Paul Fox of Fox Moving & Storage tells the story of the restoration of a genuine FT3 lorry with its original six-cylinder petrol engine, a very rare beast as most surviving examples have been converted to diesel power many years ago, and with an equally rare period BK type furniture container intended for trans-shipment to a railway wagon.
Paul has displayed this vehicle several times now at the Movers & Storers Show in association with Unique Van Bodies. The Albion lorry is a model FT3L, originally built in 1946 and first registered to R & A Harrison of North Shields. It has a 4 litre EN277A side valve petrol engine and a 4 speed ‘crash’ gearbox with a top speed of 40 mph. The body on the vehicle is an aluminium BK type rail container for the carriage of household furniture and effects, compatible with rail rolling stock of the day. The container was loaded at the residence and lifted off the lorry by crane at a rail head for long-distance journeys by rail. At the destination rail-head a similar lorry would be loaded with the container and complete the delivery to the new home.
This was an early form of containerisation and was efficient bearing in mind the road network and low speed of the lorry.
The container body was built for the Army & Navy Stores’ removals department and was in use until the 1960s. It was acquired in the 1980s when Fox bought the old established firm, The Pantechnicon of London. Paul said ‘We put it to one side realising its historical significance, but not knowing what to do with it. It eventually ended up in our Cardiff depot’.
The derelict chassis cab was parked in the Warrington yard for several years where it had been abandoned, and sadly the weather had got the better of it. It was eventually consigned to the scrap yard and as I had taken an earlier interest in it, I was notified of the ‘crime’. I was able to acquire it and moved it to our Preston depot where it stayed for several more years.
Finally it was repainted and hand sign written. Work was carried was out by Unique Van Bodies of Warrington. All mechanical restoration and repair was carried out at Fox Moving & Storage’s own commercial garage. Together this is perhaps the last remaining example of this form of specialised transport.
Albion built heavy vehicles in Glasgow from 1899. The famous logo carried the legend: ‘Sure as the sunrise’. There is still an active owners club and many rallies are held each year. The Albion club were able to assist with sourcing many parts.
FOX Moving & Storage is a long established family owned business with locations throughout the UK. Fox offers a full range of services, and specialises in International Removals, Self Storage and Business Removals.