Abbey Panels Ltd.

Abbey Panels Ltd
Industry Automotive and Aerospace
Founded 1941
Founders Edward Loades FRSA,[1] Les Bean, Bill Woodhall, and Ernie Wilkinson (Company Secretary)
Headquarters Exhall, Coventry, United Kingdom
Key people

Tony Loades, President Robert Loades, Chairman Aart van der Temple, Director (Netherlands)

John Carolan, Engineering Director
Products Coachbuilder

Abbey Panels Ltd., originally known as Abbey Panels & Sheet Metal Co. Ltd., was a Warwickshire based coachbuilding company founded on Abbey Road, Nuneaton in 1941, initially assembling Supermarine Spitfires for the war effort. The early partners were Edward Loades FRSA, Les Bean, Bill Woodhall and Ernie Wilkinson.[2] As the business grew they expanded to Old Church Road, Coventry before having their main manufacturing plant on the well known Bayton Road Industrial Estate in Exhall. In 1967,[2] Ted Loades listed the business on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and it became known as Loades PLC, with Abbey Panels its main brand, alongside Albany Zinc (castings), Loades Dynamics (machining) and Descartes Design (car styling), and it then went on to be run by Ted's sons, Tony Loades and Robert Loades.

The company specialised in producing handmade prototype car bodies and did so for Ford, Rover,[3][4] MG,[5] Lea Francis,[6] Jaguar, Bristol Cars, Healey,[7] Lotus, Aston Martin, Bentley, Rolls Royce,[8] BMW, Buick,[9] and Lincoln, being responsible for the bodywork of cars such as the Le Mans winning Ford GT40,[10][11][12][13] numerous Jaguars (XK120,[14] C-type,[15] D-type,[16] E-type,[17] XJ13,[18] XJ220,[19][20] XK180),[21] the original Mark I Land Rover Station Wagon,[22]Jim Clark's Lotus 38[23] and Stirling Moss's 1957 Pescara Grand Prix winning Vanwall.[24] They also produced parts for the Aerospace industry, including, for example, the Rolls-Royce Pegasus engine duct of the Harrier Jump Jet.[25]

In 2002 Loades PLC stopped most of its manufacturing and began a phased closure of the Abbey Panels plant in Coventry, although some of the same craftsmen work on the same site. Loades PLC continued to run their aerospace engineering and machining company for a period of time, and refocused their efforts on redeveloping their industrial properties[26] under the Loades Ecoparc brand.


  1. Loades, Edward (9 October 1972). "Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce". RSA Certificate.
  2. 1 2 Skilleter, Paul. "THE EDWARD LOADES STORY". Jaguar Magazine.
  3. Bobbitt, Malcolm (1994). Rover P4. 4,110: Veloce Publishing Ltd.
  4. Gould, Mike (2015). Rover Group: Company and Cars, 1986-2000. The Crowood Press.
  5. Knowles, David (2013). MG V8. The Crowood Press.
  6. Price, Barrie (1998). The Lea-Francis Story. Veloce Publishing Ltd.
  7. Gunnell, John (2004). Standard Guide to British Sports Cars. Krause Publications. p. 77.
  8. Hull, Graham (2014). Inside the Rolls-Royce & Bentley Styling Department 1971 to 2001. Veloce Publishing Ltd. p. 114.
  9. Automotive Engineering, Volume 96. Society of Automotive Engineers. 1988.
  10. Richardson, Clive (December 1975). "Rejuvenating-GT40s". Motor Sport magazine archive. p. 48. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  11. Legate, Trevor (2002). Ford GT40: Production & Racing History. Veloce Publishing Ltd.
  12. Friedman, Dave (2015). Ford GT: How Ford Silenced the Critics, Humbled Ferrari & Conquered Le Mans. Quarto Publishing Group. p. 29.
  13. Oleski, Frank. Gericke's 100 Jahre Sportwagen: 1905 - 2005 ; einhundert Jahre ... Vertrieb Pressehandel. p. 225.
  14. Laban, Brian (2016). Classic Jaguar XK: The 6-Cylinder Cars 1948 - 1972. The Crowood Press.
  15. Road and Track, Volume 45. CBS Publications. 1993. p. 106.
  16. Frankel, Andrew (August 2014). "Norman's conquest". Motor Sport magazine archive. p. 90. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  17. Wood, Jonathan (1990). Jaguar E Type: The Complete Story. The Crowood Press Ltd.
  18. Wilson, Peter (2011). XJ13 - The Definitive Story of the Jaguar Le Mans Car. Paul Skilleter Books/PJ Books.
  19. Bailey, Tony. "Jag-lovers brochures - an XJ220 Press Pack page".
  20. Moreton, Mike (2010). Jaguar XJ220: The Inside Story. Veloce Publishing Ltd. p. 81.
  21. Thorley, Nigel (2015). You & Your Jaguar XK/XKR: Buying, Enjoying, Maintaining, Modifying. Veloce Publishing Ltd. p. 62.
  22. James, Taylor (5 January 1988). The Land-Rover: A Collector's Guide 1948-1984. p. 19.
  23. Brown, Allen. "Lotus 38 car-by-car histories".
  24. Williams, Richard (2005). The Last Road Race. W&N. p. 94.
  25. "Flight Global Archive" (PDF). Flight Global Magazine.
  26. "FE Investegate |Loades PLC Announcements | Loades PLC: Closure of Abbey Panels Ltd".

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/2/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.