Two entrepreneurs, Crispin Reed and Bruce West, who had been running a successful reproduction furniture business, formed the “Asquith Motor Carriage Company Ltd” in July 1981.
The partners decided it would be fun to restore a vintage 1928 ‘Austin 12’ van, use it for local deliveries and thereby gain much useful publicity. The aged Austin was certainly a great success in promoting the company, but regretfully did not prove very reliable.
They had lots of enquiries from people wanting similar vans and so it was decided to develop the idea. Craftsmen who had previously making expensive reproduction Chesterfields, commodes and chairs were put to work on the vehicles and it is hardly surprising to find such luxury antique features as buttoned leather upholstery and burr walnut veneer dashboards
Originally based in Great Yeldham in Essex, Asquith Motor Carriage Company Ltd employed 30 fulltime craftsmen who handmade over 1,000 vehicles, many exported countries as far away as Japan and USA .
In the late 1990’s the company experienced some challenges: The cost of manufacture had increased, research & development on new vehicle including the London Taxi had spiralled and the cancellation of a large order for Japan forced the company over the edge and into receivership.
The company was purchased from the liquidators by Mike Edgar in 1997. A factory to build Shires and Mascots was set up in Dresden in Germany but this closed in 2001 when the River Elbe flooded the factory and destroyed key research data.
In 2003 the moulds and rights were purchased by Simon Rhodes and Asquith Motor Company Ltd was established to develop new versions of the original vehicles.
In 2005, Asquith purchased The Vintage Motor Company Ltd which included the ‘Royale Windsor’ limousine and the ‘Royale Sabre’ sports car. Both of these vehicles are now available through our sister company www.royalemotors.com
We are now developing new versions of the Shire Van and Mascot Bus based on the latest Iveco ‘Daily’ chassis. By updating to modern mechanics and simplifying the build process we plan to build a strong foundation and therefore ensure Asquith’s long term future.
Asquith....the world’s most unique motor producer!