Preserved 1934 Thornycroft Handy dropside lorry
- For the shipbuilder, see John I. Thornycroft & Company, for other uses, see Thornycroft (disambiguation)
Thornycroft started out with steam vans and lorries. John Isaac Thornycroft, the naval engineer, built his first steam lorry in 1896. Thornycroft’s first petrolvehicle was built in 1902 and the company completed the move into internal combustion engine power in 1907.
1902 Steam-Powered Thornycroft Bus
Thereafter the vehicle building firm and the marine side (later to become Vosper Thornycroft) were separate companies.
1904 Thornycroft 4 seater bs8239
From 1931, Thornycroft used names for their vehicle range – descriptive and colourful ones.
1904 Thornycroft 4 seater gaydoncar
In 1948, the company name was changed to Transport Equipment (Thornycroft) Ltd to prevent confusion with the shipbuilding Thornycroft company. The company was well known for providing fire-engine chassis, with multi-axle drive for uses such as airports.
1905 24 hp Thornycroft Bus at Five Ways, Birmingham
They were taken over in 1961 by AEC parent Associated Commercial Vehicles Ltd, and production was limited to Nubians, Big Bens and Antars, although the Thornycroft-designed six-speed constant mesh gearbox was used in AEC and later medium weight Leyland and Albion trucks. ACV was then taken over by Leyland in 1962. They already had a specialist vehicle unit in Scammell, another manufacturer of large haulage vehicles. Thornycroft’s Basingstoke factory was closed in 1969 and specialist vehicles transferred to Scammell at Watford. The factory continued as an engineering works until the late 1980s when it was demolished to make way for a supermarket. The Milestones Museum is located a few hundred yards from the original site in Basingstoke and houses a collection of Thornycroft vehicles and other exhibits, mainly transport related.
Today, the Thornycroft name is used by a builder of marine diesel engines for private and light commercial use, the engines being based around small-capacity engines designed by Mitsubishi. Despite Thornycroft being effectively closed down by Leyland, the operation’s parent company is now the main provider of spare parts for Leyland-built marine diesels, which for many years were highly popular for use in canal barges and narrowboats (now a market making increasing use of modern-day Thornycroft engines).
Bus and Coach
1910 Thornycroft landaulette caronrun
1919 THORNYCROFT BUS – BEAMISH TRAMWAYS Dodson Carr.
- “Type J” 40 hp, 1913
- “Type K” 30 hp, 1913
- Hathi, 1924
- 1919 Thornycroft Type J Replica Charabanc
- four-wheel drive artillery tractor for the army
- A1 RSW / A3 RSW, an off-road capable rigid six-wheeler to an army specification, 1926
- QC / Dreadnought, 1930
- 1919 THORNYCROFT BUS – BEAMISH TRAMWAYS
- 12 ton rigid six-wheel chassis.
- Sturdy – 5/6 tonner
- Trusty – 8 ton forward control 4 wheeler
- Tartar 3-ton 6×4, both civilian & military versions and production (3,000 – 4,000) between 1938 and 1945.
- (see Thornycroft Bison for an unusual variant)
- Iron Duke
- Jupiter – 6.5 ton
- Big Ben
- 3-ton vehicle
- Available as 4 x 4, 6 x 4, 6 x 6
- 6 x 4 pipeline and tank transporter
1919 Thornycroft Works