Rootes Archive Centre - Rootes at War.
Catalogue of Fighting and Support Vehicles built by Rootes.
What is the Catalogue?
The Rootes Archive Centre contains information about the models of
car and commercial vehicles produced by Rootes and their associated
companies. This page supplements the main catalogue of civilian
vehicles by listing those produced specially for the armed forces. For
more information about Rootes commercial vehicles
see the main catalogue
We note that William and Reginald Rootes both received knighthoods for their
efforts during the second World War, so this is an important part of
I was prompted to attempt to produce this list by an enquiry from
Martin O'Neill who had bought a Humber 1 ton cargo truck otherwise
known as an FV1601. FV stands for "Fighting Vehicle". Other recent
enquiries have come from Dennis Stevenson, Stephen Flitcroft,
Paul White and Graham Barron (Humber "Box").
I have a lot more information about Rootes' war time activities. If
you are interested in knowing more or contributing to the knowledge
base, please contact:
283 Chester Road,
Warrington WA4 2QE, UK
Tel: 01925 267084
Many of the Humber, Commer and Karrier vehicles were supplied as
chassis with cab and bespoke bodies were produced by Thrupp and
Maberley. These were destined to be ambulances, platforms, pickup or
covered trucks, road sweepers, mobile laboratories, etc.
There is good documentation for many of these vehicles as there are
thriving groups researching and restoring old military
vehicles. Some are mentioned below. A general explanation of British
Army vehicle registration numbers is at VRNARMY.DOC.
Aircraft manufacture and other component supply is listed below
under Rootes Securities Ltd. This part
of the Rootes history and concerns the "shadow
factories" that were loaned to major manufacturers from the government
for the wartime effort 1939-45.
- Armoured car and 3 1/2 ton WD Subsidy vehicles (1914-18)
- Armoured Car (1940-)
- Scout Armoured Car (1940-)
- Coventry Armoured Car (1940-)
- Van (which?) Army registration 14ET87
- Commer 15cwt 4x2 general service
- Commer CB 4 1/2 ton cargo truck. Some under EM registrations.
- Commer Q2, Q3 and Q4 general service trucks.
- Commer 3-ton Q4 4x4 general service. Used as mobile laboratory,
office, tipper, workshop, radar, instrument, telecommunications repair
units for REME. Army BH registration series.
- Commer Q15, mostly to the Air Ministry
- Commer sweeper 52EK64
- Utility trucks from 1941
- 10HP convertibles. Some were armoured and had gun turrets, known
in military vehicle circles as "The Gnat".
- Minx deLuxe, touring saloon, ladder vans, etc.
- Hillman Husky utility car 14EK64
- Super Snipe staff car (c.1941). The 1943 car used by Field
Marshall Montgomery during the 1944-5 campaign in N.Europe is in the
- Light Reconnaissance Car armoured personnel carrier (1940-)
c.3,600 built. Early versions were known as "Humberette" (for home
defense) and from July 1940 as "Ironside". MkII versions had a gun turret
and MkIII-IIIA has FWD.
- Heavy Utility (1941-6) 8cwt 4x4 based on Super Snipe chassis used
as ambulances, utility and pickup vehicles. This was a completely new
design with a roomy box shaped body on the four wheel drive chassis as
used by the Light Reconnaissance Car and Light Ambulance. It had a
steel body with six seats and was issued to commanders and staff
officers who needed good cross country performance. Known in military
vehicle circles at "The Box".
- Super Snipe and Pullman cars, e.g. registered as 17DE67, 22ER32,
20ET74 were used when FWD was not required.
- Humber scout car (1943-)
- Humber Hawk car 03EM61
- FV1601 (1952-4) 1 ton 4x4 cargo truck general service with winch (FV1601A
and FV1601B had no winch). Used as cargo trucks for general supply,
missile test, wireless etc. transport. Army BK registration
- FV1602 (c.1954) 1 ton cargo truck with or without winch
- FV1604 corporal missile command wireless vehicle, mid 1960s
- FV1604 light wireless vehicle
- FV1609 PIG hard top MkI prototype later converted to FV1611
- FV1611 (c.1958-60) 1 ton 4x4 armoured personnel carrier (2x crew, 6x
passengers) known as PIG. Based on the FV1601 1 ton cargo truck
chassis. This had a 6-cyl 4.5l Rolls Royce B60 engine and was mainly
for use in Northern Ireland. Army BK registration series. Some 1,700
- FV1612 PIG ambulance, BK series
- FV1613 PIG radio command vehicle, BK series
- FV1620 Hornet armoured cab with Malakara ATGW launcer - early
anti-tank guided missile.
- FV1621 1 ton missile supply vehicle
- FV1622 1 ton missile supply vehicle
- Some for FVRDE c.1962
- Bantam from 1942
- Karrier tractor from 1942
- Karrier armoured car from 1942
- Karrier 4x4 3 ton load carrier
- Karrier CK6 c.1944
- Karrier chassis/ cab 43CC83
- Rootes Securities Ltd. Second
World War time aircraft. 14 percent of Britain's bombers were built
- Bristol Blenheim MkI (1939-45, 380 built at Ryton-on-Dunsmore and
- Blenheim MkIV (1939-45, 2,100 built at Speke)
- Blenheim MkV (1939-45, 942 built at Blythe Bridge)
- BeaufighterMkVI F (1939-45, 150 built at Blythe Bridge)
- Beaufighter TF21 (1939-45, 110 built at Blythe Bridge)
- Handley Page Halifax (built at Ryton-on-Dunsmore)
- Sunbeam aero engines were produced during the WWI for Sea planes
and Bristol fighters.
Other Sources of Information
We are working with the following organisations to obtain more
information about the Rootes watime story.
MVT: Military Vehicle Trust
Some war time production figues are available on an
Australian Web site