1985: My Dad’s Commer PB 1725 van

In 1983 my Dad had been made redundant from his job at Jones & Shipmans, after 10 years employed as a CNC machinist. My Mum’s health had deteriorated by then, so he felt he should stay at home with her.

After leaving he sold his beloved 1971 Ford Capri GT2000 (GVB 959J) as it had started to cost him too much to run. Before he was made redundant he acquired a CB Walkie Talkie from someone, I remember he coaxed it up to a mobile antenna in the living room, with it sitting on a metal biscuit tin. Before long he was talking to people in the Braunstone/LFE area and making friends in the process.

With the Capri gone, he bought a 1973 Commer PB van, which had been used as a motorcyle transporter. It came with a racing steering wheel, which he soon replaced with a second hand one from a Ford Transit. He even fitted some spare shock absorbers on the front, intended for his Capri. The ride was a bit on the bouncy side – especially on those concrete slabbed housing estate roads.
He designed, made and fitted a bracket to hold a lockable fuel filler cab. There had been a spell of the fuel being syphened off overnight.

Having been made redundant, my Dad decided to buy a new Harrier CB radio from Dixons, as they had a promotion on. So the van became a mobile unit, when he fitted a large antenna on the roof and a bracket for the radio on the cab ceiling.
Driving with a hand held mic soon became a challenge, so using my old AM/FM radio headphones (this was pre Walkman era) which no longer worked, he fashioned a headset complete with mic stalk. Made from anything he could find. He made a mic trigger on the dash out of wood and plastic, that he flicked on when he wanted to talk.

All in all it was quite a nice set up. When at home, he had all is radio gear set up on the sideboard in the back room and before long a scaffold mast in the back garden.

The Commer ended up scrapped, as we ended up in rather a lean period living off the “Giros”… My Dad couldn’t run to paying for his road tax, so a truck came by and took the poor van off to the scrapyard.

I thought he had kept it for longer, but according to the DVLA website it had been seen as having no MOT by August 1985. I know in later years we didn’t have another car afterwards, but it is funny how time can play tricks on us. In the end he had it for just 2 years.

Vehicle Details
Vehicle make COMMER
Date of first registration April 1973
Year of manufacture 1973
Cylinder capacity 1725 cc
CO₂ emissions Not available
Fuel type PETROL
Euro status Not available
Real Driving Emissions (RDE) Not available
Export marker No
Vehicle status Untaxed
Vehicle colour BLUE
Vehicle type approval Not available
Wheelplan 2 AXLE RIGID BODY
Revenue weight Not available
Date of last V5C (logbook) issued 8 September 1983

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