Saturday, October 15, 2016

P J Evans of Birmingham - Triumph car dealers 23

This is the 23rd article in my series about Triumph car dealers and features Birmingham dealer P J Evans Ltd.

The early years of P J Evans

1913 advert
An advert from a November 1913 copy of "The Light Car and Cyclecar" shows P J Evans branding themselves as "the Birmingham house for small car". This is the earliest mention of them selling Standard cars that I have found.  P J Evans held the Standard franchise from 1912. Like many other car dealers P J Evans started out selling and servicing motorcycles as well as cars.

P J Evans - John Bright Street Birmingham in 1913
P J Evans - John Bright Street Birmingham in 1913

Advert for P J Evans - 1916
Advert for P J Evans - 1916
In 1927 when Bill Lyons, founder of Swallow Sidecar was looking for a Birmingham based dealer to sell his version of the Austin Seven. P J Evans was already an established and prospering dealership in the Midlands and was the perfect partner for Lyons. Together with Lyons’ prestige cars and Evans’ expertise they we able to offer a personalised and tailored service to their customers.

Mr Evans was died in a airplane crash not long into that partnership was set up. He had been flying back from the French Touring Car Grand Prix and as his children were too young to take over the business, P J Evans was sold to rivals Steeley and Rodway.

Throughout the 1930s, the business continued to flourish and grew to be one of the largest dealers in the Midlands. Selling the leading brands of the day including Austin, Bean, Daimler, Fiat, Morris, Rover Standard and Sunbeam.

The firm survived the second world war by concentrating on serving and selling used cars.

1954 advert for Swallow Doretti

Death of Mr Stanley Rodway

The death of Mr Stanley Rodway, Managing Director, was reported in the Standard Triumph Review February 1959. The report noted that Mr Norman Steeley had died some 18 months earlier. Standard Triumph were represented by Michael Whitfield, General Sales Director; Mr F E Higham, Home Sales Director and Mr J B L Savery. Mr SK Ridley and Mr J B Parker were appointed Joint Managing Directors of P J Evans Ltd.

P J Evans grows to be Evans Halshaw

As the business grew it acquired Rolls Royce and Bentley dealerships. This allowed the company to list its shares on the Birmingham Stock Exchange. P J Evans expanded rapidly with a number of smaller acquisitions. During this growth, would-be-buyers took an interest and eventually LCP: a small West Midlands Conglomerate whose main business was coal distribution, property and car seat manufacturing backed the prospering dealership.

With this financial backing PJ Evans were able to acquire its first Ford Dealership in 1977, with four more joining the group over the following two years.

1978 saw P J Evans make it’s most lucrative purchase of the Halshaw Group: a private company that owned the Halifax Motor Company and Bradshaws Motor House. This promoted the change in name to Evans Halshaw, and the beginning of their rapid growth.

1990s – Largest Automotive Retailer in the UK

Evans Halshaw continued to add to their portfolio of businesses throughout the 1990's. In 1999, Pendragon PLC acquired the Evans Halshaw group for £83.7 million, creating the largest automotive retailer in the UK. Evans Halshaw continued to grow, benefiting from Pendragon's long term relationships with its manufactures.

Today 2016, Evans Halshaw is said to be the largest volume selling car retailer in the UK with over 120 dealerships nationwide.

Sill plates and glove box plate

P J Evans glove box plate
1960 Sill plate

The glove box plate appears to be the same as the sill plate.

Rear window sticker

This reproduction rear window sticker is currently available from the I Say Ding Dong website.

1959 P J Evans Sales Invoice

Here is a copy of a sales invoice dated 7 September for the Triumph Herald saloon currently owned by Rich Philpot. £720.00 for the car including tax and delivery, the sort of money you can spend on a big service on a modern car.

In the Bull Ring Birmingham

P J Evans sale exhibit in the Bull Ring Birmingham 1966
P J Evans sale exhibit in the Bull Ring Birmingham 1966
P J Evans had a display in the Centre Court of the Bull Ring shopping centre in Birmingham. It ran for 10 days from 9th May 1966. According to the sales manager Charles Watson several cars were sold.    
P J Evans sale exhibit in the Bull Ring Birmingham 1966 image 2
P J Evans sale exhibit in the Bull Ring Birmingham 1966 image 2

Sales Service Week

Between 10th and 14th March 1969 the Granville Street branch of P J Evans staged a Sales and Service Week promotion assisted by staff from Standard Triumph HQ.

P J Evans branches

P J Evans (SuttonColdfield) Ltd in 1967
P J Evans (Sutton Coldfield) Ltd in 1967

The firm had garages in many West Midlands towns including Sutton Coldfield, West Bromwich and Dudley.
P J Evans West Bromwich advert May 1977
P J Evans West Bromwich advert May 1977
P J Evans Dudley advert 1982
P J Evans Dudley advert 1982

P J Evans in Sutton Coldfield

P J Evans of Sutton Coldfield on Birmingham Road c1965
P J Evans of Sutton Coldfield on Birmingham Road c1965
On the right is the showroom of P.J.Evans (Triumph dealer) hence Triumphs everywhere. The building had been a wedding dress shop called Red Rose, a Blockbuster video shop and most recently a Morrison's Express but is currently vacant.
Site of the P J Evans Sutton Coldfield showroom
Site of the P J Evans Sutton Coldfield showroom
Site of the P J Evans Sutton Coldfield showroom standing empty in 2018 with the Triumph Vitesse belonging to Ray Prichard in the foreground.
P J Evans (Sutton Coldfield) Ltd Advert
P J Evans (Sutton Coldfield) Ltd Advert

Triumph dealers in Birmingham

Birmingham being a large city has had many Standard Triumph dealers for example in 1955:
P J Evans Ltd, 81-91 John Bright Street, B1.
Service Depot: Granville Street, 15.
Archers (Shirley) Ltd., Stratford Road, Shirley, 28.
Arnold Genders & Co. Ltd., 38 Alcester Road South King's Heath, 14.
Cranmore Bros Ltd, 4 Anderson Road, Edgbaston. 17.
Service Department: Cranmore Bros. Ltd., 467 Hagley Road.
Crowder & Brown Ltd, South Road Garage. Handsworth. 19.
Frank Grounds Ltd, 186 Lichfield Road, Aston, 6.
Geo Taylor, Small Heath Garage, 442/444 Coventry Road, Small Heath, 10.
Harold Goodwin (1944) Ltd., Wolverhampton Road, Quinton, 32.
Greyhound Service (Kings Heath) Ltd, 283 Alcester Road South, 14.
Hamstead Garage, Old Walsall Road, Hamstead, 22.
Hunts (Birmingham) Ltd, Sales: 49 Broad Street. - Service: 199 Hagley Road, Edgbaston, 16.
Hydes (B'ham.) Ltd, Bath Row.
Leslie Matthews Ltd., 91/97 Bristol Street, 5.
Patrick Motors Ltd, 479 Bristol Road, Bournebrook, 29.
Robin Hood Garage (B'ham.) Ltd, Stratford Road, Hall Green, 28.
Salford Bridge Garage Ltd, Tyburn Road, Erdington, 24.
Swan Motors, Coventry Road, Yardley, 26.
Winchurch Bros. Ltd, Edgbaston Garage, Sandon Road, 17.

Plea for more information

If you have any more information or recollections about P J Evans, photos of window stickers, dealer badges or sill plates etc please let me know. I can be contacted via the comments to this post or on facebook at

Further information and sources

Link to a post about All Electric Garage .

Link to post about Cramore Bros Ltd

Link to the other articles in this series.

Link to my Triumph Car Dealers Flickr group .

You can download a copy of the Triumph Sales and Service Directory 1968-69 which started me off on the search for info about Triumph car dealers.

I have a collection of Standard Triumph car dealer directories:

Picture credits: Early adverts from Graces Guide; P J Evans glove box plate John Kelly; 1960Sill Plate Bof Herald; P J Evans of Sutton Coldfield on Birmingham Road c1965 + Site of the P J Evans Sutton Coldfield showroom  image from Ray Prichard; P J Evans (Sutton Coldfield) Ltd Advert from Jonathan Barton on facebook.
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