I found my Bradford in the market place in Naantali some time in 1968. The van was carrying some vegetables for an old man who used to sell them on the market.
Asked if he would sell the van, he told that he was not interested. I gave him my address and asked to contact me in the case he would some time sell the van.
I did this for several years, but no selling the Bradford – finally I gave up all hope and forgot the thing.
I had never heard the Jowett or Bradford and had no other interest in the van than the front wings with headlights on them and the relatively long bonnet – it looked like an old vehicle. Although it was not as old as I thought, just as old as I, born in the 1951.
In 1976 the old man contacted me and then I had to buy the van, although I did not have even a garage at that time. The first winter under my friend’s sailing boat’s stern, the following summer the van was moved to my father’s garage.
We had cruised England and Scotland a couple a years earlier with my Vespa SS -66 and visited the Bealieu Motor Museum. In those days there were no nightmares about www, so I wrote them a letter asking for information about Bradfords. They adviced me to contact the JCC and then it all started – in 1976 I joined the Club, I think.
Took me three years to rebuild the van (almost everything wrong) and in the 1979 it was on the road again.
Now the van is with my friend up in the middle of Finland, and he resored it all over again in the right way.
The contacts with the Club had made a great difference in restoring projects, not to mention the www.
While I had the first B van utility de luxe, we gathered scrapped B’s from all over the southern part of Finland, and finally I had spares from at least a dozen of B’s.
My friends teased me to build another B, as I had so much spares – and I was stupid enough to start the seven years job.
Managed to salvage the wooden body parts – one from the both side – to model the new ones i made myself. Exept the complicated doors. that were restored with a little (big) help from a carpenter in a bus body factory CARRUS, the owned by VolvoBus and nowadays again a private company here nearby.
More spares from ( now the late ) Roy Braddock, who was a nice old man – his wife and the cat were nice too. We visited him at least twice to buy spares that I could not find in Finland. I remeber buying a thermostat, about which Roy said that he had never heard anyone using one in a B, but if I really want one, he’d sell me one.
Front wings and the light switch among other things. One Xmas Roy sent me a replica of a badge that the factory employees got after working ten years in the Jowett factory – I still wear it around the neck. Thanks Roy, if you can hear me up there beyond somewhere.
While I was building the B from the spares of a dozen scaps, I decided to make it a lorry. Less bodywork, you see. Drawings and measurements for the bed from Alec Feather (late). I also visited Alec and Gladys one summer when I was cruising along the island all by myself. What a beatiful Norton he had.
We (I and Maikki) got a ride in their Javelin, when we took part of a Jowett Rally, but did not hava the B with us.
Chromed wheel caps from Bill and Sandra Purves. Those (the wheel caps) are hanging on my wall – too fine to use in a lorry :) Thanks to B&S too for the hospitality they showed us when we visited their home in Edinburgh (twice).
P.S. Welcome to visit us whenever you – or anyone of the Jowetteers – are around :