Wednesday, 28 January 2009

"Bowie" as used in the Film "Absolute Beginners" Apparently Alan "Fluff" Freeman (you may remember him from his days on Radio 1) stood on top of him in the film, to capture on Newsreel a riot. Anyhow this is Granville's new playmate

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Appeal for Information.- North Western Gas Board

I will be restoring Granville to be (as far as I can) a replica of the van that my Father used to drive (that'll suprise my Mother) so he will be in Th North Western Gas Board colours of Red with Black Wings,and a Cream Oval with the Legend North Western Gas Board Gas and Coke Service,together with Decals of "Mr Therm"..if anyone has more info, fleet numbers etc, particulary with regards to Clitheroe and the vans that came out of there, I would be grateful.
salsaalegria at
I'm still looking for some parts,and have a few others,so do get in touch if you have these...Drivers Seat and Plinth, Steering Wheel, Front Grill, just let me know what you have! salsaalegria at

Saturday, 24 January 2009

"Granville"s Restoration

I always thought that I was the only person in the world to have fond memories of these J type vans...the happiest days of my life were sitting on my Father's knee whilst he let me "drive" his J type Gas board van into Clitheroe Gasworks next to where we used to live!
I never thought that I would be able to afford one,especially with the prices people were asking at Classic Car shows and on auction sites...then on an auction site, I found Granville (explanation of name to follow) he had been in a hedge for around 15 years,and stood in a field for another 5.

When I found him,he had his very own tree growing through him...I had to have him! I got hold of Andy, a freind who is excellent at restorations,and asked him to have a look at Granville,just to make sure that I wasn't Hypnotising myself as to condition,and he said it was worth doing...just, so some folding paper passes hands and Granville was mine!

We set about stripping him down to send to the Sandblasters,and off he went. (boy those B series engines are heavy!) a few days later and he was ready.

Unfortunatley the Sandblaster hadn't put a cross brace in at the back for me as he promised,and as it was a few weeks before I could arrange to take him to his new temporary home,he had sagged,especially as he wasn't happy being moved by a forklift (my fault for not getting there sooner).

I enlisted the help of a friend with a trailer (i now have my own) to bring him to his new temporary residence,and at times, he looked like his flapping panels would help him fly off his trailer although great care was taken to transport him.

Whilst doing some work on Granville,the legend "Dianas Dampwash 197 GRANVILLE Rd London Nw2 was unearthed under some of the paint with a Speedwell telephone number (Speedwell...I had to chuckle) and that is how his name came about,and with some Detective work we found out when the area codes were used and changed etc so gave us a rough date for the business which is basically Laundry.

I ordered new panels from Iain McKenzie and work started.

My quest for spares etc has led me to meet some nice people,and I had the pleasure to meet Roly at the aquisition of a new playmate for Granville.."Bowie" (this van was used in the film Absolute beginners) although his name may be changed soon.