Asquith (1981 automobile)
The Asquith Motor Company Ltd. is an English commercial vehicle manufacturer of hand built replicas since 1981 and originally based in Braintree, Essex. The company was founded by Bruce West, who designed the logo, created the name and designed all the early vehicles. His concept was to create modern vehicles with the potential of mass advertising through the appeal of historic vehicles. In 1984, West sold the moulds to Hunnable Holdings of Yeldham, Great Yeldham, Essex.
Mr West started building "retro-style" delivery vans on the Ford Transit chassis in 1982. In 1991, the company announced production of a 1930s-style taxi cab that would meet the London Public Carriage Office regulations on a purpose-built chassis.
Originally based in Braintree in Essex, Asquith employed 30 full-time craftsmen who handmade over 1,000 vehicles, many exported to countries as far away as Paraguay, Japan and USA, though Germany has always been the biggest export market.
In the late 1990s after the sale to Hunnables, the company experienced some challenges. The cost of manufacture had increased, research and development on new vehicles including the London Taxi had spiraled and a large Japanese order was cancelled due to increases in the exchange rate. The company was forced into receivership.
The company was purchased from the liquidators by Mike Edgar in 1997. He built a team of designers led by Paul Keegan and engineers led by Eddie Parsons. Further investment was required to move the company forward and Edgar soon found that UK manufacture was too expensive and sought partnerships in other countries. At the time, relationships were established with third-party companies in Barcelona (Spain) and Katowice (Poland).
In 2003, the molds and intellectual property rights were purchased by Simon Rhodes and Asquith Motor Company Ltd was established to develop new versions of the original vehicles. Due to various quality, language and distance issues with the overseas companies, it was decided to stop them manufacturing further vehicles.
In 2005, Asquith Motor Company Ltd bought the assets of the 'Vintage Motor Company Ltd', based in Doncaster. The main assets included The Royale Windsor (a 1940s-style limousine) and The Royale Sabre (a 1940s-style sports car). These are due to manufactured in the future—more information at www.sabresportscars.com.
In 2009, Asquith Motor Company Ltd appointed John Barlow, a well known and respected car designer and engineer, to develop new moulds for the Shire and Mascot, to be based on the Iveco Daily chassis. Launch of these vehicles is due in early 2010[needs update] and enquiries have been received from companies all over the world, who appreciate the classic style to advertise their business.
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