'The Big Bopper'
The first driver of the Big Bopper was Teddy Martin pictured on the left with drivers mate Jack Bradshaw.
They are pictured here in 1959 while parked up in a lay-by on the A5 near Cannock.
Fitted with crew cab and powered by a Rolls Royce 220 BHP engine the 'Big Bopper' was the flagship vehicle of the Edward Beck fleet for many years but it had a few problems as Teddy Beck recalls below...
"After being in service for a short while we found out that it had a number of design flaws.
One of the main problems was the location of the winch attached to the rear of the chassis which, on reflection, should really have been located up just behind the cab as when it was in operation under heavy load the front axle of the vehicle would tend to lift up and leave contact with the ground.
It remained in service with Edward Beck for almost eight years until 1967 when, while making its way South from Stockport down to Cannock via the M6, a tyre caught fire just before Junction 12 resulting in the vehicle being burnt out and totally written off.
Compare the black and white image above with this digitally-coloured version below.
With many thanks to Gary Luck for taking the time and effort for supplying the superb image.
More of his work can be found here on Flickr.
Seen here parked on Whitworth Street in Manchester in 1960 the 'Big Bopper' was hauling one of the company's tank transporter trailers with a tank on board.
The company did a huge amount of work for the military during the 1950's and early 1960's running mainly out of the huge Burtonwood USAF storage depot near Warrington.
The 'Big Bopper' along with KV Cabbed ERF 4X2 tractor unit Reg No PJA 672 are seen here at the David Brown engineering works near Huddersfield collecting a ships gear box and other parts for export to New Zealand.
Don't forget you can click on any image and can then view it at full size.
To see how this exact location looks today click HERE.
The 'Big Bopper' is seen here about to leave the David Brown engineering works near Huddersfield after collecting a ships gear box destined for New Zealand.
To see this exact location today click HERE.
After loading up at the premises of Daniel Adamson & Co Ltd in December 1965, the 'Big Bopper' negotiates a left turn out of Adamson Street and heads west on to Dewsnap Lane in Dukinfield.
Destined for Middlesbrough docks this was one of the biggest loads ever to cross the Pennines at that time.
The load, 121 foot long, was a welded steel pressure column built for the Arabian-American oil refinery in Saudi Arabia.
For more information click Destination Saudi Arabia
The 'Big Bopper is at the rear of the convoy as group of Edward Beck's drivers and mates take time out for a photograph next to this impressive line up of Edward Beck & Son Ltd low loaders.
Pictured parked opposite the depot on Greg Street they are loaded with reels of high tensile steel overhead electric cable.
Each cable drum contained 3 miles of overhead weighing 32 tons and were manufactured by The Whitecross Company Ltd for export to Scandinavia.
You can see this exact location today by clicking HERE.
Picture No 3. After it's long journey from the Whessoe Engineering works at Darlington the 'Big Bopper' parks up en route to Liverpool docks beside the A580 East Lancs Road.
L to R is Edward Beck's wife Sarah Anne, Teddy Becks wife Irene and Edward Beck while Teddy Beck was behind the lens taking the photograph.
'The Big Bopper' is seen here while laid over on the A34 at Cheadle awaiting a police escort before proceeding down to the West Midlands.
The red car parked at the rear was Teddy Beck's Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato that he bought new in October 1962 at a cost of £5,210 from Hersham and Walton Motors in Walton on Thames.
Parked up in Greg Street Depot the 'Big Bopper' is seen here coupled to a lowloader conected to a dolly trailer.
As mentioned earlier these little dolly trailers came in handy as they enabled trailers in the fleet to be hauled by either tractor unit's or prime movers.
Below is a selection of photographs showing the 'Big Bopper' in action while making it's way through the suburbs of Manchester in 1967.
The first picture shows the load after it had just negotiated the traffic island at the junction of the A57 Hyde Road and the A6 Ardwick Green South.
This great period shot, best viewed at full size by clicking on the picture, was taken in 1967 and shows the 'Big Bopper' hauling a 100 foot long crane gantry section heading east down the B1308 Monks Road in Lincoln.
One of a total of eight sections destined for Scunthorpe steelworks this route was taken due to tight turns and narrow roads in and around Lincoln and required a figure eight route through the city to get on to the north bound A15.
The photograph was taken by the late John Charles Walker who sadly passed away in 2005.
John took this image on a 35mm Kodak Kodachrome transparency slide and it was kindly sent in by his son James.
It would not have been long after this photograph was taken that the 'Big Bopper' came to grief after a fire as can be seen in the images below.
Another shot showing the 'Big Bopper' hauling a 100 foot long crane gantry section destined for Scunthorpe steelworks as it heads east down the B1308 Monks Road in Lincoln.
The two tall chimney stacks in the top right hand corner of the picture belonged to the long gone Lincoln power station.
This superb period shot, taken from a 35mm Kodak Kodachrome transparency slide, was taken in 1967 by the late John Charles Walker who sadly passed away in 2005.
Photograph courtesy of his son James Walker.
This was all that remained of Edward Beck's S20 Foden heavy duty 6x4 ballast tractor Reg No ODB 793 after it caught fire just before Junction 12 of the M6 while making its way South from Stockport down to Cannock in 1967.
The fire unfortunately spread rapidly resulting in the vehicle being completely burnt out and written off.
The burnt out remains were later sold on and it was totally rebuilt with a new day cab by Fred Thompson of Macclesfield then used as a recovery vehicle by Staveley Lime Products Transport Division after which time it was sold on to S.P. Carter of Baldrine on the Isle of Man.
It worked on the island for a number of years until returning to the mainland when it was purchased by Chris Bennett of Stockport in 1997 who was going to restore the vehicle back to its former glory.
In November 2011, and still in need of restoration, it was up for sale by auction at Horwich near Bolton by Jones Lang LaSalle Machinery and Business Assets Limited under its original Reg No ODB 793 but failed to meet it's over the top reserve price.
After being purchased at auction for £9,800 on the 22nd of April 2017 Foden S20 Reg No ODB 793 is seen here aboard a low-loader as it heads away from Cheffins Auctioneers at Ely in Cambridgeshire.
Actually all that remains of the original vehicle are the two chassis side members and the rear winch, which in reality makes it nothing at all like the original Foden that entered service with Edward Beck back in 1959.
In April 2020 after three years of painstaking restoration by William Sheldon Foden S20 Reg No ODB 793 finally emerged from the workshop looking ready for the road and rather splendid in this maroon livery.
Photograph courtesy of William Sheldon.