Wednesday, March 30, 2011

P1800 Pelle & Irv in Techno Classica Essen 2011

The 23rd TechnoClassica in Essen turned out to be a bigger success than ever, not least for Volvo Cars Heritage. During four days, 178.300 visitors admired thousands and thousands of classic vehicles in the worlwide biggest Classic Car show. The VCH stand with its 50th anniversary celebration of the production of the Volvo P1800 was a success with people discussing and asking for autographs designer Pelle Petterson and million-miler Irv Gordon.

Claes Rydholm head of Volvo Cars heritage made again this year a tremendous effect by organizing with his team a great stand including a desk looking very much like one of 1961 where Pelle Petterson and may be Helmer Petterson and Gunnar Engellau may have discussed the release of the P1800 first delivered to the public in 1961. VCH won again this year (after one in 2010 for Carioca) an award.
letter from Helmer Petterson to Frua sitting on the desk
The stand featured the X1 frua prototype but also beautiful production cars of each generation of 1800.

I was really interested by the plaster models of the P1800 that were on display and found back after several epic stories that Claes depicted to me (off the records).

It was a great opportunity again for discussion, have diner with, take pictures, with our favorite figures Pelle & Irv. A great time also was the page by page reading together with Pelle of the new reference book for the P1800 put together under lead of  Kenneth Collander with support of VCH and others : "P1800 from Idea to prototype to production". I truly URGE any enthusiast to order the book (and I do not say that because I am in the list of contributors) by following instructions here
you will discover an incredible amount of NEW documents, text, interview and information provided for some by Pelle himself !

the new P1800 reference book! order it !

Pelle & Claes
Irv is always happy to discuss!
A well deserved Award for the VCH Stand!

Monday, March 7, 2011

P1800 Jensen Factory HQ building still standing in 2011

One amazing thing is the fact that the very first office building of the Jensen Factory in Carters Green, West Bromwich B70 9QL, Shaftesbury street 4 (behind the Shaftesbury Casino at the corner of High Street and Shaftesbury ) is still standing in 2011!  (and looks like secure since a modern building construction plan accepted in 2006 has been delayed and the building currently renovated) You can still see the building from google map / street view or Bing hereafter:

View Larger Map
Bing aerial view

A brand new set of pics taken yesterday (c) by Steve who had the kindness to go on site for us all, check his full set here, and the good news is that the place looks like protected from the 2006 builders plan because the owners are currently having some renovation done (inside pics to follow on Steve's set)
Looks like the Jensen brothers could push that door anytime, isn't it !

This building is in fact the W. J Smith & Son Factory where the name was changed during the establishment of Jensen Motors Ltd.

Here is a picture of the original W.J Smith & Son Factory in the 1930s, the Jensen brothers ran the company under theyre name after the death of Smith
Carters Green Parade in the 30's Guest's motors visible as well as the sign of WJ Smith in the center far back

A view of 2011 of the same location shows the brick building on the right still standing since the 30s
1936 name change to Jensen Motors Ltd (source JOC)

This is the location of the Jensen Factory until 1956 before the move to Kelvin Way where the P1800 was produced (2 miles away) This is also the office where was hosted the small Swedish "control" team that had to manage 3 years the expected quality standards of the first made Volvo P1800 before the production was finally moved to Sweden, the project was called project "Ares" at Jensen.
Carters Green Jensen office where the Volvo team was located,
Volvo Amazon of staff parked on left (c)Ake Bjorksund

Town Planning
One can see on the town planning website the 2006 plans and authorization to replace it by a modern housing complex

Original (then future) Jensen Factory plans of John Street 541 factory in yellow the Office buiding, at the lower left the factory (source JOC)

Same view from Shaftesbury street in 2011 and 1950
The building in 2011
The building in the 50's
 Jensen Office Carters Green - The Jensen Brothers in front of the building in the 60's

Richard Jensen
Alan Jensen

Richard Calver the Jensen historian also states that the factory in Carters Green (behind the still standing building and having entry on John st) was demolished many years ago, probably in the late 1960s or early 1970s, that the factory was bombed in 1940 and essentially all of the records were destroyed, so it's not easy to come to grips with that period, and that the Jensen site in Kelvin Way was huge and was broken up in the late 70s to form a multitude of units (look at pictures below) with the exception of the Kelvin Way Service Department which remained in the hands of JP&S and operated as such until the early 1990s. It has since been gutted, in 1997 becoming a Metal Enclosures factory and changed several times since them...

The original office in Kelvin Way has unfortunately been dismantled

Today the former Jensen Service building on Kelvin Way can be seen next to the Kelvin Way Trading Estate.

bing aerial view

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Jensen Service building in the 80's
Comparing with the 60s' all the other buildings have been changed in the aera

The Jensen Club UK is celebrating this year the 75years commemoration with a medal figuring the Jensen Office.
JOC Celeb medal (c) JOC