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G506

WW1 Napier 30cwt lorry

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For many many years I have wanted a World War One vehicle, preferably British. Well, despite the best advise from my Psychiatrist, late last year I took the plunge and bought a Napier chassis from a chap in Nottinghamshire, the one advertised on a previous thread on HMVF.

She is missing more than is actually there, but hey, it's a start, and it would be criminal to allow her to be lost. Chassis in reasonable condition, wheels pretty good, same for springs, wheels all turn, front wheels steer, all in all not bad.

So now the tricky bit starts, trying to track down as many of the missing parts as possible! Radiator, steering box/column/wheel, engine, gearbox, pedals, levers, etc, etc.......................

I am a complete novice on anything built prior to 1941, so any info on UK examples that I could photograph, advise from owners of anything of the period, any help gratefully received !

Edited by G506

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A few pics to show what I have acquired!

 

 

 

Above, side view showing she's survived pretty well. By all accounts, there was a living van built on top, which obviously protected the chassis very well. Downside, the engine, diff, gearbox, cab, bodywork, etc were probably all removed and scrapped when this living van was constructed. When the gentleman who was living inside died, the wooden superstructure fell into disrepair, subsequently rotted and recently collapsed, revealing the chassis beneath.

 

 

 

Quick check a few miles down the road to make sure she wasnt going to make a break for it!

 

 

 

Back at the workshop, time to start studying what I've gone and done. Wooden crossmembers that had been supporting the living van removed.

 

So, WW1 lorry fans, what do you think, have I done the right thing?

Overall view of chassis, FOS wood removed.jpg

Checking straps on the way home.jpg

pic15.jpg

Edited by G506

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i reckon your barking mad:nut:!!! but thats got nout to do with the Napier:D. now get on with the Chevy!

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Madness!

But the distance between insanity & genius is very small, or so I have been told!

Anyone who has the vision to turn hundred-weights of hydrated iron oxide into a shiney, living creature, that moves under its own power, has my complete admiration.

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Having been up many dry gullies searching for memorabilia etc. I would think that what you have is first of all a great save from the Chinese scrap steel market, a good start for a project (albiet with due respect to the difficulties due to heritage etc. to state the obvious), a better start than some we have seen in the past and generally a good basis to work from. Good hunting and I look forward to following your progress. Regards Rod

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So, WW1 lorry fans, what do you think, have I done the right thing?

 

Looks like there's a fair bit to do so no need to rush in solving that conundrum, but I reckon you've done the right thing and you are starting with more than some folk, so good luck with the project.

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I hate to put a downer on things, but this may not be military. The miltary Napiers typically had Y spoked wheels and a flatter rear hub, such as in the picture here: http://www.napierheritage.org.uk/spip.php?article100460&id_document=100609#documents_portfolio

 

The style of your chassis is reminisant of that seen in many charabanc photos, such as this one: Napier charabanc 1923, Wells, Somerset BA5

 

Worth checking if the Napier Trust have chassis records or other information that would help with a positive ID.

 

Whatever it may have been, there's certainly a challenge ahead. Best wishes.

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Napier3a.jpg

 

I think this is the same sort of Napier as Mark has. It does also have the hooks on the front of the dumb irons which suggests to me that it is an ASC wagon. As you say it does have the less common round spoked wheels which did feature on some of the military lorrys. I cant make out the hub on Marks one to make a comparisson though. Any chance of another photos Mark?

Edited by Great War truck

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i reckon your barking mad:nut:!!! but thats got nout to do with the Napier:D. now get on with the Chevy!

 

Hello all, sorry for the delay replying, family outing to Stoneleigh all day!

 

Hi Baz, you cheeky b%%%%%%.

But yes you're right, barking mad

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Madness!

But the distance between insanity & genius is very small, or so I have been told!

Anyone who has the vision to turn hundred-weights of hydrated iron oxide into a shiney, living creature, that moves under its own power, has my complete admiration.

 

In my case I'm certainly edging nearer to insanity than genius!

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Having been up many dry gullies searching for memorabilia etc. I would think that what you have is first of all a great save from the Chinese scrap steel market, a good start for a project (albiet with due respect to the difficulties due to heritage etc. to state the obvious), a better start than some we have seen in the past and generally a good basis to work from. Good hunting and I look forward to following your progress. Regards Rod

 

Hi Rod,

it's certainly going to be an an uphill battle, but I like a challenge!

If you hear of anything Napier related coming up for sale in Oz maybe you could let me know?

many thanks for the encouraging words

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Looks like there's a fair bit to do so no need to rush in solving that conundrum, but I reckon you've done the right thing and you are starting with more than some folk, so good luck with the project.

 

Hi Roy,

funnily enough I am just about to invest in your Omnibus book, I've heard many good things about it.

As you say, there is no rush, she's safe from the scrapman's gas axe, and now indoors for the first time in years.

I have to finish my Chevy restoration (five years so far, at least one year still to go!), and then a full ground up resto on the jeep, so realistically I doubt I will even start it for five years; but I will use that time to find as much information and missing parts as I can.

Thanks for your kind words!

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I think this is the same sort of Napier as Mark has. It does also have the hooks on the front of the dumb irons which suggests to me that it is an ASC wagon. As you say it does have the less common round spoked wheels which did feature on some of the military lorrys. I cant make out the hub on Marks one to make a comparisson though. Any chance of another photos Mark?

 

Interesting picture there Tim... and happy to be proved wrong. Thanks.

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Interesting picture there Tim... and happy to be proved wrong. Thanks.

 

Not proved wrong Alan. I just happen to have found the one photo which is different from the norm. All the other ones i have seen have the Y spoked wheels as opposed to the round spoked wheels. It does seem that they swap them around a lot just to keep us on our toes. No one has really written a history of these things. I think that is for us to do together through HMVF.

 

Tim

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I hate to put a downer on things, but this may not be military. The miltary Napiers typically had Y spoked wheels and a flatter rear hub, such as in the picture here: http://www.napierheritage.org.uk/spip.php?article100460&id_document=100609#documents_portfolio

 

The style of your chassis is reminisant of that seen in many charabanc photos, such as this one: Napier charabanc 1923, Wells, Somerset BA5

 

Worth checking if the Napier Trust have chassis records or other information that would help with a positive ID.

 

Whatever it may have been, there's certainly a challenge ahead. Best wishes.

 

Hi Runflat,

if I've understood it correctly (and bear in mind I am a complete beginner with anything of this period) the larger weight categories had the more intricate style of wheels as you describe, but the 1.5 tonners seem to have had the six spoke front/eight spoke rear very plain style as per Tim's photo, which appears to be a B62 like mine. Also, a nice rear view of a couple in Bart Vanderveen's pre 1940 Directory, on page 193. I would love to see a larger version of that picture, as it's the only rear view in full military spec I have seen!

Thanks for the link to the flickr photo, I have seen that before (couldn't remember where!), it has the WD style chassis hooks, and just about all the charabanc photos I've seen also seem to have the hooks and WD spec brush guard. Most of these photos seem to have been taken in the 1920s, my best guess is that these were built on War surplus lorries?

Just a guess though!

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Not proved wrong Alan. I just happen to have found the one photo which is different from the norm. All the other ones i have seen have the Y spoked wheels as opposed to the round spoked wheels. It does seem that they swap them around a lot just to keep us on our toes. No one has really written a history of these things. I think that is for us to do together through HMVF.

 

Tim

 

Tim/Alan,

sorry, took me so long to type my reply there were extra posts!

 

Alan, I echo Tim's comment, your'e certainly not proved wrong. They aren't the best documented lorry the WD had,so research will take me some time. I am experiencing a huge learning curve since November with Napiers in particular, but Great War lorries generally. I'm the new kid on the block here, and I really do value your thoughts/opinions/theories/knowledge. Its all a great help, please carry on!

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Napier3a.jpg

 

I think this is the same sort of Napier as Mark has. It does also have the hooks on the front of the dumb irons which suggests to me that it is an ASC wagon. As you say it does have the less common round spoked wheels which did feature on some of the military lorrys. I cant make out the hub on Marks one to make a comparisson though. Any chance of another photos Mark?

 

Hi Tim,

yes, it is the same as mine. From what I have learnt so far I think it is either a B62 or B72 (I'm not sure which of the two mine is, and embarassingly I don't know what the difference is yet!). I will dig through my pics and post a few more later today, particularly the hubs.

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Not proved wrong Alan. I just happen to have found the one photo which is different from the norm. All the other ones i have seen have the Y spoked wheels as opposed to the round spoked wheels. It does seem that they swap them around a lot just to keep us on our toes. No one has really written a history of these things. I think that is for us to do together through HMVF.

 

Tim

 

I've been wondering for a while now if there is any right or wrong! Everytime I think I've got a handle on it, something else crops up to alter the playing field yet again. I suspect Mark is right in that the 30-cwt had the wheels shown in his and Tim's pics and the 3-tonner had the Y-spoke wheels.

 

348 Coy ASC, as per Tim's pic were, it seems predominantly a Home Front company, although worked as 42 Division Ammunition Park on the Western Front. The lorry in Tim's photo is certainly a Home Front one and I'm not aware of Ammunition Parks using 30-cwts, although they may have had some a stores lorries. Napiers weren't as common as some on the Western Front and so far I have only found 1 reference to a 30-cwt Napier, and that contradicts the use of 30-cwts by Ammunition Parks, as it was supplied by 371 Coy ASC - 3 Army Troops Supply Column to 48 Division Supply Column for providing supplies to 50 Siege Brigade, though that is more likely to be general supplies, not ammunition.

 

As for a written history, are we talking napier or WD lorries in general. If WD lorries, I doubt it is possible, at least not until a couple of more forests have grown, and I doubt there's a market for a book of several thousand pages. It will certainly have to be several books narrowed down to specific areas I think.

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There is one great benefit here - basically it isn't scrapped and is stored for the future, whatever happens.

 

When I was a lad I passed by a whole pile of stuff that I knew I couldn't restore or would never get round to, and now it has all been melted down I'm sure.

 

Last ten years or so if I run across anything unique that really should NOT be melted, regardless of condition, I've managed to find time and money to grab it and get it under cover, or pass it on to someone who could - at a last resort via fora like this one.

 

 

There would have been a really good case for buying this, cleaning and conserving it, and just keeping it stored somewhere even if it is another hundred years before someone can get it all back together - well done.

 

Gordon

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Gordon far be it for me to throw the cat among the pidgeons but I have an image of a full page Feb 1916 Australian Advert. (Brit. image content) for a W^D Napier which has identical running gear to your new acquisition and clearly on the side is the signage "LOAD NOT TO EXCEED 3 TONS" .....trust that helps.....Regards....rod

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Oooh, it's not mine Rod, I'm not that brave.

 

It belongs to G506 - I think Mark.

 

Gordon

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Thanks for the correction mate, just testing you.....seriously a late night entry with a minor inaccuracy....will pay more attention next time....either way the info remains topical and it is off to the sack for some well earned ZZZZZsss. Regards

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I've been wondering for a while now if there is any right or wrong! Everytime I think I've got a handle on it, something else crops up to alter the playing field yet again. I suspect Mark is right in that the 30-cwt had the wheels shown in his and Tim's pics and the 3-tonner had the Y-spoke wheels.

 

348 Coy ASC, as per Tim's pic were, it seems predominantly a Home Front company, although worked as 42 Division Ammunition Park on the Western Front. The lorry in Tim's photo is certainly a Home Front one and I'm not aware of Ammunition Parks using 30-cwts, although they may have had some a stores lorries. Napiers weren't as common as some on the Western Front and so far I have only found 1 reference to a 30-cwt Napier, and that contradicts the use of 30-cwts by Ammunition Parks, as it was supplied by 371 Coy ASC - 3 Army Troops Supply Column to 48 Division Supply Column for providing supplies to 50 Siege Brigade, though that is more likely to be general supplies, not ammunition.

 

As for a written history, are we talking napier or WD lorries in general. If WD lorries, I doubt it is possible, at least not until a couple of more forests have grown, and I doubt there's a market for a book of several thousand pages. It will certainly have to be several books narrowed down to specific areas I think.

 

Hi Roy,

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of knowledge that members of this forum hold!

Thanks for your reply. Your comment reference Napiers being uncommon makes sense, Bart Vanderveen quotes only 400 of the 30cwt types in use by the WD in WW1, from what I have heard thats fairly low numbers. I've also heard that Napier's total WW1 production only amounted to around 2000 vehicles, this figure comprising a few light trucks, many ambulances, 400 B62/B72, but mostly in the 3 - 4 ton range.

There are a few Napier books around, but in those I have seen the production of lorries in WW1 seems the poor relation.

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