Harrington gathering

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Harrington’s stylish ‘dorsal fin’ design is evident on this 1950 AEC regal delivered to Soudley Valley Motors. TMW

Participants are invited to an event celebrating one of the most stylish coachbuilders of the 1950s and ‘60s, reports Nick Larkin

Owners and enthusiasts of Harrington-bodied vehicles are invited to a gathering paying tribute to the legendary Sussex-based coachbuilder this coming spring. Expect to see not only some of the most stylish coach and bus bodywork ever made but cars too.

Established in Brighton in 1897, Thomas Harrington was a highly respected coachbuilder moving to its art-deco style Sackville Works in Hove in 1930. The following decade saw the unique streamlined ‘dorsal fin’ bodywork launched. The ‘fin’ at the rear of the roof was meant to increase rear seat headroom and later had a ventilator to expel cigarette smoke. The last vehicles with this feature were sold in 1958.


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The Cavalier and Grenadier, set the pace for coach design in the 1960s but the Robins & Day Group, which had take over Harrington in 1960s, decided to close the company and concentrate on its car sales operations. Harrington had also produced a GT fastback version of the Sunbeam Alpine car and also modified Triumph TRs.

Roger Thomas, representing Harrington owners and helping organise the 2023 Gathering, said: “Entries from Cornwall to Lancashire are already confirmed to attend, and on display will be the products of what was arguably the finest coachbuilder of the 20th century. This will range from pre-war products, some with the dorsal fins, through to the very last designs produced by the factory – lovingly restored in honour of Harrington and the operators which bought them.”

The gathering takes place at Transport Museum Wythall on 23 May 2023. TMW Trustee Denis Chick said: “It’s an honour for TMW to stage a Harrington gathering, and who can’t fail to be impressed by the design of these wonderful machines.”

Owners can register their vehicles via [email protected].

True 1960s style with this Harrington Grenadier body on an AEC Reliance chassis. TMW
A superb period-style
poster for next year’s event. TMW
Harrington also made cars, such as this Sunbeam Alpine with fastback body by Harrington. TMW