Can You Help Reunite Restored 1930s Van ‘Herbie’ With Its Original Number Plates?
An Austin 10 van, originally built in the 1930s, has been beautifully restored by classic car enthusiast Ted Bellamy, but the project is missing one minor component. Ted is seeking help to reunite the van, named ‘Herbie’, with its original registration number.
Ted bought Herbie, possibly named after Austin Motor Company founder Herbert Austin, in 2017, at which time he described the van as “a heap of sticks”. He began the painstaking restoration project, which he finally completed in 2021, except for the finishing touch of the number plates.
Herbie currently displays the plate ‘SXS 654’, but the original registration was ‘FO 3344. The new CarReg Number Plate Checker shows that the number was issued by Radnorshire (now Powys) County Council in Wales.
When Ted purchased Herbie, it didn’t come with any paperwork but, after doing some digging, he obtained a copy of the original registration from Powys council archives. However, while he has the vehicle’s history, tying up the paperwork with the chassis and registration numbers is proving difficult and the DVLA won’t release the original number until a connection is established between ‘FO 3344’ and the chassis number.
To discover Herbie’s history, Ted turned amateur sleuth. He traced the van back 86 years to Rhayader, Powys. In March 1936, R V Edwards Electrical of Llandrindod Wells purchased the van from Lewis and Lloyd of East Street, Rhayader. It was then used to deliver the company’s electrical goods. During World War II it was reportedly employed as a loudspeaker van and also to transport batteries for the area’s searchlight units.
Records show that Colin Edwards owned the van until the late 1950s after which it may have been put into storage. It was later found on a farm and was bought by a friend of Ted’s in the 1970s who started restoring it but didn’t finish the project. Ted said, “It had laid silent and forgotten until I bought it in 2017 from him. Both he and myself are members of an Austin 10 Drivers’ Club and he decided he needed to pass it on.”
Given the van’s condition, many people would have broken it up and sold it for parts. However, Ted undertook the loving restoration project to bring Herbie to the stunning condition it’s now in, complete with the ‘R.V. Edwards (Electrical)’ signage and outstanding blue livery.
Ted is hoping that collectors of motoring memorabilia or personalised number plates enthusiasts might be able to help with tracking down Herbie’s original plates. If you think that you can help with Ted’s quest, you can email him at [email protected]