A little while back, you may recall I was approached by a publishing company which was looking to expand its portfolio of titles by branching out into other areas related to the Automotive Industry. A few ideas were pitched and, after a long think, the publisher were receptive to a germ of an idea relating to Leyland Trucks and its trendsetting T45 range, first introduced back in 1980. The publishers asked me to collate a working draft chapter and set out the structure of the book, which itself was no mean feat – and then submit it for review and risk-assessment procedure.
Following the sudden death of my father recently, it all went a bit pear-shaped. The project was left to simmer on the back burner until I could get it and, indeed myself, into gear. After doing as requested and putting one or two ‘feelers’ out into the ether, some very good responses came back. One or two were what I truly believe to be crucial to the nature of the book. Well, after some hysteria on my part and some patience on part of the publisher, contracts have been completed and deadlines have now been set. In other words, the book is going ahead officially and I thought some of you may like to know.
Leyland Trucks played a huge role in the BL story. The fact was it shored up the ailing car side of BL, with its profits, throughout the 1970s. It was only after it was almost brought to its knees by an ailing and aging product range, starved of working capital that was being sent down the M6 to Longbridge and onwards to Cowley, that a £350m investment was pumped into Lancashire to provide state-of-the-art research, design and production facilities. T45 and its workforce played a bigger part in Leyland’s future than most people think and are possibly one of the good reasons for why you can still buy trucks made in Leyland to this day.
A number of contacts (some involved with the Leyland T45 project from day one) have come forward via AROnline and I am offering my heartfelt thank you to all those who have contacted me and stood up to be counted. The story is a fascinating – one of both bitter pills and brilliance, proving a point that not everything associated with British Leyland was destined to fail and fall at the first hurdle. It’s also a story which has, I think, been criminally ignored and never told – as do the gathering army of contacts who wish to play their part in this publication.
Anyway, my thanks again to all involved so far and, if anyone has information, spec sheets, brochures or even a simple anecdote regarding Leyland T45 from the Roadrunner through to Roadtrain, please get in touch with me by the email address below. Your part, no matter how big or small, is invaluable to the project, and you’ll possibly get your name in print too!