Dellow Myths

 

One of the most common of all myths is that Dellows were kit cars.

It is true that you could buy a frame or even complete car less the running gear, and price lists of the time show these as available parts. however the factory records show only a small number of chassis sold this way. Apart from the first pre-production specials which were almost exclusively put together for local club members, the cars made by Dellow Motors were true production cars.

 

Another common myth published by quite respected writers of the recent past is that fibreglass was used as a body material, especially on the MkVI.

Neither Dellow Motors nor Dellow Engineering used this material on any of their cars, all cars had a light aluminium alloy body produced by Radpanels although some of the later cars produced by Dellow Engineering were bodied by Suttons – ‘Oldbury Wing and Panel Company’ but still in aluminium.

 

Here’s a myth which turned out to be true!

The story is that a small fleet of MkII Dellows was bought by a large firm of agricultural implement manufacturers whose salesmen had to cover some really rural terrain.

The Company in question was Fords (Finsbury) Ltd. of Chantry Avenue, Bedford. Fords was a maker of milk bottling equipment, putting those foil caps on the bottles, which were installed in small farm dairies. Their advertising literature of the time was headed “The Fellow in the Dellow“.

In the advertisement, potential and existing customers were invited to write or call for a desk blotter.

Fords purchased four cars with similar though not quite consecutive numbers: KTM 120, KTM 191, KTM 371 & KTM 372. Amazingly all four cars survive.

Here they are in a publicity shot in 1952 near Bedford – ( you can tell from the chimneys in the background – a well known landmark for the brick industry centred here ). Unfortunately we don’t know who the Drivers were. If you know or if you recognise yourself, please tell me.
Well somebody did know! and after a flurry of e-mails with current and ex employees of Fords, three of the drivers have been identified as, from left to right, Greg Mettam, Pat Collings and Len Marvin, the last driver is still to be identified.

Stephen Ford has contacted us with the news that the fourth driver was his father, Mr. Peter C. Ford, Sales Director for Fords and son of the company’s founder, Lawrence Ford.

Stephen says his father had a great love for cars, owning a Healey and an Allard, so maybe it was Peter who chose the Dellows for the Company.

All four cars were supplied to Fords by A.W.Watkins Ltd. of Biggleswade. As far as we can tell, these were the only Dellows sold by Watkins.

If any of the staff at Watkins can remember this sale which in an austere 1952 must have been quite newsworthy, please let us know.

Here are the cars again this time lined up outside of the works prior to delivery.

 

 

You must have seen it written that:-

“Dellows were made from war surplus rocket tubes and the electrical conduit from bomb damaged buildings”

Well, surprisingly part of this is true! and part is nonsense!

Even with the skills of Lionel Evans, I doubt he would be very happy trying to form curves and straight tubing runs out of burnt and twisted steel conduit. Far more likely that he would have bought brand new steel ERW tubing and not electrical conduit.

The second part about the rocket tubes is true, the chassis was made from surplus rocket bodies from the UP3 and RP3 rockets developed in WW2. This explains why there is a join in the main chassis strakes and odd holes in the tubes. The rocket bodies were 55″ long and the holes are where the stabilising fins were bolted on.

 

Here are the RP3 air to ground versions installed on a Bristol Beaufighter. The UP3 was a ground to air weapon.