed location, removed its cover which we stowed
in the back then started it up without difficulty, - and it ran fine. When
our turn came, we drove out onto the circuit and lined up with about 30
other delivery vehicles, all movement up to that point having been taken
at a steady tick-over due to the crowded nature of the surroundings. When
we were waved off for our two laps of the circuit I found that the car
would only run at a tick-over, and - a slow one at that! Any attempt
to increase the revs and the engine died. We proceeded at a snail's pace
and watched all the other vehicles disappear into the distance. About
half way round we were lapped by the entire field and nursed the car round
painfully slowly to complete just the one lap and return to base, which
probably explains the far from joyful look on our faces!
The problem was fuel starvation, and I spent a goodly part of the
afternoon stripping the Smiths single jet carburettor float chamber down
and cleaning it of muck with a tool kit I found stowed in the back, that
to describe it as 'rudimentary' would be a compliment! We attracted a small
crowd of sympathetic onlookers and I blagged a wooden stirring stick from
a nearby catering van to whittle down and use as a cleaning / poking
stick. The car ran beautifully after that and the driver next day had a
trouble free run!
Why did Roger do me the honour of
allowing me to drive his precious vehicle, I hear you ask? Well, Roger had
long known of my interest in his Bullnose Morris which used to be owned by
Grants of Croydon, the large department store in High Street, Croydon,
which was once considered the Harrods of the First War generation; the Royal Family were frequent visitors. The store closed in 1985 but the
building, which is grade II listed, was redeveloped into an entertainment
centre and its original exterior was refurbished.
In the early 1950's, my father worked for Grants as a carpet salesman /
estimator which involved visiting potential customers, measuring up and
preparing quotations. For transport he was given the use of one of the
company's Ford 8 vans which he sometimes brought home. Saturday working
was the norm for most people in those days and dad was no exception, and
sometimes he would take my elder brother and I out on his rounds, possibly
to give my mother a break from us kids. The van had to be returned to
Grants vehicle garage in Lansdowne Road, near East Croydon and there in
the far corner I first saw the little blue Bullnose Morris with 'Grant
Bros', boldly sign-written in gold leaf on each side of the body.
"That's a Bullnose Morris", dad told us. "It belongs to the
old man and nobody's allowed to touch it".
The car is now resplendent
in 'Bishops Move' livery and my father is no longer with us, but he would
have been tickled pink to know that I had actually driven the 'old man's'
It was certainly an unforgettable day in many
ways and I will always be grateful to Roger for inviting me to drive his
car. So that's the story! Best regards, Chas Moody.
Roger Bishop tending to
his 1924 Morris Commercial Traveller's
Car at a SVVS Reigate Tunnel Meeting.
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