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Corsica Coachworks was a small coachbuilding business founded just after World War I in Corsica Street, Kings Cross, London. They were builders of true bespoke car bodies employing no in-house designer. They realised clients' designs for them. Almost every Corsica body is unique.

Proprietors

Charles Henry Stammers, Joseph and Robert Lee, (three brothers-in-law) and Albert Wood.

Locations

An alleyway off The Broadway, Cricklewood NW2 by S Smith & Sons and almost under the iron railway bridge over Broadway.

The business was first established in Corsica Street, Highbury N5, which lent its name to the enterprise. They soon moved to Grimaldi Street, Pentonville N1 and a few years later to Cricklewood.

Products

Largely the more sporting type of car but just as the business was closed at the beginning of the war they completed a Rolls-Royce limousine for Princess Marie Louise "and there may have been a few others like it".

Design

Every body would have been unique but a few dealers required short runs of a particular shape. If the owner's ideas on a body shape were too unformed, a contract draughtsman would be called in. The foreman body maker, Bert Skinner, would draw the entire body on plywood hanging on the wall including full-scale sideviews. After the body's frame had been built, the sheet aluminium or Dural would be shaped around it. Wings (mudguards) would be first outlined freehand in wire, then metal shaped to fit.

Employees

At peak:

  • Screenmaking and fittings: 3
  • Paint shop: 4
  • Trimming shop: 3
  • Body shop: up to 7
  • Panel shop: 3
  • wing maker
  • blacksmith

These details have been supplied from memory not records.

Famous clients

Sir Malcolm Campbell, Ford Dagenham, Nico Embiricos, 'Taso' Mathiesen, Colonel Giles, Colonel Sorrel (Bugatti London), Forrest Lycett, Cecil Kimber, Donald Healey

Legacy

The two most important principals, C. H. Stammers and Joseph Lee, died during World War II. Their premises were sold to S Smith & Sons. Robert (Dick) Lee moved to coachbuilders Alpe & Saunders in Kew, then formed FLM Panelcraft in High Street, Putney, moving later to Battersea (Fry, Lee, McNally). They made the bodies for HWM cars, the famous Gulbenkian taxi and the Tulip Wood Hispano-Suiza.