North Walsham & District Community Archive

Duncan Industries (Engineers) Ltd. The Duncan Healey "Drone", a competition 2-seater. - North Walsham Photograph

Duncan Industries (Engineers) Ltd. The Duncan Healey "Drone", a competition 2-seater. - North Walsham Photograph

North Walsham Archive Item ....

(1947 / North Walsham, Norfolk)

The Duncan Drone
With the Duncan Alvis and the Duncan Healey costing well over 1,000, Duncan Industries were badly hit when, on June 17th 1947, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Hugh Dalton, announced that all cars costing more than 1,000 would be subjected to 66/ per cent purchase tax. This meant that the Duncan Alvis would cost 2,205 (including 792 tax!), and the Duncan Healey 2,876!.......very high prices for that time.

Ian Duncans answer to the tax man was the Duncan Drone which, according to Ian Duncan, was born in Park Hall one evening over some excellent whisky with Healeys James Watt. The idea was to build a skimpy body on a Healey chassis which would sell for a shade under 1,000, and so avoid the high level of tax of course, at this price the passenger seat, windscreen and spare wheel were all extras!

The first car appeared three weeks later, finished in a bright yellow and nicknamed the Spiv. Powered by a 2.4 litre engine it was capable of 116 mph. In April 1948 Gordon Wilkins tested the car for The Autocar magazine and wrote:getting into the Spiv, as it first emerged, was rather like putting on a tin sarong and the luggage space was slight there was just room for a pair of pyjamas provided that you wore them under your coat! Wilkins also drove the Spiv in the BoNess Hill Climb in September 1947 and it came first in its class.

There were, in all, about 15 Duncan Drones built over the twelve month period and, in at least three cases, more expensive coach work was fitted soon after purchase an ingenious way round the purchase tax laws.

RMLing. 2009.

Photograph. Duncan Industries (Engineers) Ltd. The Duncan Healey "Drone", a competition 2-seater. (North Walsham Archive).

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Tags: duncan industries | engineers | duncan healey | drone | car | transport | vehicle | industry | new road | pound road | forties |


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