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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, complete with only 2 Unimogs! Back then we traded as Africa Link Limited and didn't specialise specifically in Mercedes Unimog. We still own this mill building which is now filled to the rafters with used spares from Unimogs we have taken apart for bits. One of our current mechanics Phil can be seen in the yard along with his young children who are now in their twenties! This photo was taken in the early 1990s.

 

Frank Atkinson founded the company 34 years ago when he began exporting standard and four-wheel drive lorries, Unimogs and machinery to Africa in 1977. At this time the business was known as Africa Link Limited. Prior to this he qualified as a Chartered Mechanical Engineer specialising in rotating machinery and worked for Shell and BP on oil refinery high-speed processes. The business developed into Mercedes Unimogs by accident – Frank was asked by a local tree surgeon friend to help him source a Unimog, which he was happy to do. The Mog wasn't exactly the right spec for what was needed and so Frank advertised it to try and sell it on. He was amazed by the response and knew that he was onto something with great potential. The company was initially spread over 3 sites and it wasn't until the mill and yard in High Bentham near Lancaster was bought in 1991 that the business really took off. In 1998 the business expanded by buying further land next to the mill which houses the current showroom, workshop and offices of today.

 

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.