Lot 117 - 1938/1947 Dellow Prototype

Lot 117 - 1938/1947 Dellow Prototype

Lot 117 - 1938/1947 Dellow Prototype

Lot Number 117
Registration CAB 282
Chassis Number 283803
Engine Number B123822C
Odometer reading 39,103 miles
Result Sold - £16,800

Dellow Motors Ltd in Alvechurch near Birmingham was launched by Ken Delingpole and Ron Lowe specifically to produce these charming rugged road-going sports cars for the enthusiast to use on trials, rallies and hillclimbs with many sporting awards won in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Dellows even took overall honours in the MCC organised Daily Express National Rally and the Circuit of Ireland Rally against mighty opposition - and they are still used competitively today! 

Notable works drivers included Tony Marsh from Kinver (who went on to become RAC Hill Climb Champion on no less than six occasions) and Peter Collins from Kidderminster (who later drove for HWM, BRM, Vanwall and finally for Ferrari.) Following WW2, post-war trialling resumed and this car was specially built for Lewis Tracey, an active member of SUNBAC, Hagley and District Light Car Club, the Steering Wheel Club London and the British Trials Driver Association with this very badge still with the car 70 years later. 

Dellows are constructed from a tough steel bodyframe clad in aluminium. CAB 282 was amongst the very first of the trials cars to combine the legendary Austin 7 'A' frame with sturdier Ford running gear and this suddenly changed the entire thinking that a big V8 engine was needed to compete successfully in trials.

With the engine set well back in the chassis and with the seating almost over the rear axle, this combined with a large fuel tank and twin spares, a 60/40 weight distribution was achieved putting maximum traction at the rear axle.

This car is believed to be the third prototype built by Dellow Motors and was constructed in 1947 using a 1938 Austin 7 van chassis as these were slightly longer with stronger rear springs fitted for greater clearance. She enjoyed a very active and successful competition life including circuit racing, hill climbs and trials becoming a multi award winning car along the way. The earlier prototype panel work was eventually remodelled by coachbuilder Lionel Evans of Radpanels (who built all the bodywork for Dellow motors) circa 1949. One young Colin Chapman in particular noted the efficacy of this Austin 7/Ford performance combination ultimately leading, it is thought, to the development of the Lotus 7. 

Eventually CAB 282 was sold and remained in the Birmingham area until the swinging 60s when it was bought by a London gentleman in Chelsea. The vendor bought her in 1977 in a dry stored but derelict state but with all the key fittings intact. At that time, no history was known and the relatively new Dellow Register had no records either. However, thanks to a remarkable string of coincidences, suspicions of a hard competition history proved right as a remarkable archive of original period photographs gradually emerged showing the true significance of this little car. Remarkably, even film footage exists showing her on the 1948 Gloucester Trial with Radio star Kenneth Horne waving the cars off!


Since 1977, she has received a bare-frame restoration followed by a sympathetic reinstatement of all the original body panels, bar the bonnet top and inner engine bay sides which needed replacement. She currently runs with a Ford 100E, 1172cc side-valve engine and period twin Solex carburettors on an Aquaplane inlet manifold with a four-branch exhaust manifold and a three-speed gearbox. Whilst a hood has never been fitted during ownership, there is an original rudimentary frame plus a recent good quality mohair tonneau cover. The original unrestored Marchal headlamps will also be included in the sale. The photographic history features many original 10x8 black and white photographs from 1947 to the 1960s and, together with much correspondence confirming its provenance, is probably the most well-documented Dellow known. 

It was first featured in Sporting Cars in the 1980's (which first led to its fascinating history being unearthed) and more recently by Michael Ware in the respected periodical, The Automobile. Still carrying its original registration, this charming and well-campaigned trials car is fully road legal, starts on the button and would be enormously well-received at any historic event.

Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each Lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. All registration numbers, engine and chassis details are sourced from registration documents provided to Historics by the client or representative or HPI checks and buyers are to satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of these details. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.

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