FODEN Trucks and Buses Sandbach, Cheshire, England Part I till 1950
Edwin Foden, Sons & Co.
Edwin Foden (1841-1911) who lends his name to Foden’s Motor Works Band too
1930 Foden steam lorry
1959 Foden S20 dropside
Foden S21 tractor unit – DAX6/32 6×2 Twin Steer Tractive Unit, JDN 672E
1967 Foden S36 flatbed
In 1856 Edwin Foden (1841–1911) became apprenticed to the agricultural equipment manufacturing company of Plant & Hancock. He left the company for an apprenticeship at Crewe Railway Works but returned to Plant & Hancock at the age of 19. Shortly afterwards he became a partner in the company. On the retirement of George Hancock in 1887 the company was renamed Edwin Foden Sons & Co. Ltd. The company produced massive industrial engines, as well as small stationary steam engines and, from 1880, agricultural traction engines.
Experimental steam lorries were first produced shortly after the turn of the 20th century. In 1878, the legislation affecting agricultural use was eased and as a result, Foden produced a successful range of agricultural traction engines. The perfecting of the compound traction engine in 1887 gave a significant marketing advantage and later proved invaluable to the development of the steam lorry.
In 1896 the restrictions affecting road transport were eased, which permitted vehicles under 3 tons to travel at up to 12 mph (19 km/h) without a red flag. The time was right and Foden produced a series of four prototype wagons. The experience gained from this, enabled Foden to build a 3 ton wagon for the War Office 1901 self-propelled lorry trial.
This design was consistently faster and more economical over the arduous road trials but was placed second overall as it was claimed that the Thornycroft entry had better off-road performance. Foden’s wagon was nevertheless regarded by most commentators as a clear winner (the result was questioned in Parliament by Crewe’s MP. This model was the basis for a highly successful line of vehicles which were produced over the next 30 years. The great majority of Foden steam lorries were overtype, but undertypes were also produced, including the unsuccessful E-type and the O-type “Speed-6″ and “Speed-12″, which was a much more modern vehicle.
By 1930 Edwin’s son, Edwin Richard, (1870–1950) (known to everyone as simply E.R.) could see the future lay in diesel power. In late 1932 he resigned from the Board of Directors, following several years of bitter wranglings, and subsequently retired; he was 62 and ready for retirement, having spent his entire working life at Foden’s. His son Dennis could not afford to resign, but was not prepared to let things ride; however, with financial input from across the immediate family a new company was set up to design and produce diesel lorries. George Faulkener, related to Dennis by marriage, became Works Manager and Ernest Sherratt, both ex-Foden employees, helped to design a new diesel wagon. Edwin Richard Foden was persuaded to come out of retirement and head the new company which became known as ERF.
In 1932, however, Foden finally realised that the future was diesel, and changed their production almost immediately, though the production of steam vehicles continued in diminishing numbers until 1934.
Post-war initially saw the re-introduction of the old models with few improvements, though Foden entered the bus chassis market in 1946 (a number of prototypes, including a double-decker had been built in the 1930s) by 1950 they had developed a rear-engined model, predating Leyland’s Atlantean model by 7 years. Although the Foden PVR was a high-framed single decker, the cruciform chassis bracing Foden used made an underfloor engine location as in the competitive AEC Regal IV, Leyland Royal Tiger or Daimler Freeline a non-starter. The completely new FE and FG lorry ranges were introduced in 1948, along with the new Foden FD6 two-stroke diesel engine, which became the standard engine for certain Foden heavy lorry models, such as the S18 FE6/15 Rigid Eight-Wheeler – the optional Gardner 6LW-engined version was the S18 FG6/15. (The S18 designation refers to the new cab that was produced for the new range.) The FD6 two-stroke engine, along with Gardner engines, was also fitted in Foden motorcoaches and buses. Only one Foden PVD double decker had the Foden Engine but it was popular in the PVS and PVR single-deckers, especially in coaching applications because it was a much higher revving than the Gardner 5LW or 6LW. Bus and coach production ceased in 1956 but the last chassis only left the works in 1959 when it was registered 367CKA and received an early Plaxton Panorama body.
1958 saw the introduction of lightweight glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) used in cab production and this led to the manufacture of the first British-built, mass-produced tilting cab in 1962. The first Foden GRP cab was the distinctively-styled S21 model. The S21 was initially nicknamed both “Spaceship” and “Sputnik” by the commercial vehicle press, although it was briefly known as the “Sabrina” in the early 1960s, while other people gave it the “Mickey Mouse” nickname. The more traditional metal-and-wood S20 cab, introduced in 1956, was still fitted to many Foden lorries until at least 1963, after which it was just fitted to special vehicles until 1968. The aforementioned GRP tilt cab, introduced in 1962, was designated S24 – the Sabrina nickname returned, because the S24 and the later versions S34, S36 and S39 are all collectively known as “Sabrina”, and this time the name has stuck:-
S21 Cab production continued until 1969.
The Foden Family, outside the Elworth factory, c.1961. From L to R. (1) James Edwin Foden, son of William Foden. (2) William Foden, son of the founder Edwin Foden. (3) Reginal Gordon Foden, son of William Foden. (4) David Colville Foden, son of James Edwin Foden. (5) Hugh Foden, son of David Colville Foden. The vehicle is the “Pride of Edwin” a 5 ton Compound engined that now held by the The Science Museum intheir Wroughton store.
In 1964, a change in the Construction & Use Regulations favoured articulated vehicles over the older rigid designs and a new model was introduced to compete in the 32 ton market. More than 75% of heavy chassis sold in Britain in the following years were tractor units.
A massive new production facility was developed in the early 1970s on a green field site, adjacent to the Foden works. A combination of this expenditure and the economic downturn of the period saw Foden’s run into financial difficulty in December 1974. It was given support by Harold Wilson’s Labour government. Foden’s struggled as its home market continued to be depressed. It was 1977–78 before Foden returned to reasonable profitability. Large MOD contracts to supply military vehicles helped with this recovery.
After a period in receivership in 1980 the company was acquired by the American firm PACCAR, and is now a division of that company. After the takeover of Leyland Trucks by PACCAR in 1998, independent Foden production ceased, and was replaced by models of DAF Trucks rebadged as Fodens (DAF Trucks having been acquired by PACCAR in 1996). These vehicles have had the option of either CAT, Detroit Diesel, or Cummins ISMe engines.
2004 Foden Alpha 3000
In 2005, it was announced by PACCAR that Foden production was likely to cease in 2006. The reason given was that Foden production would be terminated to release manufacturing capacity at Leyland Trucks to allow for increased volume of DAF brand trucks.
The last Foden was produced in July 2006, putting an end to 150 years of Foden truck manufacturing. The final vehicle to roll off the production line at the factory in Leyland was an 8×4 rigid, which was delivered to the nearby British Commercial Vehicle Museum.
1918 FODEN 1
1918 Foden 5t steam dump truck
1927 Foden Steam Lorry
1928 Foden Steam Car
1928 Foden’s Steamtruck
1930 Foden A20 Steam truck Australië
1931 Foden’s Steamtrucks
1934 Foden DG Dropside Recovery Truck Engine Gardner Diesel Registration 773 BRE
1938 Foden DGS-7 Flatbed Engine Gardner Diesel Registration CED 198
1941 Foden DG6-12, 6×6
1944 Foden Jan
1946 Foden DG Granit Truck
1946 FODEN DG © Dave Strickland
1946 foden mobile crane
1946 Foden Removal truck
1946 Foden Timber Tractor Powered by a Gardner Diesel Registration HGP 730
1947 foden-morgan Len Rogers Collection
1947 foden-s-type Ian Hardy
Till here the Trucks from Foden till 1950
Time for the Buses
1918 Foden Steam bus 1
1930 Foden Buses COBHAM
1934 Foden Wheildons Uttoxeter
1946 Foden PSVs
1947 Foden bus advert
1947 Foden bus advert
1947 Foden bus MTU296
1947 Foden Bus
1948 Foden PVD6 Claire Pendrous
1949 burlingham foden coach AWG590
1949 burlingham foden coach cooke’s MPL499
1949 Foden Coach LMA284
1949 Foden dd OED217
1949 Foden PSV LMA284
1949 Foden Coach Hotel
1949 Foden coach, Lytham Hall, 160
1949 Foden Philips fdm724 bus
1949 Foden Sandbach MTU296
1949 Ledgard Foden MUA866
1950 Foden coach with Wadham Bros. coachwork, registration number KMB 95
The end off part I