The small East Cornwall firm of M. G. Rowe (Motors) Ltd., made an entry into the PSV chassis market in 1953, when the managing director, Mr. Maurice Rowe, who had visited the 1952 Earls Court Commercial Motor Show and taken an instant liking to the new Meadows 4DC engine, had one delivered and immediately set to work designing a chassis around it.
The name Hillmaster was given to the prototype front-engined lightweight chassis with a relatively long wheelbase that emerged. Transmission was via a single dry-plate clutch to a Meadows five-speed overdrive-top gearbox and a three-piece propeller shaft to a fully floating hypoid-driven axle.
The resulting chassis was road-tested in Cornwall in late 1953 and later delivered to Whitson’s of London for bodying.
The chassis, however, never ran commercially, since Maurice Rowe had decided that an underfloor position for the engine was the way forward. Rowe’s engineers turned the engine over, relocating the sump and adopting an offset crankshaft and angled transmission.
The revised chassis was announced to the transport world in September 1954. The Whitson body was now mounted on the revised chassis and registered TAF587, the vehicle entering service with Rowe’s own coach company the same year.
The vehicle in appearance resembled very much a Bedford SB, with very little front overhang and with a forward entrance behind the front wheel, although the next production chassis featured a forward extension of the chassis frame permitting an entrance ahead of the front wheel.
The final three PSV Hillmasters were for Morlais Motor Services of Merthyr Tydfil in 1957 and 1958, before the company’s bankers unexpectedly called in the receivers in 1960 with the company just £3000 in debt.
In 1963 the business was wound up and the assets sold off. Although only 5 Hillmasters were sold on the PSV market, 115 Hillmaster chassis were built as goods vehicles, making a grand total of 120.
|Chassis No.||Reg. No.||Body||Seating||Operator||Fleet No.|
The chassis number is unknown, as with the later vehicle (TAF587) it probably had none.
# Operated on trade plates (521RL).
*Probably the engine number. It is reported that this vehicle had no official chassis number. Withdrawn in 1974; to Davidstow Riding School; scrapped by 1977.
|C/H100||WRL16||Reading||B44F||Millbrook Steamboat & Trading Company||–|
Withdrawn 1968; to Selleck, Nichols & Williams, St. Austell, withdrawn 1970; to West of England Transport Collection, Winkleigh, 1972; to the Herefordshire Transport Collection by 1990.
|B44F||Morlais Motor Services, Merthyr||23|
|B44F||Morlais Motor Services, Merthyr||24|
Withdrawn 1964 (No. 24 broken up for spares by then).
|B44F||Morlais Motor Services,|
Withdrawn 1965 and to Moseley (dealer), presumed scrapped.