1959 Austin FE Series III Flatbed Truck Registration no. OHH 232 Chassis no. 5KFED3/73200
Austin produced commercial vehicles in small numbers prior to WWI but thereafter concentrated on the production of car-based light vans. It was not until 1938 that a serious attempt was made to enter the market for larger commercial vehicles, commencing with a range of vans and lorries with payloads ranging from 30cwt to 5 tons. The amalgamation of Austin and Morris in 1952 to form the British Motor Corporation (BMC) resulted in some rationalisation of the two commercial vehicle ranges, though at first both companies continued offering their own models. It also led to Austin and Morris badges appearing on otherwise almost identical models, including the Morris-designed forward control FE, which had first appeared in FV form in 1948. The FV Series II of 1954 featured an improved cab design and came with either an upright grille (Morris) or horizontal grille (Austin) though when the revised Series III arrived in March 1955 even this styling distinction had disappeared. Versions with 'Austin', 'Morris' or 'BMC' badges were offered.
This Austin-badged FE Series III flatbed truck was first registered in Carlisle on 17th July 1959 and sold new to Messrs A Murray & Charlton Ltd of West Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who then sold it to Messrs Haults Ltd of Castle Street, Carlisle. A removals firm, Haults boxed-in the rear of the FE, which was one of a small number of this model that they owned. After ten-or-so years in service, Haults' FE fleet was sold to a local scrap dealer who decided to construct one good example ('OHH 232') using the best of the available components. 'OHH 232' was then sold to market gardener Mr Eric Bolt who used the vehicle for approximately two years before laying it up in 1971. Some years later the FE was bought and restored to its present condition by a Mr T Kettle of Newcastle-upon- Tyne, who in September 2002 sold it to the previous owner, Mr S C Scowen. The current owner acquired 'OHH 232' in May 2007.
Described by the vendor as in generally good condition, apart from some disconnected instruments, 'OHH 232' is 7' 5" wide, 23' 6" long and is powered by a 5.1-litre, six-cylinder engine. Accompanying documentation consists of a Swansea V5C and Ministry of Transport Plating certificate. No MoT certificate is required and the vehicle is currently licensed (25-year tax-exempt).