Factory methods of the vintage era

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No. 20—Hoyal the Coachbuilders

IN 1929 Hoyal was a name well-known in both the car and boating worlds. The Company made motor-boats at Hamworthy in Dorset and bodywork for cars at Weybridge in Surrey. In all, it occupied some 13 acres of productive area and turned out 100 closed bodies a week, and boats in varying quantities depending on their type. The Hoyal boats were powered with Austin-Seven—in the Aqua Seven—Morris Isis Six, and six-cylinder Chrysler engines.

In a spacious factory by the River Wey –perhaps a legacy from the Weymann group? —Hoyal could build, without overcrowding, motor-coach bodies, for mounting on Dennis, Dodge and Tilling-Stevens chassis. It is interesting, in view of the topicality of motor-coach accidents, that roll-over protection was built into the roof area of these Hoyal coach bodies. Hoyal’s made all sizes of car coachwork, both fabric-covered and in the metal, for cars such as Daimler, Rover, Talbot, Chrysler, Fiat, Darracq, Marquette and Chevrolet, a speciality being saloons for the Morris Minor chassis. Open bodies had not been made for some years but a start was soon to be made on a small sports body, maybe for the MG Midget or the Triumph Super Seven. They had also made two 12-seater prison vans.

Full-size drawings were drafted of each body and custom-type coachwork was built in a shop separate from that used to make run-of-the-mill bodywork. The fabric bodies were not of the flexibly-framed variety but simply had a fabric covering over a rigid plywood frame. Hoyal’s made their own windscreen frames, which were nickel or silver-plated; they didn’t like chromium plate, believing that stainless steel would replace it; Ford had recently gone over to it. They ground the screen glasses themselves and had their own smiths’ shop and generating powerhouse. They also fitted made-to-measure seats. The main work was putting fabric bodies on American chassis which normally had pressed-steel bodywork. The boats were made of mahogany planking, with brass and copper fittings. Its all a long time ago and I wonder how many Hoyal-bodied cars have survived?

W.B.

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