The BDV rollers
I was most interested to see Mr. A. W. Dunn’s photograph of his rebuilt BDV roller as these rollers were the brainchild of my father, Mr. Henry Granger.
Unfortunately my father died many years ago so I have only childhood memories to draw on, as far as I can recollect the BDV Motor Co. was a Ford dealer situated next to the District Line railway station oil Hammersmith Broadway. Here was a back entrance to the workshops through the small shopping arcade in the station. The company was owned by a Mr. Boyd de Valleran(?), hence the BDV. My father was employed as a fitter from some time in the Nineteen Twenties until the company ceased trading in 1931. During this period he started building the rollers at Hammersmith, moving to Barnes after a branch workshop had been opened there for the purpose.
There was more than one version built, some having two near rollers so as to cover a greater width of ground. A model-T lorry was modified for use as a delivery vehicle, the smallest possible wheels being fitted and a large tailboard that folded down to form a ramp.
I have no idea how many rollers were produced, but I have many happy memories of my parents and myself setting out on a delivery run, then our only form of motoring. We received many stares from other road users as the undersize wheels must have looked as if we were running on our brake drums!
Three particular delivery runs remain very clear in my mind. One to a sports ground near Brighton, another close to Croydon Airport and a third to the firing range at Shrewburyness.
I also remember attending a motor show where the rollers (two, I think) shared a stand with a magnificent mobile fish and chip shop on a model-T chassis. My father was in attendance on the stand, and my mother and I were collected at home and driven in grand style to the show in a huge Lincoln, much to the amazement of the neighbours.
The last time I saw one in use was in 1958. A similar model to Mr. Dunn’s was being used by a contractor laying asphalt footpaths on a housing estate in High Wycombe. I was surprised to see one still active then, but I never thought one would appear in MOTOR SPORT!
[But it’s all motoring sport—especially these delivery jobs on a couple of T-Ford-propelled rollers!—E.D.]