Buckler Cars

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Mistral body used on the Buckler DD2

The Buckler Cars company founded by C D F (Derek) Buckler was based at 67 Caversham Road, Reading, Berkshire, England and produced approximately 400 cars between 1947 and 1962. In about 1947 Buckler took over the Welco Farm Implements Ltd at Crowthorne, Berkshire and a plaque can be seen on the site of the former factory.[1]


Chadwick Derek Frank (Derek) BUCKLER[edit]

Buckler was Managing Director of Bucklers of Reading Ltd and Buckler Cars Ltd. He was born on 26 September 1910 in Hornsey, London. Buckler was educated at Tottenham Grammar School and S Thomas College. From 1927 to 1929 he trained as an engineer with Frank Buckler Ltd. Followed by working for the legal firm Crossman Block and Co to 1933. In 1934 he joined Watford Dairies as a Transport and Sales Manager. He became a Director of the engineering firm Johnson Roberts Ltd in 1939 followed by W C Ford Ltd, coach builders until 1956, and Rivers Motors (Reading) Ltd from 1945.[2]

Buckler was a committee member of the Hants and Berks Motor Club and belonged to BARC, Hants and Berks Motor Club, London Motor Club, and the Athenaeum Club, Reading.[2]

Buckler Cars Limited[edit]

In 1939 Buckler started a precision engineering business in Reading which undertook work for the motor trade. In 1947 he formed Buckler Cars Limited and began to produce sports cars, primarily for racing.[3]

Buckler's were unusual in that they featured spaceframe construction. The cars were of high quality and supplied either fully built to order with a works body or optionally and mostly in component form for home completion. They were designed to accept a range of mechanical components to enable buyers to create a lightweight sports car suitable for road use and in rallies, trials, speed hillclimbs or racing. The first model, based on Derek Buckler's own very successful 1947 Buckler Special, was called the Mark V. Buckler allegedly did not want people to think it was the first car.

After prolific success in the early and mid-1950s, Buckler's popularity waned during the later 1950s as other manufacturers came on the scene and when the kit-car market suffered a reversal in the early 1960s. However Bucklers had considerable success entering the new Kart market in the 1960s, but ill health Buckler sold his company as a going concern in 1962. Once Buckler sold the company it seemed to lose momentum and the new owners, Mike Luff and Frank Fletcher, closed it down in 1965. Buckler, who had been in poor health for some time, died in 1964.

Jack Barlow, who had led the kart development, started his own company Barlotti in Reading. They produced karts until 1990.

In addition to making cars, Buckler's made gear sets for other companies including Lotus Cars. They also built the first racing car chassis for the Brabham MRD.


During the 1950s Buckler's were exported globally. In New Zealand Arthur Harris managed Buckler (NZ) Limited. The first Mk90 registered to race in New Zealand in October 1956 was owned by Merv Mayo and powered by a Ford 100E engine.

Car models[edit]

It was the policy of the company that the specifications of all the cars was very flexible around a central design concept, as each car, kit or chassis was built to order. Basically there were about 12 model types over a period of almost 20 years.

Model Name Year
Mark V 1949–1955 1172 cc Ford engine. Top speed 80 mph (130 km/h). Open 2 seater. 90-inch (2,286 mm) wheelbase.
Mark VI 1950–1955 Long 94-inch (2,388 mm) wheelbase version of Mark V.
Mark X 1950 1172 cc Ford engine. Open three seat aluminium body.
Mark XI 1950 Long-wheelbase Mark X.
Mark XV 1950 BMC A-Series engined cars.
Mark XVI 1950 MG based version of Mark XV.
90 1953–1957 1172 cc Ford engine. UK Works aluminium body designed by Derek Buckler. New Zealand bodies designed by Ferris de Joux.
DD1 1956 Coventry Climax 1098 cc FWA engine or FWB 1460 cc. De Dion rear suspension. Body as per Buckler 90 model above.
DD2 1957–1962 Various engines up to 2 Litres. Optional De Dion rear suspension.Mostly Microplas Mistral GRP bodyshell, also Convair and AKS etc.
BB100 1958–1962 Backbone tubular steel chassis. Aluminium body designed by Derek Buckler.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Welco and Hughes Limited, photo of Buckler factory and chassis on roadside
  2. ^ a b 1959 Who's Who in the Motor Industry: Persons, Forth edition
  3. ^ http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Buckler Entry in Graces Guide
  • A-Z of Cars 1945-1970. Michael Sedgewick and Mark Gillies. Bay View Books 1993. ISBN 1-870979-39-7

External links[edit]