Registration No. 4554F (not currently registered and thought not road legal)
Chassis No. Unknown
Engine No. 60158
Grey in parts. Driven from behind the ears!

This remarkable machine was the brainchild of the engineer Frank Stuart of Thaxsted in Essex who was quite an expert in a number of theatrical requirements. Thought to have been built in around 1949 Mr Stuart, who specialised in hydraulic developments, decided to demostrate the use of hydraulics in traction movement by building the elephants. It is thought that three were built, Nellie, Potsy and Jumbo. The power unit is a 10hp Ford side valve unit driving its own gearbox and back axle assembly. Essentially the legs are driven to pivot in a small arc which simulates the four legged walk of a real elephant. At the base of each leg there is wheel with a thick solid rubber tyre and motion is created by an ingenious system of hydraulics which brakes the wheel, enabling Nellie to walk forwards. Included in the sale are some quite comprehensive instructions of operation and a useful working drawing of Potsy by Frank Stuart, amongst other interesting articles of history and information. .

The early history of Nellie is unknown although by the late 1950s she was in Essex before becoming owned by The London Tyre company who were taken over by Goodyear. They fully recommisioned the elephant and used it for some demonstrations before selling her to the Ilfracombe Council for part of their holiday amusements. From there she went to the Sandy Bay Holiday Camp in Exmouth. Nellie was last used, we believe, in 1984 when demonstrated on the BBC Pebble Mill At One programme. Sadly, she has been somewhat neglected since then and will require careful restoration and a new skin before returning to the urban jungle!


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