1969 Foden S36-8 Flatbed Lorry
In 1856 Edwin Foden became apprenticed to the agricultural equipment manufacturing company of Plant & Hancock. He left the company for an apprenticeship at Crewe Railway Works but returned to Plant & Hancock at the age of 19. Shortly afterwards he became a partner in the company. On the retirement of George Hancock in 1887 the company was renamed Edwin Foden Sons & Co. Ltd. The company produced massive industrial engines, as well as small stationary steam engines and agricultural traction engines.
Edwin Foden's great innovation was the development of a practical and highly efficient compound steam unit. From this time on the majority of steam power units produced by the firm benefitted from the use of this design. Experimental steam lorries were first produced shortly after the turn of the 20th century. This work led to the design of the successful vehicle that was entered into the 1901 War Office trials. The Foden vehicle came second to a Thornycroft wagon but was nevertheless regarded by most commentators as a clear winner (the result was questioned in Parliament). This model was the basis for a highly successful line of vehicles which were produced over the next 30 years.
Edwin's son, E.R., saw the future lay in diesel power. In 1931, he was removed from the board of directors for advocating diesel over steam, and subsequently retired. However, his son Dennis, George Faulkener, and Ernest Sherratt (all Foden employees) decided to design a new diesel wagon. To help finance the venture, Edwin Richard Foden was persuaded to come out of retirement and head a new company. This eventually became known as ERF.
In 1980, Foden was acquired by the American firm PACCAR, and is now a division of that company. After the takeover of Leyland Trucks by PACCAR in 1998, independent Foden production ceased, and was replaced by models of DAF Trucks rebadged as Fodens (DAF Trucks having been acquired by PACCAR in 1996). These vehicles have had the option of either CAT, PACCAR or Cummins ISMe engines.
In 2005, it was announced by PACCAR that Foden production was likely to cease in 2006. The reason given was that Foden production would be terminated to release manufacturing capacity at Leyland Trucks to allow for increased volume of DAF brand trucks.
The last Foden was produced in July 2006, putting an end to 150 years of Foden truck manufacturing.
The final vehicle to roll off the production line at the factory in Leyland, United Kingdom was an 8x4 rigid, which was delivered to the nearby British Commercial Vehicle Museum.