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Left Image: Image courtesy of Myreton Motor Museum

The Maudslay Lorry

Coventry Transport Museum’s three tonne First World War Maudslay Military Subsidy Chassis Lorry is the only one of its kind left in the world.  Built at the Parkside Factory in Coventry in 1916, the lorry had been converted to a motorhome after the war and was used by a travelling fair company in Scotland, before being sold on in 1940 to be used primarily as a static holiday home.  After being sold on, MAUD was eventually acquired by and delivered to Coventry Transport Museum in 1999.

After several years of fundraising led by the Friends of Coventry Transport Museum, the restoration programme began in 2007.  The project’s aim was to restore the Maudslay Lorry (using museum standards for the restoration of heavy working objects) back to its 1916 condition as it was when it left the Parkside Factory in Coventry, in time for the commemorations of the First World War. 

An important part of the restoration was the in-depth research needed to completely rebuild the body work and canopy; this included using original photographs to estimate the correct height and placement of the mudguards and door handles. 

The first phase of the rebuild was to restore the chassis and running gear, which although badly worn-out, was still mostly present. Once the chassis, engine and gearbox had been rebuilt, the focus shifted towards accurately recreating the bodywork using the archive material available to us. Once the body work and chassis were united there was still several weeks of adjustment to the gearbox and engine before the first successful run in August 2013.

The project focused on the refurbishment and repair of the original parts where possible. Fabrication of new parts was only commissioned where the original no longer existed, and has been done using original materials the cost of which has been subsidised by many of our local suppliers. An unexpected source for the canopy’s leather straps was a Ladies Dress shop in Coventry, whose belts matched the original specification of the straps. 

In 2014, the engine was started for the first time in more than 60 years, you can view a video of it's first start up here. In September 2014 we took MAUD for it's first successful run to the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum for their First World War Family Day, view this monumental moment here. MAUD will now be on permanent display at Coventry Transport Museum but will also be part of the running collection, supporting external museum events.  

In April 2015, we were highly commended under the Restorations or Conservation Award for our work on the 1916 Maudslay Subsidy Chassis at the Museum + Heritage Awards. 

Follow the full story with our presentation.

The restoration of the Maudslay Lorry benefitted from a major investment of time and energy, from our volunteers and the Friends of Coventry Transport Museum, as well as the technical expertise from Coventry Transport Museum’s curatorial and collections care team. Where possible throughout the restoration project we used small local engineering companies to supply materials and engineering services, replicating the supply chain system that would have been used by the Maudslay Company in the First World War.

Coventry Transport Museum would like to thank all the individual donors who contributed to the fundraising campaign and the following for their support and generosity to restore MAUD.

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