Fate Taken over/Closed (brand still used)
Successor MAN Truck and Bus UK Ltd
Founded 1933
Founder(s) Edwin Richard Foden
Defunct 2007
Headquarters Sandbach, Cheshire, England
Products trucks
Parent MAN Truck and Bus UK Ltd
ERF - MJ 2711 - No.1 of 1933 - in BCVM - 09 - IMG 3860

First ERF Built in 1933 now in the BCVM in Leyland, Lancashire

ERF early model at Sandbach

An early ERF at Sandbach Transport Festival 2008

ERF YMB 39 at Sandbach

An early ERF at Sandbach Transport Festival 2008

3 ages of ERFs at Sandbach

Line up of 3 ages of ERF at Sandbach Transport Festival 2008

ERF 4x2 tractor unit BWF 74T at NMM - IMG 2847

A 1990s ERF 4x2 tractor unit

ERF pair at Belvoir

A Modern ERF tractor unit and semilow-loader trailer giving a lift to an older Rigid chassis version from the 1970s

ERF 6 wheeler&drag


ERF was a British truck manufacturer. Established in 1933 by Edwin Richard Foden, its factory in Sandbach, Cheshire was closed in 2002, and finished as a brand by owner MAN AG in 2007.


Established in 1933 by Edwin Richard Foden, who had left Foden - the company founded by his father - because he believed the future lay in diesel rather than steam power and based in Sandbach in Cheshire, the company made their own chassis and cab with engines from Gardner, Cummins, Perkins, Detroit Diesel and Caterpillar.

ERFs used to be marketed under the Western Star badge in some countries such as Australia. It built a specialist fire engine chassis, with a body built on by in-house company JH Jennings, later Cheshire Fire Engineering. However, when recession came in the early 1980's and production fell from a total output of 4,000 chassis per annum, CFE was sold to management to eventually become Saxon Sanbec.

The company was bought by Canadian truck maker Western Star in 1996. However, after PACCAR's purchase of both DAF Trucks and Leyland Trucks increased competitive pressure, and Western Star was approached by Freightliner corporation, the decision was made to sell ERF.

Purchase by MANEdit

In 2000, ERF became part of MAN. MAN bought the company on the understanding that ERF was profitable, but it was found that its Financial Controller had for years been siphoning monies from the company, and resultantly MAN sued Western Star successfully in the British courts. Freightliner tried to sue Western Star and ERF's former auditors, but failed on technical grounds of corporate negligence [1]

Model RangeEdit

The First ModelsEdit

By 1939 range had grown to include 3 + 4 axle rigid models and a twin axle tractor unit. They also built a twin steer 6 wheeler (3 axle). During the war some were fitted with AEC engines in place of the Gardners.

The Model VEdit

Main article: ERF Model V

The new range designated the model V was introduced after the war in 1948. In 1951 a steel cab was introduced for export markets built by Willenhall Motor Radiator Co..

The KV rangeEdit

Main article: ERF KV range

The KV with a modern oval grill and curved split screen was introduced in 1954.

The LV rangeEdit

{{Main|ERF LV range The LV was introduced in 1962, fitted with fail safe spring brakes, (a first for a British manufacturer).

The A seriesEdit

Main article: ERF A series
TJV 702 J

Wyatt's Transport ERF LV/A series TJV 702J (pictured around 1980)

A New designer in 1972 saw the A series arrive with modular design for mass production. The 34-ton gross A series tractor unit was offered with either a 6-cylinder Cummins, 6-cylinder Rolls Royce Diesel or the 6 & 8-cylinder Gardner engine's. A 38-ton European version was built equipped with a Motor Panels tilting cab.

The B seriesEdit

Main article: ERF B series

The B series was introduced in 1974 with a SP (steel/plastic)cab. It was offered with Gardner, Cummins and Rolls Royce power units. Normally with a 9 speed Fuller transmission, ZF and David Browns were also used. This was the first production ERF to have a tilt cab (for easy access to the engine) It was available in the normal "day cab" configuration and optional "sleeper cab" a very new idea for British trucks in 1974. There was also a smaller M series rigid with the walkthrough cab design (this looked much like the larger B series but had the headlamps in the bumper as opposed to just above) This was lighter duty vehicle. Some were fitted with the Dorman V8 diesel engine, although this was a rare option most had a Gardner power unit.

A large number of day cabbed B series's were retro fitted into sleeper cabs by Jennings Conversions. Jennings built the sleeper bunk area onto the back of the original cab. However these conversions were not as nice as a works sleeper cab, but none the less were a great step up from a plank of wood between the doors as a make do bed! You can identify a Jennings conversion by a plate on the (what was) rear cab panel under the bunk. Due to the coolant header tank and other bits the bunk is about 8" higher up than a genuine sleeper cab. So to gain access to the header tank you would have to lift you bunk up to get to the hatch in the floor or have to tilt the cab. Jennings conversions worked at the rear of the ERF plant in Sandbach.

The C seriesEdit

Main article: ERF C series

The C series was launched in the early 1980's, it was pretty much a revised B series with simular engine choices. The C series was also known as the C40 and the CP series (CP = Common Power) the C series was available with Gardner diesel's, Perkins Eagles and the more common Cummin's diesel. Cummins became one of the the main choices for operators due to the cost of maintainence, sadly the reliability of the later generation Gardner's was not at all good. Some Gardner powered vehicles (E Seires) were even retro fitted with Cummins power by ERF due to poor reliability in there first year of operation. You could still have a C series with a Rolls Royce Eagle Diesel but Perkins bought out Rolls Royce Diesels Devision in around 1984. The RR Eagle then became the Perkins Eagle then the Perkins TX generation was launched very different from the original Eagle but based around the Eagle design.

The D series Edit

ERF chose to jump D series as a model designation due to the popular Ford D-series truck of the 60's and 70's. Hence the E series was the next generation launched.

The E seriesEdit

Main article: ERF E series
ERF E10 325 reg J572 PBF at Donington 09 - IMG 6142small

A Restored ERF E10 325 tractor unit presented at the Donington Park CV show in 2009

ERF E10 325 tractor unit (showmans conversion) reg K338 HUG at Boroughbridge CV 09 - IMG 9078

A ERF E10 325 converted to a Showmans ballasted tractor running the fairground at Boroughbridge Classic Vehicle show 2009

The E series was radical advance over the B and C series, with the introduction of a wrap-a-round dash board as most modern trucks have today. The day cab was still an option early on but the "rest cab" was also available and became the option for most day use vehicles. The sleeper cab was much more driver friendly than previous models. The E series was available with Gardner, Cummins and Perkins Eagle diesel engines.

The ERF logo was relocated to the upper left of the grill and a badge denoting engine size was placed on the lower right of the grill. Models being E9, E10, E12, E14 etc E meaning E series + number denoting the engine size. This idea stayed with the EC series and the New style logo stayed until the last ERF rolled out in 2007 (albeit a rebadged MAN from Austria)

The EC seriesEdit

Main article: ERF EC series
ERF EC14 6x2 at Donnington 09 - IMG 6221small

A ERF EC14 6x2 at Donnington Park CV show in 2009

ERF EC14 - M880 PKN in SE Davis yard - IMG 9153

A ERF EC14 in SE Davis yard

ERF E14 car transporter (Auction) at Donnington 09 - IMG 6182small

A ERF E14 rigid and drawbar trailer unit equipped as a Car Transporter unit in the auction at Donnington Park CV show in 2009

the EC was launched in 1993, it was the last true ERF design prior to being taken over by Western Star, who then did nothing really but own the company. ERF was then sold to MAN of Germany in 2000. This is when EC series production ceased and the company relocated to Middlewich Cheshire.

Final model rangeEdit

ERF's final model range consisted of the ECT, ECM, ECL and ECX built on MAN's production line in Nuremberg (for heavy trucks), and a plant in Middlewich for light trucks (positioned to win a contract from the Ministry of Defence for 8,000 new British Army trucks).

All the recent ERF trucks were based on MAN's existing products, the only difference being that the ERF model came with the option of specifying use of Cummins ISMe power plant as an alternate to MAN's own D20 common rail power-plant. The Middlewich factory was closed by MAN in 2002, with production of the ECT, ECM and ECL units moving to Salzburg, Austria where they are built on the same facilities as their identical MAN counterparts.

In the light of Cummins intransigence on upgrading the ISMe engine to comply with the Euro4 emission regulations, MAN initially took the decision to replace it completely with the new series of MAN D20 engines.[3] With ERF badging only used for the British market, MAN decided to cease the supply of ERF badged trucks from July 2007.

Preserved MachinesEdit

Examples of ERF's early trucks can be found a several truck shows and at Commercial vehicle gatherings and at the steam and tractor rallies which incorporate a commercial vehicle section.

Events with a number of commercial vehicles at them include

Add basic details of individual trucks to the relevant model's page and create a detailed page for the individual truck and more photos under its registration number.


Please add your ERF photos here;

ERF fan and owners clubEdit

The REVS Club is a Owners and fan club for all REF vehicles.

See alsoEdit

Collector & preservation related
  • Shows and Meets add any events you know of to the list
  • Clubs Listing - Add your club or find out about others for any make or machine type
  • Collections - add any collectors with a lists of there machines (these are private collections that appear at shows or have charity / club opendays)
  • Museums List - museums with a tractor or steam or transport collection


  • Article based on the Wikipedia one, with expanded history and model list being added.

External linksEdit

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