Village Web Site Forum

Paul Wilkinson
Friday, September 4, 2020 16:45
The pre-war Allard car owned by RM Bateman of Royd Hill in the 1940s

Message from Des Sowerby:

I'm writing a history of a series of old cars, the 12 pre-war Allards. RM Bateman, who lived at Royd Hill, Sutton in Craven in the 1940s and 1950s is the last known owner of one of these cars, registration ELL300, a black sports car. He advertised it for sale in 1948 and 1949, and that is the last that was heard of it.

I'm hoping to find out if anyone remembers what happened to the car. Mr Bateman was clearly a motor sport enthusiast entering a number of "sporting trials" in the 1940s and being on the Competitions Committee of the RAC in the 1950s. If anyone has any recollections of Mr Bateman or particularly of this car and what happened to it, I'd be very grateful to hear from them. Thanks

Des Sowerby

020 8926 7250


Terry Longbottom
Wednesday, September 23, 2020 11:21
The car that I saw CM Bateman hauling around on a trailer at the weekends was about the same shape as the one in the picture but was clad in aluminium. It looked more of a working machine than the Allard in the photo.
Alan Smith
Wednesday, September 23, 2020 12:33
Like Terry I remember this car,Bairstows built a garage in the Sand Park a car if I remember correctly was kept here it was aluminium and green with what I was told was a very powerful engine,this was built to compete in what was Malcolm Batemans hobby hill climbing.l was told that the weight of this engine made the power to weight ratio of this vehicle wrong for hill climbing as it turned out.
Talking of Malcolm Bateman being a keen cyclist I remember calling in a pub on the road to Sedbergh from Kirkby Lonsdale and being served a pint by him,a person who in Sutton was known as the MD of Bairstows was behind the bar.
Michael Geoffrey Towers
Longton, Preston, Lancashire
Sunday, November 1, 2020 17:04
I had hoped to be able to contribute to this thread somewhat earlier by supporting it with photographs of the “aluminium” car that both Terry and Alan refer to. Whilst originals are somewhere in the family files, at this stage I can only find photocopies that have been ravaged by poor storage and I’ve submitted these to Paul for the Gallery.

The photos, taken in the Sand Park, show my father, Ernest Towers, in the driving seat. He had this privilege as it was Dad who designed and built the cars for Malcolm Bateman. I say cars as over the years there were two different models but these photos are of the second one built.

Malcolm, as Des Sowerby stated, was a keen motor sport enthusiast not only with speed hill climb events but also cross country trials mainly involving muddy green lanes. Again, somewhere there are photos of the latter with my father as co-driver/mechanic in the “bump” seat, but where is a mystery at present. The secret to success here was to bolt tyres to the rim of the wheel and run with perhaps only 10-15 lbs pressure in order to achieve maximum grip in the conditions. The first car dad built was really aimed at this sector of the sport.

Hill climbs became Malcolm’s later love and he regularly raced in the minor amateur classes at the famous Rest and Be Thankful event in Scotland – see

Dad usually went along as mechanic and one year the event was on BBC Grandstand. Mum and I sat at home watching not only Malcolm doing his run, but Dad spectating at the side of the course, his 5 mins of fame. On another occasion, when Malcolm was entered in a climb at Catterick near the Army Camp, I was able to go along and smell the petrol fumes as the cars raced by with engines on the rev limit. This would have been about 1954/5 which is when the pictures were taken.

Dad was part of the engineering team at Bairstow’s but was known in the village for his interest in fettling cars as a consequence of his work for Malcolm. This regularly took him out of his “mill” duties and meant long evening and weekend hours working to a deadline to effect developments or rebuilds of the car if there had been a mishap.

To the best of my recollection, design and drawings were minimal, fag packets come to mind, with the chassis fabricated and welded up from scratch. Tweaks to the build were necessary not only to accommodate the mechanicals but also the driver – Malcolm was a big man.

The running gear comprised the engine and back axle of a big Ford – a Zephyr I think – with the bigger 2.3 litre engine. A web search shows a test by The Motor magazine of a 1955 model produced 71bhp, a top speed of 80mph and 0-60 in 20.2 seconds. Not huge by today’s standard but back then, powerful just as Alan Smith suggests. Even then, it got “breathed on” to increase performance with carburettor and straight through exhaust enhancements. No one could argue that it was a pretty machine (bit of a tank really) other than pretty fast!

The cars were built in the Garage in the Sand Park which, at critical times, meant that some of the mill’s vehicles were delayed in being maintained and occasionally were left outside overnight. As the picture show, no point having a racing car covered in snow.

Reflecting on Alan’s comments about Sedburgh, I believe that the Yorkshire Motor Club (think that’s what it was called) that Malcolm supported had its base at the Devonshire Arms, Cracoe. Dad after a long day on the car was sometimes whisked off by Malcolm to Cracoe for the last orders snifter that tended to move into a lock in. This was before drink driving and speed limits but Malcolm did Sutton to Cracoe as Dad would say, “in bloody quick time”.

And, finally, just as a final aside, Malcolm Bateman was, as Des Sowerby says, in fact R M Bateman and not C M Bateman who was Malcolm’s father and better known as Lieut.- Col C M Bateman DSO. He served with distinction in WW1 - see Craven’s Part in The Great War pages 27- 31 found at - leaving for France with the 1/6th Duke of Wellington West Riding Regiment on the 14 Apr 1915 as Major C M Bateman.

R M is Richard Malcolm b.1912, with a mother called Smith, who married Lucy Obank in 1939. I recall my Dad calling Malcolm’s wife Lucy and, in the 1948 Electoral Register, Richard M and Lucy were living at Royd Hill.

C M Bateman was Charles Malcolm who married Helen Smith in 1911 and who lived at Lyndhurst and died 23 Jan 1952 so could not have been the Malcolm who drove racing cars.

Apologies for the length of this but I hope Des Sowerby, Terry and Alan and anyone else with memories of the aluminium tank have found it interesting.
Paul Wilkinson
Sunday, November 1, 2020 19:38
Car 1

Car 2

Michael Geoffrey Towers
Longton, Preston, Lancashire
Monday, November 2, 2020 06:51
Just sent a better picture for Paul to add which, in view of the BBC Van, may have been taken at the Rest and Be Thankful start line.
Paul Wilkinson
Monday, November 2, 2020 15:21
Car 3

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