The original restoration of 556 had been undertaken some 40 years before the vehicle was placed on loan with TV&GWOT but by then there was damage to panelling and external signs that the framing was deteriorating, requiring remediation.

Offside panel edge cover mouldings separating due to hidden deterioration of timber in body pillar Rear offside upper corner with body filler separation – remove filler & reshape corner. Rear nearside lower corner – remove filler & reshape corner Nearside lower panel damage  Phase 2

The 556 Appeal was launched in June 2020 for TV&GWOT to acquire 556 and undertake the necessary restoration.

Thanks to generous and enthusiastic support for the appeal, 556 was driven to the restoration in the August for the specialist work to commence.  The first step was to remove the lower body panels to reveal the framing condition – timber cores within the aluminium pillars were generally sound (so window pans did not need to be removed) but signs of accident damage were uncovered which needed rectification.  The cause of distortion and movement around the driver’s cab, wheel arches and rear corners was confirmed to be rotten timber, underlining the importance and timeliness of the restoration.  Subsequent investigation revealed decay around the blind box area and across the back dome, adding to the restoration tasks.

A detailed write-up of the findings and work undertaken is included in the Final Push Appeal leaflet.

The gallery below shows the initial condition and work at various stages of progress demonstrating the quality of this vital work to secure 556’s long-term survival.

By summer 2021 the main bodywork restoration and external repaint were complete but extended COVID restrictions set plans for a July celebration of the TVTCo. Centenary back another year, and with it the opportunity to showcase 556.  The setback was turned to an opportunity to make a Final Push Appeal to include the internal refurbishment, reinstating the correct style of early 1950s’ ECW seating and moquette that 556 carried when new.  Please consider making a donation to support this.

Restoration commenced by stripping lower body panels

Severe rot revealed at the lower end of the driver’s door pillar, in the wheel arch framing and in the front offside pillar (early September 2020).

Further investigation (late September 2020) uncovered near total loss of timber around the blind box. The re-timbered blind box and new cab pillars (December 2020). A view of the rebuilt cab and blind box showing off-side panelling underway (February 2021)
The blind box and cove panels reinstated (April 2021) Cab and door framing complete (January 2021) Corresponding nearside re-panelling (February 2021)

Timbers in the rear roof were found to have been badly affected by water ingress so have been replaced and primed ready for panelling.

The timber infill to two aluminium pillars had disintegrated and has been replaced.
The framing around both rear wheel arches needed replacing.

Accident damage to the boot lower lip had been

covered by an over-sized capping, protruding


The rebuilt framing (November 2020) has

restored the correct alignment.

Nearside re-panelling underway (February 2021).

New boot doors were framed and panelled (May 2021) …..repainting underway with nearside panels in undercoat, rear in gloss … and then the rear window with new rubber reinstated.
Rebuilt and prepared for painting (April 2021) Repainting the nearside progressing from under-coat to top (June 2021) Re-instating the side windows – in action.
Emerging from the restoration workshop Showing off offside and rear angles And the sleek nearside view

All images © Colin Billington


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Company Registered in England No. 5035702.  Registered Charity No. 1125980