S.E. HAMBLIN Ltd
Priestlands Lane, Sherbourne
Sid Hamblin had been running his panel beating business for a number of years when, in late 1956, with some time on his hands he designed a body shell that could be used on an Austin Seven chassis. In April 1957 he launched what was to become known as the Hamblin Deluxe. Made of aluminium and although designed specifically for the later 6'9" wheelbase chassis, Sid was quite happy to modify a body to suite 6'3" or a Ford 7'4" chassis. No price was ever advertised, but early adds quoted that it would compare favorably with those fibreglass bodies now available.
Early advertising photo of Deluxe
Supplied as a kit of 19 panels, all flanges were pre-drilled and could be bolted together in an evening and only needed flat floors and a backrest to finish the body. From July 5th the new bodies could be viewed at Super Accessories in Bromley that well known Mecca for the specials enthusiast. But even this high exposure could not help with the slow sales and from September 1957 the body was no longer advertised for sale.
Kit of panels at Historic Specials Day 1990
I believe that only about a dozen of these kits were sold and if you have been going to the Historic Specials Show since its inception you would have seen the remarkable set of new panels that turned up at the first show and were slowly, over the years, bolted around a chassis and finished into the very nice car you see below. Are there anymore out there?
Hamblin Deluxe. Historic Specials Day 2000
From January 1958 Sid introduced the Cadet. Advertised as the cheapest fibreglass shell on the market and priced at £34.10s, I doubt if many were sold to this specification. For this price the purchaser would have to make and bond in his own front mounting, cut and fit his own bonnet and doors, trim off all the flash from around the cockpit and grill etc and still have to get some wings from somewhere. Having said that, it was a very successful shell and available for both Austin Seven wheelbases. Sid was able to modify the body to fit other chassis including the Fiat 500 and Morris Eight.
Preparation of the chassis included adding a sports suspension (Bowden was recommended) and 15" or 17" wheels at the front and 15" offset wheels at the back. If a 6'9" body was being used with standard width track, then wheel blisters would have to be fitted to the body to give a greater lock. These cost 16s.0d each.
By the end of 1958 the Cadet shell could be viewed at various places though out England including Super Accessories of Bromley, Boult Bros near Coventry and Halifax Panel Beating Co in Yorkshire. Jem Marsh also had a Cadet shell on show at the Speedex works at Luton, making these shells easily available wherever you lived. The only modification to the shell throughout its production was to add integral rear wings in 1960 and rename it Mk2.
Also during 1960 Les Montgomery of Super Accessories, asked Sid to build him an enlarged Cadet body to fit the 7`6" wheelbase chassis made by Keith Bowden for Ford Ten mechanicals. The Super Two was born of which some 200 were sold. The body was later also adapted to suit the Ford Pop chassis and named Super Three.
Did Hamblin ever supply bodies for a Buckler 3 wheeler chassis?
The following advertisement appeared in Motor Cycle Mechanics circa 1960. At least a prototype was made.
HAMBLIN Mk 2
Enthusiastic and go-ahead, Hamblins have followed up MM’s original idea and have designed this special body. It has all the looks and comfort of a sleek sports car plus the added advantages of a three-wheeler- less tax, less insurance, and more m.p.g. They are hoping eventually to market complete kits of parts for home builders and there is the possibility of a hard top as an optional extra. The chassis frames to fit the new bodies have been designed and built by Derek Buckler of Buckler Cars Ltd 67’ Caversham Road, Reading. He has been building sports racing cars aid chassis for amateur builders for many years and his cars are well known for their road holding capabilities.
This is the new body available from Hamblins. The long clean lines give it a pleasing appearance and there is room for the wife and a child.
The windscreen of the new Mk. 2 body Is that of a Ford saloon- it gives some idea of the amount of space in this body space that gives comfort.
Advertisement courtesy of the 'Malcolm Buckler collection'
Although the sale of body shells tailed off as the 1960s progressed the company did survive until the early 1970s when it was sold off to a bigger GRP manufacturer.
Tom Hamblin at the 2003 Historic Specials Day