Buses and more FODEN Sandbach, Cheshire, England Part I till 1950

FODEN Trucks and Buses Sandbach, Cheshire, England Part I till 1950

Edwin Foden, Sons & Co.


Foden logo

002 Edwin_Foden_1841-1911

Edwin Foden (1841-1911) who lends his name to Foden’s Motor Works Band too

Foden Trucks was a British truck and bus manufacturing company which has its origins in Sandbach, Cheshire in 1856. PACCAR acquired the company in 1980, and ceased to use the marque name in 2006.


003 Foden_5_ton_steam_lorry_registration_WX_2682

1930 Foden steam lorry

004 Foden_1959_S20_dropside_lorry_reg_LSU_891

1959 Foden S20 dropside

005 Foden_heavy_truck_unit_with_Gardner_150_engine

Foden S21 tractor unit – DAX6/32 6×2 Twin Steer Tractive Unit, JDN 672E

006 Foden_S36_flatbed_(1967)_reg_LTO_766E

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.

007 Foden-familyFamily Foden

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 CATDetroit Diesel, or Cummins ISMe engines.

Marque retirement

008 Foden_Alpha_3000_2004

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.


1917 foden-6-nhp-9-ton


1914 foden-wagon-4-nhp-5-ton


1918 FODEN 1


1918 FODEN


1918 Foden 5t steam dump truck


1918 foden-7-nhp-10-ton


1918 foden-steam-bus-4-nhp-4-ton




1919 foden-7-nhp-10-ton


1921 foden-wagon-5-ton


1926 foden-6-nhp-9-ton


1926 foden-wagon-5-ton


1926 foden-wagon-4-nhp-5-ton


1927 Foden Steam Lorry


1927 foden-wagon-5-ton


1928 Foden Steam Car


1928 Foden’s Steamtruck

Foden 4nhp 6-ton C-type Wagon

1929 foden-tractor-4-nhp-6-ton


1929 foden-wagon-5-ton


1929 foden-wagon-5-ton


1930 Foden A20 Steam truck Australië


1931 Foden’s Steamtrucks


1931 foden-tractor-4-nhp-6-ton




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


1944 Foden


1945 FODEN


1945 foden-dg


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


1946 foden-dg


1946 foden-dg


1946 foden-dg

1946 Foden DG6/S20 Recovery Truck

1946 foden-dg


1946 foden-dg




1946 foden-dg


1946 foden-dg


1946 foden-f1-diesel-flat-bed

Foden F1 diesel lorry, 1931

1946 foden-f1-diesel-flat-bed


1946 Foden’s


1946 foden-stg


1946 foden-s-type


1947 foden-morgan Len Rogers Collection


1947 foden-s-type Ian Hardy


1949 Foden


1950 Trucks


Till here the Trucks from Foden till 1950


Time for the Buses


1918 Foden Steam bus 1


1918 FODEN


1918 Foden-steam-bus


1918 foden-steam-bus-4-nhp-4-ton


1922 foden-steam-bus-4-nhp-4-ton


1930 Foden Buses COBHAM


1934 Foden Wheildons Uttoxeter


1946 Foden PSVs


1946 foden-pvsc


1947 Foden bus advert


1947 Foden bus advert


1947 Foden bus MTU296


1947 Foden Bus


1948 Foden


1948 Foden PVD6 Claire Pendrous


1948 FODEN


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

Filed Under: AECBurlinghamCATCumminsDAFDetroit DieselEnglandERFFODEN,LeylandPACCARThornycroftWadham Bros

Author: Jeroen

In Dutch, my homelanguage: Ik ben Jeroen, tot januari 2015 was ik al dik 26 jaar werkzaam in een psychiatrisch ziekenhuis in een stad vlakbij Werelds grootste havenstad Rotterdam. Eerst als verpleegkundige/begeleider op high care, later op afdeling dubbeldiagnose (verslavingen) en ook nog een tijdje als administratief medewerker. Ik heb een spierziekte "Poli Myositis" (alle spieren zijn ontstoken) daardoor weinig energie. Sinds augustus 2015 is daarbij de diagnose Kanker gesteld, en ben ik helemaal arbeidsongeschikt geworden en zit middenin de behandelfase. Gelukkig ben ik daarnaast getrouwd, vader, en opa, en heb de nodige hobby's. Een daarvan is transportmiddelen verzamelen en daarmee een blog schrijven. Dit blog begon met bussen, maar nu komen ook sleepboten, auto's trucks en dergelijke aan bod. Kijk en geniet met me mee, reageer, en vul gerust aan. Fouten zal ik ook graag verbeteren. In English: I'm Jeroen, till januari 2015 I was already 26 years working as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital, near Rotterdam, Worlds biggest harbour with more than 98 nationalities living within it's borders. First I worked on closed high care ward and the last years on a ward with mainly addicted people. I liked my work very much. In 2007 I got ill. I got the diagnose Poli Myositis, a musscle dissease. Al my mussles are inflamed. And last august I got another diagnose. Cancer. It's plaveicelcel carcinoma and treated with Chemo and radioation. So I've even less energy than the last years. Still I try to make something of my life and the blog is helping with surviving with some pleasure.

3 thoughts on “Buses and more FODEN Sandbach, Cheshire, England Part I till 1950”

  1. Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up.

    The text in your content seem to be running off the screen in Chrome.
    I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know.
    The style and design look great though! Hope you get the issue resolved soon. Cheers


  2. Thanks for finally writing about >Buses and more FODEN Sandbach,
    Cheshire, England Part I till 1950 | Myn Transport Blog <Loved it!


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