By Rod Ward
When we see a classic car we call it by the name of the chassis designing company, yet it is the coachbuilt body we see. This book includes the stories of the leading British coachbuilders who produced these elegant bodies. By 1961 only James Young survived as an independent coachbuilder, and they had also gone within six years. Some companies who built coachwork on car chassis were also involved in producing specialist bodies for commercial vehicles; buses, coaches, specialist van bodies, ambulances etc., but these are outside the scope of this book, and will only be mentioned in passing. Most surviving coachbuilders produced hearse bodywork and stretch limousines based on standard saloon cars. Our coverage here is restricted to British companies; when Giles Chapman selected the world’s 37 most important coachbuilders of all time, only eight were British: Barker, Freestone & Webb, Gurney Nutting, H J Mulliner, Hooper, James Young, Park Ward and Vanden Plas. Many hundreds of companies have been involved in coachbuilding in Britain down the years, and many dozens are described in this book, including the more notable or interesting British companies.