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Leyland 15 Van, owned by Shaun Russell

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Though badged as a Leyland, the only Leyland component here is just that badge. This is really a Standard Atlas, built in Coventry after the takeover of Standard by Leyland Motors of Preston in late 1961. The Leyland 15 was fitted with a 1670cc petrol engine that was the original fitment to the Standard Ensign. The 15 denotes the carrying capacity in hundred weights.

The van body was enlarged compared to the original Atlas. The Atlas was described as a “Forward Control” Vehicle, it was just 948cc and very low geared. In this vehicle, however, the gearstick was moved forward to sit alongside the driver. This meant that there was a complex system of rods under the floor to link back to the gearchange, a not altogether satisfactory arrangement, even if the layout was more conventional. The presence of the central gearstick did however prevent the driver from “walking through” the Cab to deliver the odd loaf to a customer standing at the kerb. The vans capacity was however greatly enhanced compared to the Atlas.

The current owner, Shaun Russell, contends that the Van was not suitable for stop-go work as the radiator, sitting in the front of the engine, gets very little airflow ducted around it, the van requires to be moving more quickly in order for the engine to be properly cooled. As the records that Shaun inherited with the van record, it required a new clutch about every 12 months!

This van was sign-written for 'Cottis and Son' from new and was used as a Baker’s delivery van for the first six years of its life. The delivery driver had previously used a horse and trap for his delivery round! After six years of hard work, the van was retired to stand in an Apple Orchard, initially in a barn, but subsequently, out in the open, where it remained until just 4 years ago when Shaun acquired it. That explains its current condition.

That condition is what one might describe as “patinated”, but Shaun intends to do no more to restore the bodywork than has already been done. After much mechanical work, however, the chassis is in far better condition. The engine is now a 2088cc Vanguard unit so the Van is capable of long-distance work and much has been done to improve both braking and handling.


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Phil Homer


Standard Motor Club



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