The Lister Autotruck (also writen Auto-truck) was a range of industrial trucks/Works trucks built by R.A. Lister & Co. of Dursley Gloucestershire England. Listers are best known for their range of single cylinder engines, but they also built multi-cylinder versions and other products. They were taken over by Hawker Siddley Group in 1965 and later merged with Petter to form Lister Petter.
The Autotruck evolved from a requirement for a small works truck or tractor to pull components around the factory. Due to the nature of the site and the weights involved from heavy castings a powered truck was seen as the solution to using horses which were not ideal in a noise and dirty factory environment. The loads being too heavy for hand carts and space being too tight for small tractors within the workshops. By the 1920 something mechanical was needed, various ideas were tried without success.
Around 1924/5 the Auto Mower Engineering Co Ltd had demonstrated a design for what it called an Auto-Truck, the Lister's factory tried one out and liked it. The company then brought the patents, designs and rights to manufacture them from Auto-Mowers. The idea was to build a basic standard design to sell for under £100 that could be adapted to suit the customers needs by fitting different bodies. But over the years there have been over 3,000 different versions made.
The engines was provided by J A Prestwich & Company who also produced motorcycle & lawn mower engines. Two petrol engine options were offered, a 600cc single cylinder and a now rare 750cc V twin engine version.
It is thought the 1st one was sold commercially in 1926. A Lister Rail-truck version was introduced shortly after, for use on narrow gauge tracks in works, quarries & mines and construction site applications.
1938 - More than 10,000 Auto-Trucks had been sold.
1954 - Listers started producing an air cooled range of small diesel engines, which were seen as ideal for use in the Auto-Truck range. The LD1 single was offered as well as the LD2 twin cylinder. in fact the first of each was kept at the factory used as runabouts until the 1990s.
1955 - Petrol engined models production scaled down, as diesels become the preferred choice
1965? - Battery powered truck production commenced. The range consisted of 24 volt or 36 volt models depending on the customer 's requirements.
1965 - The Lister family sold out to Hawker Siddeley Group Ltd. however some of the family was still working for the company several years later.
1973 - Auto-Truck production transferred to Cromptons of Tredegar. However it has been siad by ex workers that Auto-Truck chassis being made as late as 1975 at Dursley.
1974 - The Lister training school expanded into part of the old "Auto-Truck shop"
There are several clubs and web sites dedicated to these machines;
- The Original Autruck web site - http://www.railtruck.org/index.htm
- The Autotruck Club - http://www.autotruck.org/ allmakes of works truck
- Events with Auto-trucks
- Banbury Steam Rally - Bloxham Oxfordshire
- Great Dorset Steam Fair
- Kemble Steam Rally - Gloucestershire
- Lister Tyndale Steam Rally - (held near the Old Lister factor at Dursley)
- Rushden Transport Cavalcade - Nothamptonshire
A Number of mainly industrial and rail museums have examples in their collections
A number of examples exist in both restored and as found condition, which can be seen at a number of events in the UK.
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