By Rod Ward
Here we have the stories of two classic British commercial vehicle manufacturers, Atkinson and Seddon. Both firms had separate lives until 1970, when Seddon took over Atkinson, but only four years later the combined entity was acquired by a multi-national corporation. The two firms came from different traditions; in Preston, Atkinson distributed Sentinel waggons, then began manufacturing their own steam vehicles during the Great War. Having tried to carry on with outdated steam technology for too long, the firm was reorganised in 1933 as a maker of diesel lorries, building up a fine reputation over the following decades for customer service. Seddon ran a vehicle dealership and operated excursion buses in East Lancashire, before designing their own lightweight diesel lorries just before the Second World War. Good management and profitable products enabled Seddon to grow big enough to take over Atkinson in 1970.
The new combined Seddon Atkinson group went through a number of hands after 1974; first International Harvester, then ENASA and Iveco, before fading into non-existence in 2005.