As Crufts celebrated its 125th anniversary as the largest dog show in the UK, Laughing Dog, one of the few pet food manufacturers in the UK to bake its entire range of dog food, revealed for the very first time, its fully restored 1951 vintage van, known as TED.
Named after Laughing Dog’s founder, Ted Grant OBE, this 1951 Morris J-Type van has been lovingly restored by Ted’s grandson, William Grant, a classic vehicle enthusiast, at the bakery’s site in Boston, Lincolnshire. As the 18th oldest vehicle of the original 44,000 made, TED is one of the few lucky survivors left today and marks a historic moment for the family run bakery.
Taking over 1,750 man hours to complete, with each of the 60 different sections of its make-up demanding traditional metal working techniques, many of which have been used for over a century, the restoration project has been no easy feat. ‘Sheet metal can behave in the most peculiar of ways,’ explains William who has a keen interest in metal work. ‘It has certainly been a steep learning curve for me and a very great privilege to work on such a rare piece.’
‘The majority of the parts produced were shaped using the English wheel, mechanical hammers or simply beaten over formers which took the shape of the piece I was replicating. Once I had brought the van back to its original state by keeping all of the original features to ensure for authenticity (apart from the addition of a later engine capable of better performance and speeds!), it was sign written by hand by Mervin Dove, a skilled craftsman, also based in Lincolnshire, who has over 50 years of experience and is one of only a handful capable of such work in the UK. Mervin was able to create the authentic imagery, script and feel which would have been existent on the original articles.