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Company History

How it all began and our journey so far...

Atkinson Vos is no spring chicken; since 1978 we've been around the block and learnt a lot along the way. We have developed the company from a tiny idea that came to us by chance and steered it in numerous directions since its foundation until it has grown into the business of today. We have developed a solid reputation amongst an increasingly global Unimog community and are proud to say we have hundreds of loyal customers who return to us for parts, supplies, new mogs, extra mogs, advice or just for a chat on a regular basis. We have gathered a huge collection of customer contacts in our database system which enables us to recall old customers from years gone by and we aim to have information about every Unimog in the UK in this database in the not so distant future.

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An aerial photograph of Wenning Mill and our original yard taken in the early 1990s. Back then we traded as Africa Link Limited and didn't just specialise in Unimog. We exported trucks, machinery and spares to Africa. We still own this mill building which is now filled to the rafters with used spares from Unimogs we have dismantled. One of our current mechanics Phil can be seen in the yard along with his young children who are now in their twenties!

Frank Atkinson and Jaap Vos founded the company in 1970 something when they began driving lorries, Unimogs and machinery to Africa in 1977. Prior to this Frank qualified as a Chartered Mechanical Engineer working for Shell and BP in Durban Oil refinery. Jaap was working casually in Holland to fund his overland travel addiction. The business developed into Mercedes Unimogs by accident – a local tree surgeon asked Frank to source a Unimog for him. The Mog wasn't exactly the right spec for what was needed and so Frank advertised it to sell it on. He was amazed by the response and knew that he was onto something with great potential. With Jaap scouring Europe for good Unimogs and Frank selling them like hot cakes the business grew steadily. In 1991 operations were consolidated in new premises in High Bentham. In 1998 the business expanded by buying further land which houses the current showroom, workshop and offices which were constructed in 2001-2. Simon Ward joined in 2001 as Salesman and Workshop Coordinator. With input from Simon the business broadened it’s scope and expanded into new areas including tyre sales. In 2009 Frank, Jaap and Simon began a succession process enabling the business to expand and continue after the retirement of the founders. Jaap retired shortly after this and Simon became a Director. He is now in the driving seat as Managing Director with Frank supporting part time. Simon is taking the business forward into the next generation and building on the excellent reputation and strong supplier network built up over the preceding 3 decades. This will ensure that Atkinson Vos Ltd remain the worlds leading Unimog specialist.

An even older aerial image before Atkinson Vos even existed! The yard at this time belonged to the silk factory seen in the centre of the image which now ceases to exist and has been replaced with houses. Our mill building was originally a part of this silk mill. Our current property layout has been highlighted. A steam train can be seen travelling eastwards towards Leeds in the top left corner of the picture. A skatepark for local children now exists just left of centre below the wooded area. Probably taken around the 1950s.