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High class coachbuilders of Sydney

Recollections by Bert Ward, 1980

Before Jackson, Jones and Collins started their own business in 1921 they were all employed at Surrey Motors who were coachbuilders in Parramatta Road, Petersham, a business owned by Mr Buckingham of the Big Emporium in Oxford Street, Sydney. Mr Buckingham had been planning to obtain the Rolls-Royce agency in New South Wales since 1914 when he ordered three Rolls-Royce chassis. However, the Great War postponed delivery until 1920, thought it was some consolation that he was only asked to pay the pre-war price.

His three chassis were numbered 28TW, 34FW and 75AE. 28TW was fitted with a Touring body and sold to Mr Westbrook of Westbrook Shoes, Kippax Street, Sydney.

45FW had a more romantic beginning, being filled with a Californian Top body and sold to a Mr I. Mitchell of a large wholesale grocery company for the use of his girl friend.

75AE emerged with a Touring Body for the use of Mr Buckingham himself and eventually passed though a number of hands until it reached its present owner, Peter Gargell of Brisbane where it resides as first delivered from Surrey Motors.

Having built these three bodies in the employ of Mr Buckingham, Jackson, Jones and Collins decided to set up in business on their own account in premises at the Old Market Centre in Parramatta Road, Petersham just before Taverners Hill on the left hand side.

Their first order was to build a Touring body on Rolls-Royce chassis 64PE for Mr Anthony Hordern. Later, this car passed to Mr Frank Aldrell, a successful bookmaker in Sydney who invited Jackson, Jones and Collins to convert it to a hardtop in the style of a Californian hardtop. This car is now believed to be in Victoria.

Jackson Jones and Collins now moved to new premises on the other side of Parramatta Road. Here their first Rolls-Royce task was to build a Sports 5-seater body on chassis 56NE for Mr C.W. Bennett, of Bennett and Wood, Pitt and Bathurst Streets, Sydney. Mr Bennett grew to love the car and later he had Jackson Jones and Collins build a two door saloon body on the same chassis.

One of the next tasks in Parramatta Road was to build a 5-seater Touring body on Silver Ghost chassis 1ZG for Mr Percy Arnott. Later on, in the 1930's Jackson Jones and Collins removed this body and built a single seater coupe. The car was sold to a business man in Grafton, N.S.W. who had an unfortunate accident with the car, though luckily he was not in the car at the time. Stopping the car at a high point on the Dorrigo Mountain to admire the view, he was horrified to see 1ZG moving off by itself to fall 700 feet down the mountain. It was recovered as a total wreck, purchased by Appleby and Ward who rebuilt it as a chassis and sold it.

Silver Ghost chassis 2ZG was purchased by Mr Kitchen of J.H. Kitchen and Sons, soap manufacturers to which Jackson Jones and Collins fitted a touring car body somewhat like his veteran touring car. Mr Kitchen used this car until he died.

Jackson Jones and Collins built a single seater body on Silver Ghost chassis 48RM for Mr Howard Smith of the Howard Smith Steamship Company of Sydney. The body was later removed so that the chassis could be returned to England, so that Rolls-Royce Ltd. could fit four wheel brakes which they would do in those days for �250 if the chassis was returned to the factory. On return from England the body was refitted and in 1939 it was sold to W.N. Bull Ltd., Undertakers. Appleby and Ward extended the chassis so that a modern hearse body could be fitted. I believe the chassis is now in Canberra.

For Silver Ghost chassis 57AU Jackson Jones and Collins fitted a seven passenger touring body for Mr A.A. Mackip who owned a large millinery shop in George Street, Sydney. Later after he had committed suicide, the car was sold and went to Tasmania.

Fred Tillock, who owned a wholesale grocery in Kent Street Sydney owned Silver Ghost 50NA which was originally fitted with a touring body and was used by the then Prince of Wales, the late Duke of Windsor, during his visit to Sydney in 1921. In 1927, Fred Tillock had Jackson Jones and Collins remove the touring body and fit a five seater saloon body.

With the introduction of the Phantom I, Jackson Jones and Collins continued to prosper with a large order book.

On Phantom I chassis 10ZMC they built a Californian top body for Mr Frank Albert of King St Sydney. During the depression of the '30s, the car was stored, unfortunately without anyone bothering to turn the engine over. When taken out of storage in 1936 the engine was found to be seized and had to be rebored as the cylinders were pitted and rusty. It was then fitted with a saloon body by Martin and King in Melbourne before being returned to Sydney for Mr Albert's use.

Phantom I 75MC also had an unfortunate career. Jackson Jones and Collins built a seven passenger saloon body on the chassis for a Mr J. Campbell. In 1930 the car was in collision with a tram and was severely damaged. The wreck was bought by Wood Coffill, an undertaker, who rebuilt it into a hearse. It was sold again after the war, but I have now lost track of its whereabouts.

For Phantom I 109MC Jackson Jones and Collins built a seven passenger body, the owner Roy Quigley using the chassis with a couple of bucket seats fitted while the body was being built. It was later sold to Mr L. Sprowle and is still in the Sprowle family.

Phantom I 29EF highlighted the quality of the workmanship of Jackson Jones and Collins. The chassis was originally fitted with a saloon body built by A.A. Atate for Dalgety and Company, but they found they could not sell it. The car was given to Jackson Jones and Collins who removed the offending body and built a seven passenger saloon body. The car was then bought by Dr H. R. Arnott who traded in Silver Ghost 62LK to complete the deal.

Sir A. Howie ordered a Californian Top body for Phantom I chassis 57LF, but after driving it for only 1000 miles he decided he didn't like his first order. He instructed Jackson Jones and Collins to remove the body and build a five passenger saloon instead. The California top body was not destroyed and is now fitted to Phantom I chassis 30LC.

1928 saw Jackson Jones and Collins build a saloon body on Phantom I 85RF for W.E. Arnott and the following year another saloon body on Phantom I chassis 56KR for Mr G.R. Whittle.

MrA. Mallick imported a Phantom II chassis 120XJ which he sold to Captain J.R. Patrick of the Patrick Steamship Company who had Jackson Jones and Collins build a saloon body for it.

20/25 HP chassis GBA75 was imported by Appleby and Ward. Jackson Jones and Collins built a saloon body on it finished in white duco with grey upholstery which was delivered to Dr L. Utz in 1933. Meanwhile about this time, many owners were getting Jackson Jones and Collins to rebody their cars.

Mr J.L. Glick had the English touring body removed from Silver Ghost chassis 96NE and a five seater saloon body fitted in lieu.

In 1936 Mrs A. Mullins had the Smith and Waddington Californian Top body removed from her Silver Ghost 38MG and Jackson Jones and Collins refitted it with one of their saloon bodies.

Similarly, for Silver Ghost 30 KG, Mr A.P. Wade had the touring body removed and a saloon body fitted by Jackson Jones and Collins.

Finally, the original owner of Phantom I 96LC had the Smith and Waddington Touring body removed and instructed Jackson Jones and Collins to build a five seater saloon body for it.

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