Albion CX
Classic & Vintage Commercials|April 2017

Peter Davies begins his in-depth profi le of Albion’s final independent product to realise its full commercial potential.

One of Britain’s most famous lorry manufacturers, Albion, vanished from the scene 45 years ago, the last Albion-badged lorries appearing in 1972. Albion was Leyland Motors’ first acquisition at the start of its empire building. It was in 1951 that the old-established manufacturer based in Scotstoun, Glasgow was absorbed into Leyland.

At first, it was thought there were assurances that the take-over would not affect either company’s products and the Albion name would live on but, as is often the case with take-overs, Leyland soon began phasing out models that competed with their own. Albion’s ‘heavies’ were the first to go, leaving them to concentrate on just medium-weight vehicles.

As it happened, the Leyland takeover virtually coincided with the launch of Albion’s new HD (Heavy Duty) range which was announced at the 1950 Earls Court Show and was scheduled to enter production in 1951. Sadly it was doomed to have a short life as Leyland axed the range after just three years.

The HD was an improved replacement for certain models in Albion’s previous CX range which was showing its age, having been introduced in the late 1930s. The HD never reached its full potential thanks to Leyland policy so the range for which Albion is more widely remembered is the CX which was in production from 1938 to 1950, except for the war years when production was suspended so that the company could turn over its resources to the war effort.

Why CX? At one time Albion just identified each model with a number which, unlike some designations, bore little or no relationship to the vehicle’s specification such as its power or load capacity. Then in 1937 it started a curious system using prefixes consisting of the first and last, the second and last-but one, third and last-but-two (etc) letters of the alphabet. This began with the AZ, followed by the BY and yes, as one might guess, the CX.

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