Curbside Classic: Lloyd LS400 on Tank Tracks

My wife and recently completed a road trip along the “British Columbia North Circle Route” with a side stop in Stewart which among its many charms has a rare to see Lloyd LS400 mounted on tracks.

This was yesterday’s clue and amazingly commenter 63bit identified it as a “1955 Lloyd LS 400 Kombi”. I am less sure about the year (I had narrowed it down to 1954-1957) but maybe they know something I do not.

photo credit –

The Lloyd 400 was a small car that replaced the rather crude Lloyd 300 in 1953. Its two cylinder, air-cooled, two stroke engine was increased in size to 386cc to produce 13hp yielding a top speed of 75 km/h (46.6 mph). The transmission was a three speed column shift. The model prefix told you what body style it was with LP for sedan, LK for panel van or LS for estate or kombi like our example. With a steel roof rather than wood covered with synthetic leather we can tell that this is later example dating from 1954-1957. The early cars also had cable rather than hydraulic brakes.

The Lloyd 600 and Lloyd Alexander were produced from 1955-1961 and 1957-196 respectively. As Paul mentioned to me these car be told apart from the earlier 400 model by the 400 been equipped with sliding windows and the 600 upgrade to roll down windows with a vent window. He wrote a rather extensive history of these cars. The 600 was generally a little less well equipped and on the sedans the trunk lid did not open. There does not seem to be an obvious tell on the station wagon variant however. An even higher trim model,  Alexander TS, was also produced but can be easily differentiated by a modified grill and upgraded mechanical specification. The later Lloyd 600 and Alexander models were by powered by a 596 cc four-stroke parallel twin engine with a column mounted transmission. These were light, front wheel drive cars that offered better fuel economy (albeit less performance and space) than a Volkswagen Beetle.

While it was only July during our visit the vegetation was already thick making photos a little bit of challenge. The front wheel openings have been closed in with some cooling vents added. The side view illustrates the unusual for the period rear hinged doors.

Here is a shot of the rear. The tracked Lloyd station wagon is located in front of the Ripley Creek Inn which deserves its own post but a quick summary is the inn consists of all historical buildings that have been restored and converted to traveler accommodation.

Each building is filled with historical items with an emphasis on toasters and teapots. From what I understand the owner also owns an antique store and his late wife was a big toaster collector. She ran the attached restaurant next door until her passing last year that also contained the vintage toaster museum. While the restaurant is now under new ownership and they have retained the collection.

We stayed the night in the historic lodge (main office pictured above) but you could also choose from a store, prospector cabin or even a brothel.

Here is a walk around video of the whole car.

Let’s take a look at the tracks. Stewart is a fairly remote community with an emphasis on natural resources for the economy; mostly mining and logging. It did not have a highway to it until the Seventies but crucially is the mostly northerly ice free port in Canada. At its peak it had 10,000 people but the population currently sits around 500. Additionally, the area experiences significant snow fall. So perhaps these factors led to the building of this tracked car. Although I cannot imagine how a Lloyd got here in the first place as according the local museum Stewart did not even have a proper highway to it until the late Seventies with most traffic moving by logging road or the port.

As you can see suspension consists of transverse leaf springs. Oddly enough the standard car would have (twin) transverse leaf springs at the front along with longitudinally mounted leaf springs.

The interior was a bit of challenge to take photos of but inside the bench seat is still intact with a fishing rod rack visible.

Here is the dashboard without the need for a steering wheel anymore. I suspect steering was accomplished by sending more power to one side’s track.

This Lloyd it is a rare car to see anywhere never mind in a tiny and remote town in northern Canada. Mounted on a set of tracks makes this undoubtedly one of a kind. Rather like Stewart and the Ripley Creek Inn as well.

Further Reading:

Automotive History: Lloyd LP 300, 400, 600, Alexander – Steamrollered By VW

Cohort Outtake: John Lloyd’s 1959 Lloyd Alexander TS 600 – The Lloyd Family Heirloom