Park Ward was a British coachbuilder founded by William M. Park and Charles W. Ward in 1919 who had worked together at F.W. Berwick Ltd., the makers of Sizaire-Berwick cars. The company was based in Willesden, North London.
After producing bodies for a variety of cars in the early 1920s Park Ward became particularly associated with Bentley. In 1922 they were asked by Rolls-Royce to take part in a scheme to make standard bodies for the small Twenty model but the project was abandoned but they did start to build bespoke bodies for Rolls-Royce customers exhibiting a 40-50 model at the British Empire exhibition in 1924. From the mid-1920s the company started to concentrate on Bentley and Rolls-Royce models.
In 1933 Rolls-Royce bought a stake in the company and after the Rolls-Royce take over of Bentley, Park Ward became the first choice of coachwork supplier to Bentley customers.
In the same year, Captain Cuthbert W. Foster, heir to the Bird's Custard fortune, commissioned Park Ward to build a body onto to his newly acquired Bugatti Royale, the fourth car chassis number 41131. Fashioned on a favourite Rolls-Royce he had previously owned, the car is hence known as the Foster car or Limousine Park-Ward. After being acquired in 1963 by Fritz Schlumpf from American Bugatti collector John Shakespeare, the car now resides in the Musée National de l'Automobile de Mulhouse, France alongside Ettore Bugatti's personal "Royale", the Coupe Napoleon.
Rolls Royce ownershipEdit
All-steel bodies were introduced in 1936 alongside the traditional metal on wood frame coachwork. Rolls-Royce acquired the rest of the shares in 1939 and Park Ward became a wholly owned subsidiary. After World War II, Park Ward continued to produce special coachwork and the all-steel technology was used by Rolls-Royce to produce a standard body range on its cars starting with the Bentley Mark VI.
In 1961, Rolls-Royce merged the brand with the newly acquired H. J. Mulliner & Co. to form Mulliner Park Ward. Operations were centralised in the Willesden factory and a range of bodies produced for the Silver Cloud and Phantom V Rolls-Royces and Bentley Continental models.
- A-Z of British Coachbuilders. Nick Walker. Bay View Books 1997. ISBN 1-870979-93-1
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