Smallwood Vintage Rally in Cheshire
Engine number 5814 built by Fodens of Sandbach Cheshire, more examples to follow at the end of the blog.
This rally is held in the small Cheshire village of Smallwood which is near to the birthplace of Edwin Foden famous for being the originator of Foden Trucks and it’s subsequent family spin off ERF Trucks, both were located in the nearby town of Sandbach. The original Foden company produced massive industrial steam engines, as well as small stationary engines and from 1880 agricultural traction engines. The company first produced experimental steam lorries shortly after the turn of the 20th century and went on to manufacture a range of trucks that spanned several decades and these were a common feature to be seen on British roads. The last truck to carry the Foden name was produced in July 2006, but with such a long history relating to steam and diesel transport in this area it is no surprise to see many fine examples at this local rally.
Other exhibits at this rally include Classic & Vintage Cars, Commercial vehicles, Tractors, Motorcycles & Military vehicles. Steam & Stationary engines. There is a large central area surrounded by food and drink tents with ample free parking. Many exhibiters will turn the usual three day event into a short holiday and many tents and caravans can be seen dotted around the many acres of open fields that comprise the rally area.
One event that attracts many exhibitors is the Tractor section, there is every conceivable manufacturer on display, all lovingly restored by their proud owners and most having vibrant colours.
I bumped into an old friend who informed me that he also collected tractors and now owned seven of them! Here is one he was exhibiting a David Brown 800
David Brown 800
DB 800 in the arena
Another one he owned was this Field Marshall who’s engine made a unique sound like a small cannon going off, which he reliably informed me was because it was turbo charged! Apparently the unique design of that strange shaped exhaust pipe was what created this.
It was very interesting to watch as each tractor entered the arena and a master of ceremonies chatted to each competitor.
Moving around the site there were many other exhibitors with small engines that at some time had performed a function such as pumping water or operating other mechanical devices, again all lovingly restored and many converted to run on gas.
Running on Propane
This guy was even churning butter using a small engine.
Now being a bit of an old ‘Rocker’ I was attracted to the old British motorbikes and it was a joy to see some of the famous makes, especially my favourite BSA’s
love at first sight
A couple of Triumphs and a Matchless make a nice little collection
There was a large display of Military Vehicles and equipment, enough to start a small army.
This one had a Bren gun which someone had thoughtfully chained up!
We even had an example of a British Ferret Scout Car, which reminded me of ‘Gruber’s Little Tank’ for those that still remember “Hello, Hello”
This one even had a Sten gun Mk.5 laying on the top, lets hope that the firing pin was removed as it wasn't chained up.
And this was just the job for shooting pigeons off the roof
Now this was an interesting motorcycle combo usually seen in old war movies getting blown up. It is a German BMW and it had everything on it, machine gun, wooden handled stick grenades and even a Panzer Faust which was an anti tank weapon similar to a bazooka. The owner was very kind and pushed it out onto the grass so I could get a better picture and he told me something interesting, it was actually built in Russia! Apparently before hostilities started the Germans had licensed them to be built them in Russia, so during the war both sides were using the same vehicle.
In the adjacent field were the Classic & Vintage cars often accompanied by their owners enjoying the sunshine.
A couple on their way to the show arena with their pristine looking 'Arrow' motor car
A nice example of an Austin 7
Another classic car
Now who wouldn't fancy driving around in this MG TF 1500?
After walking around for a couple of hours I sat down near this old musical organ to have a rest and listen to a few tunes, it gave the area a real carnival atmosphere.
Nearby was one of those old Threshing Machines that were originally driven by a steam engine similar to the one at the top and much later by tractor power. I remember watching one of these working in the fields when I was a very small boy and it was not unlike the one in this picture, maybe it was the same one!
Moving on it was time to look at what must have been a hundred lorries & vans of all descriptions and types, many of course were Foden or ERF vehicles.
Remember riding on one of these?
Everyone remembers the BRS lorries
But do you remember the delivery vans?
There were also plenty of other vehicles and there were a few that caught my attention, Mr Plod, what a fabulous name for a dumpy little Scammel tow truck.
Somehow I seem to remember when ambulances looked like this
I loved this tow truck it was beatifully maintained and the people who owned it were a pleasure to chat with, so enthusiastic. He even took my name and address and sent me a free calendar without me even asking.
But my favourites have always been the Steam Traction Engines, maybe because as an apprentice I used to work on them and while walking around I bumped into this chap who also used to work on them as well.
Several were the full sized versions such as this beautifully restored Road Roller and the fabulous red Traction Engine shown at the top of the page.
Somewhere I have a picture of Fred Dibnah on one like this.
One has only to look at this to appreciate the Victorian engineering
But my favourite has to be this one that was originally transported all the way out to Tasmania soon after it was built where it worked tirelessly before eventually falling into disrepair. It was purchased by the present owner and shipped back to the UK in bits and as you can see, lovingly restored, he told me that he named it after the town where it was found, a place called Carrick, hence the name ‘Lady Carrick’
Finally they were all paraded around the main arena and we were allowed to get in close for a few pictures. All in all it was a rare hot summer day and I spent a few enjoyable hours getting all my pictures, just a few of which I have shared with you here, so hopefully you will also enjoy looking at them.
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