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Corgi 1:50 Leyland 8 Wheeled Rigid Truck w/Covered Load: J & A Smith Of Maddiston

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Corgi 1:50  Leyland 8 Wheeled Rigid Truck  w/Covered Load: J & A Smith Of Maddiston

Corgi 1:50 Leyland 8 Wheeled Rigid Truck w/Covered Load: J & A Smith Of Maddiston

This rare model was produced by corgi in 1995

Leyland Motors Limited (later known as the Leyland Motor Corporation) was a British vehicle manufacturer of lorries, buses and trolleybuses. The company diversified into car manufacturing with its acquisitions of Triumph and Rover in 1960 and 1967, respectively. It gave its name to the British Leyland Motor Corporation, formed when it merged with British Motor Holdings in 1968, to become British Leyland after being nationalised. British Leyland later changed its name to simply BL, then in 1986 to Rover Group.

After the various vehicle manufacturing businesses of BL and its successors went defunct or were divested, the following marques survived: Jaguar and Land Rover, now built by Jaguar Land Rover; MG, now built by MG Motor, and Mini, now built by BMW. The truck building operation survived largely intact as Leyland Trucks, a subsidiary of Paccar.

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 powered lawn mowers. 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. By 1905 they had also begun to build petrol-engined wagons. The Lancashire Steam Motor Company was renamed Leyland Motors in 1907 when it took over Coulthards of Preston, who had been making steam wagons since 1897. They also built a second factory in the neighbouring town of Chorley which still remains today as the headquarters of the Lex Autolease and parts company.

In 1920, Leyland Motors produced the Leyland Eight 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 the car overturned. Rumours that a chain drive broke were found to be incorrect when the car was disinterred late in the 20th century as the chains were intact. At the other extreme, they also produced the Trojan Utility Car in the Kingston upon Thames factory at Ham from 1922 to 1928.

For the best part of 50 years, brothers James and Alexander Smith provided one of the most efficient road transport services in the UK. CM looks back at a firm that could easily be described as the Stobart of the 60s

Words: John Henderson Images: Murray Smith Back in the mid-1960s there was no such organisation as the Stobart Group, but the name Smith was familiar to almost everyone connected to or interested in road haulage. In its heyday, J&A Smith of Maddiston employed around 1,000 staff, owned 10 separate companies, while running 450 lorries and 600 trailers. A network of strategically placed depots across the UK was also complemented by premises across the channel in Belgium. The Scottish company’s signature maroon, cream and red livery was instantly recognisable and, in addition to pioneering several vehicle technology advances, almost every lorry was fitted with an illuminated headboard emblazoned with the words “Smith for Service”. Even though J&A Smith did not give girls’ names to each motor, there are a number of distinct similarities between this operator and the massed ranks of Eddies around today. It is recorded that, as a youngster, Edward Stobart was part inspired by the vehicle presentation of several Scottish operators who regularly plied up and down the old A6 trunk route, and it’s a fair bet that J&A Smith’s fleet was among that illustrious group.

The J&A Smith story began back in 1931 when a young James Smith persuaded his father to part with £75 at a Glasgow market and head home with a second-hand Bedford four wheeler. This lorry was immediately put to work on local coal deliveries throughout the day and evening, with father James and his sons James and Alexander working continuously in shifts until they were able to purchase another Bedford. J&A Smith’s first garage was a corrugated steel sheeting affair, built over the entrance to Maddiston’s haugh, and the structure was duly extended as the fleet slowly expanded. This corner of Scotland has always been a close-knit community, so with every cargo transported, J&A Smith ensured that its word was its bond. This dedication to duty formed the foundations of the family’s reputation for excellent service. The solid fuel distribution connection would last for quite a few years, but it wasn’t long before the trio started general hire and reward work. A contract was won with R&A Main’s foundry in nearby Falkirk that saw J&A Smith deliver the firm’s new gas cookers. Often as not these domestic appliances were moved after the coal runs were completed at 10pm, with Aberdeen and Newcastle frequent destinations. The return loads of fish from the Granite City to the west of Scotland markets sparked the idea of regular trunk services in James Smith junior’s head.

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