The second world war had ended and interest could again turn to motor sporting activities, this was restricted somewhat in the early years due to petrol rationing which introduced in 1940 and still being in operation.
The "Dellow" was the brainchild of two enthusiasts, Ken Delingpole and Ron Low who both recognised the need for a small well made sports car which would give their owners a reasonable chance against the all out specials in "trials" such as those organised by Britain's oldest sporting motoring club The Motor Cycling Club, known as the M.C.C
. Their oldest event "The Edinburgh Trial" was first run in 1904, the "Lands End" in 1908 and the "Exeter" in 1910. The latter originally started on Boxing Night driving down from London to the Westcountry and climbing various difficult hills such a Fingle near Moretonhampstead and "SIMM's" at Ilsington, both in Devon, these hills have been used since 1932 and 1933 respectively. The latter hill can prove to be a real "stopper" as much today as it was before the War, the start being at the foot of the hill, and after a few yards a 90 degree right turn, you then see what amounts to a wall in front of you of loose stones, mud and half-way up an outcrop of slate, the overall gradient being one in two and a half. Up to a few years ago a tractor with a winch was parked to the top to pull up the unfortunate entrants who could not make the climb, today, they have to reverse down the hill and then get to the top by driving through a special track made through the woods alongside the hill.
The two photographs, both taken in the early 1990`s show these super little cars attempting to climb SIMM's.
The Dellow utilitised components mainly of Ford manufacture, the frame consisted of three and one half inch tubular steel welded to form the letter A, the apex had a angle bracket which carried the standard Ford transverse leaf spring and axle with radius arms of the 10 h.p. model, the rear springing was by quarter elliptics with a standard Ford rear axle and torque tube. Power was supplied by the 1172 c.c. side valve engine. Some units utilised double valve springs and a Wade supercharger driven by v-belt from the crankshaft. The normal 3 speed Ford gearbox was used with girling brakes, a separate linkage was used for the outside handbrake, pushing the leaver forward operated the front brakes and pulling it back the rear.
The first cars was produced in late 1947, by 1949 only some one dozen cars had been made but almost 100 awards were collected in this time which included several best performances. The weight of a Dellow was around 11 cwt which gave a very usable power to weight ratio.
Dellow Motors Ltd was made at Alveschurch, Birmingham, with a change of name to Dellow Engineering Ltd and a move to Oldbury Birmingham in 1956. A Mark VI model was made with an all enveloping fibreglass body, also longer wheelbase, few of these cars sold and production ended in 1959.
The best models were manufactured from inception to 1956. Dellows are still to be seen giving excellent service in trials around the Country although many have been much modified in the way of their power unit. The "Exeter" takes place over the second weekend after Christmas (Friday night/Saturday), the "Lands End" on Easter Saturday.
© Chris Dugdale 2009