Ford Model 'A' Lorry

December 24th 1964, Tipping Coal in the coal 'ole in a street in Old Hill. (Photo by Ron Moss)

My Father Arthur Bingham bought this 1932 (DH 9132) Ford Model 'A' 30 CWT coal truck in 1965 off Mr Horace Harper who was a self-employed coalman from Bagley Street, Stambermill, Stourbridge.

I remember, I was 11 when I was stood in the weighbridge office at F.C.Brown with my Grandad and Dad having a cup of tea, when around 4.30pm on a Friday Horace

Harper drove the Ford truck over the weighbridge for the last time before he finaly retired at 65. The truck was weighed and money changed hands for scrap value, Horace then drove the truck inside the breaking pen ready to be crushed Monday Morning. This breaking pen was where we used to break machinery up by lifting a massive two ton ball up in the air and dropping it from a bloody great hight !

After a night's sleep my dad went in to work the next day on Saturday Morning, Have thought about this truck all night, he decieded to keep it, even thou it was in a right broken down state at the time due to it being overworked 6 days a week since 1932

So after getting the truck started he drove it around the back and sheeted her up to keep the weather off it.

The two B.& W photo's you see were taken by Ron Moss back in December 24th 1964

Taken outside his house in Old Hill, The Ford truck was tipping coal on the pavement

ready to be shoveled down the "Coal Ole" Note the odd headlights, the batterd front wings, plus the bald offside front tyre, you would not get away with that these day's ! 

After five year's went by, Arthur got around to unsheeting the lorry, the plan was to restore the vehicle to use on the road.

Arthur spent around two years doing the rebuild, the Ford ended up being painted in

Red with Black wings, he got the truck on the road again at spring time of 1973.

The Ford attended many local Carnivals, and vintage shows, only to be put back into storage five years later. here it stood for many years in storage.

In 1997 I decieded it was time that the old truck saw the light of day again.

After spending most of the day moving everthing from around the Ford we towed it around to the front of the building using the forklift.

It was then decieded that a complete rebuild was nessary, so I set about stripping back the old paint, to find lot's of problem's.

I removed the doors and stripped those down as well. 

I made up and formed two new step's,                         after cutting the old plates out of the wings I made new ones and welded those in place. This took month's to do, and to get right.

The Chassis was stripped down as well to check it all over and red oxide undercoat

was applied twice before a final top coat of black gloss. 

After checking all the brake's over and replacing some of the clevis pin's in the rod brake's, I started filling the body and spent around two months getting the right shape  

The Yellow you see on the doors is that thick primer filler which I sprayed in the workshop, then blocked down each door to get the right shape, after bolting the doors back on, they look better now.

So, it was time to spray the whole cab with the primer filler, this hides any small imperfections that might not be quite right on the body but you have to give it a week to dry as it is so thick. Then spend a week of days blocking it down using 400 wet & dry paper untill it's all smooth and level.

After spraying the cab with 4 coats of grey primer and blocking down after, it was time for the top coat of paint, again I was spraying this in celliose paint.

The original colour of this truck was Burgandi but I liked the same paint colour as the Morris, plus it would look like our fleet colours. So it was deceded to go with Middle Bruswick Green with Black wings and running boards.

After a week I started cutting the paintwork back, then bought in Dave Perk's of "Sign's and Symbols" from Stoubridge to do the lining out and to signwright the cab in the F.C.Brown livery.

Autum 1999. So there it was, finished,........ Or so I thought !

The Ford's first outing was a local show in Dudley that I help organise, called the

"Parkhead Canal Festival"  Both the truck's attended this show and they look great together.

2000. The Ford carries the Lye Carnival Queen.

In 2005 it was decieded that the engine should be in need of some attention. This was never done when the truck was restored back 1999 and never has been touched since we have owned the truck since 1965.

It's top speed at the time was only 30 MPH ! and would not pull the skin off a rice pudding ! The Cranksaft would rattle like it was about to fall out the bottom of the engine, Plus it would gollop petrol at the rate of 5 M.P.G. !, So I think it was overdue for a re-build. The engine size was 24.9 H.P. which in real terms is equivalent to 3.4 liters, which is not bad concidering it's only a 4 cylinder side valve engine.


After stripping the engine down I could clearly see all of the problems ?

The gudgin pin on number 3 cylinder had move to one side and put a 1/4 inch score down the bore, the big end white metal was so worn the crank was running on the steel of the con-rod's, which in turn worn them out as well ! I found sevral odd broken piston rings. The valve guides were worn that badly that I could see daylight down the side of the valve stem's ! plus the valves and seats were also worn very badly, I'm supprised the engine ran at all !

The engine was sent in bit's to S.E.P. Enginering at Kegworth. This firm specialised in building and machining vintage engines and are better than me at scraping the white metal into the bearings correctly.

Well, a month later I collected the engine, still in bit's and still in it's box, but this time all the parts were machined correctly.

The bores had been re-sleaved with new liners for standerd size pistons to fit . The crank had a 20 thou re-grind and new white metal bearings fitted plus new mains. The block was lined bored plus the top of the block skimmed untill level. The cylinder head was skimmed as well. The valve guides were replaced, plus new springs and new valves with new hardend seats to run on the unleaded fuel.

So, It was a new engine,.... In bit's..... In a box.

I spent a whole week putting this engine back together and fitting it back into the old truck chassis. The engine fired up first time, being carfull not to rev it up to much until it has been run in correctly. The following week was spent running the engine in for around 1,000 miles. Well I did not have time to just drive around for 1,000 miles.

So the truck was jacked up, with the rear wheel's off the ground, axle stands were put underneath for saftey, with the engine running, 4th gear was selected and the clutch let out, the rev's set at 1,000 R.P.M. The engine had a steady running in time. I did find it was getting rather hot sometimes, so a cold air fan was put in front of the radiator to blow air through.

During the next few years the Ford went to many Steam and Canal Events, now the engine has been sorted out I'm now brave enough to travel greater distance's, especialy now I'm getting better fuel consumption now at 15 M.P.G.

This photo was taken outside the old garage in the Black Country Living Museum.

Street conjestion in 1935 ? !........... ...Martin Attewell Photo.............BCLM.

Having a break in the Coal Yard. BCLM. Photo, Martin Attewell

Using the old Jones & Atterwoods hand crane, we unloaded the wooden packing cases from the Ford into the waiting Joey Boat.

During the Winter of 2009/2010 we decieded that the last job on this truck should be done, A new wooden tipping body made.

So after lifting the old body off, the metalwork was stripped off and saved. The rest of the body was burnt, just to get in out the way. Whilst the body was off, it gave me a chance to check the tipping mechanism, I found it very worn out indeed.

Malcolm Higgins Enginering, of The Hayes,  Lye, turned a brand new two star threaded shaft, whilst Boro' Foundary in Stourvale road, Lye. made the phospher bronze casting that lifted the body up and down on the thread. This tipping mechanism is worked by a large windlass that is fitted on the square shaft and is wound up manualy by the driver. I fitted a hard wood called Kepple to the base of the flat bed and normal Tounge and groove planking on the drop sides, I also made the rear of the body 6" longer than the old one, because When Arthur tided the wooden body up back in the 1970's he cut off 6" off the rear deck because it was so rotten.

The half moon steel mud guards were removed and steel spat's made up, If you look at the top photo you will see the original rear mud guards were spat's.

Dave Perk's came back again to line out and signwright the body to how you see it today.  

Just to finish the job off we made a ton of coal to go on the rear deck of the truck

just to show how it would have looked in 1932, with the price's of the coal painted on the sides of the truck.

Tipping coal at the mine........... Black Country Living Museum.......Martin Attewell photo

Tipping a load of Coal at Racecourse Colliery. BCLM. Photo Martin Attewell.

Another load of coal on the back.

A German General and his Wife pose in front of the truck at the 2012 Northern Forties event at Halfpenny Green Airport.

May 2012. Another Poser in his de-mob suit.......Northern Forties.

2012. Northern Forties, Haalfpenny Green Airport.

2017, Loading a boat at the Top of Parkhead Locks.