The Albion Motor Car Company of Glasgow (renamed Albion Motors in 1930) built their first commercial vehicle around 1905 and quickly established a reputation for quality and reliability: their motto was Sure as the Sunrise. During the twenties a number of long-lived models was introduced, and while Albions were old-fashioned, their well-tried and trusted designs were preferred by many operators.
|They sold well in Ireland, the agents for years being Thompson's of Dublin, who had a garage at the junction of Lower Abbey Street and Beresford Place, where a modern office building now stands. Following acquisition by Leyland in 1951, Albion models were progressively phased out, although the names from certain models remained until 1972.
The Albion 50cwt. (2.5ton) pictured above, model LC24, was sold new to Taylor Keith's, Mineral Water Manufacturers, and registered ZI 504 on 4th July 1927. It has a 4-cylinder 29.8hp petrol engine, 4-speed gearbox and worm rear axle with brakes on the rear wheels only. It originally had solid tyres, but these were replaced by pneumatics during the 30s.
The serious petrol shortage of the Second World War caused the withdrawal of the Albion, its engine being removed to drive machinery at the factory. However, when normality returned, the engine was put back in and ZI 504 continued in service to 1957 when it was withdrawn but not scrapped. Mr. Noel Taylor, who had great affection for it, bought it and kept it at his house in Tonlegee Road, Coolock for some time; around this time it was used in the James Cagney film about Michael Collins, Shake Hands With The Devil.
In 1962 the Albion, which had weathered badly, was donated to the Museum and stored until 1969 when it was converted back to solid tyres and rebuilt for its important role in the film Ryan's Daughter. Shortly afterwards it appeared in Flight of the Doves, the children's film based on the Walter Macken story.
On display in Howth since 1986, ZI 504 was used in a second film about Michael Collins RTE's The Treaty, in 1991. In 1995, its connection with The Big Fellow was further strengthened by its appearance in the blockbuster film Michael Collins.