A YORKSHIREMAN who has lovingly restored an Austin 10 van first used by a Powys electrical business in 1936 is appealing for help as he hopes to complete his project by reuniting the van with its original number plate.

Ted Bellamy purchased ‘Herbie’ from a fellow classic motoring enthusiast in Aberystwyth six years ago – at the time its condition was described by Ted as “a heap of sticks”.

Over time though, he has fully restored it and, as you can see from these pristine pictures, it is now in magnificent condition.

The remarkable comeback looks complete…but there is one minor issue left to fix.

“I’ve been trying to get hold of the original number plate, which is FO 3344,” said Ted, who lives in York.

“I followed the van from when it belonged to the Edwards family in the 1930s, but I can’t tie up the paperwork with the chassis and registration numbers; the DVLA won’t allow the original number to be resurrected at the moment.

County Times:  'Herbie' when Ted first took delivery of him 'Herbie' when Ted first took delivery of him

“I didn’t have any paperwork with it when I bought it. I did some digging and got hold of the original registration copy from Powys’ registration office archives. So, I have the history of the vehicle but the DVLA are extremely strict about the information they hand out.”

Herbie’s current number plate is SXS 654 but Ted is hoping someone living locally may recognise the van or have an older relative who does, so that the painstaking project can finally be completed.

Ted introduced Herbie to the Llandrindod Solutions Facebook page last September – complete with his dashing blue livery and ‘R V Edwards (Electrical)’ Llandrindod Wells lettering, pictured on his driveway.

He posted, hoping to court the attention of motoring memorabilia collectors. “I know this is a very, very long shot but someone in the area may have old log books or tax discs that would help in restoring the original number to this historic vehicle,” he said.

Ted has done some fine detective work to trace the van all the way back to Rhayader 86 years ago, with the van belonging to R V Edwards (Electrical), of Llandrindod Wells, who bought the van from Lewis and Lloyd, in Rhayader, in March 1936.

County Times: 'Herbie' has been lovingly restored by Ted Bellamy, who has traced its history back to Powys in the 1930s

“Herbie, an Austin 10 van, was originally purchased by R V W Edwards on March 27, 1936, from Lewis and Lloyd of East Street, Rhayader,” said the retired amateur sleuth.

“It was used to deliver goods from Mr Edwards’ electrical business. Colin Edwards was quoted in a BBC article in 2005 describing the van’s use during World War I as a loudspeaker van, it was used to transport batteries for the searchlight units.

“By the late 1950s records show the van was owned by Colin and may later have been stored at the Automobile Palace in Llandrindod.

“From there it was found in an orchard at a farm in Llangammarch Wells, having been purchased by a Bertie Ellis, before it was then bought by a friend of mine in Aberystwyth in the 1970s. He started the restoration of Herbie in 1973 but never finished it.

“It had laid silent and forgotten until I bought it in 2017 from him. Both he and myself are members of an Austin 10 drivers’ club and he decided he needed to pass it on.

County Times: 'Herbie' has been lovingly restored by Ted Bellamy, who has traced its history back to Powys in the 1930s

“With Austin 10s a lot of people would have broken them up and passed parts on. There are not many about, and most that are, are converted. Herbie is one of very few remaining in the UK, there are about 40 or 50 left altogether, which is quite rare.

“My friend wanted someone to take it on as a project. I saw the advert and we came to an agreed price. He brought it up to me in York, so it’s travelled a fair distance.

“I started work and got it finished in 2021. When it was delivered it was a heap of sticks compared to what it is now.”

Ted is so tantalisingly close to completing Herbie’s history. Can you help him? If so, get in touch with Ted by emailing him at organgrinder238@talktalk.net.