By Mick ‘Mixxy’ Russell
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.
Based in the Leicestershire village of Kibworth Harcourt, Crouch Recovery was established in 1948 by George (known as Old Jack) and Mary Jane Crouch. The husband and wife team ran a small local filling station which also offered a vehicle recovery service – something which, at that time, was unique to the area. For the next 20 years or so, the business grew steadily and in the 1970’s, they were joined by their son, David who helped his parents with the day to day running of the filling station. David, however, took a particularly active interest in developing the recovery side of the business – something which, as evidenced by today’s operation, proved to be a sound strategic decision! Whilst the filling station is no more, David and his wife, Barbara, have gone on to oversee the evolution of the business into one of the fastest growing recovery operators in the UK and Europe. Moreover, with their sons, Adam and Richard, also fully involved in the business, it now embraces three generations of the Crouch family.
With new, purpose built headquarters just a stone’s throw away from the site of the original filling station (the buildings and recovery yard of which still remain owned and used by the business), Crouch Recovery now operates a 24 / 7 control room to manage breakdown and recovery requests. Operating from 6 depots, the Company’s “home territory” covers the whole of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire but extends the length and breadth of the UK and into Europe via a strong network of agents. And being based in the Midlands has the added geographical advantage of allowing quick access to routes to the rest of the UK, as well as across to the Continent.
They have an impressive fleet of over seventy Heavy and Light Recovery Vehicles, ranging from service vans and light recovery vehicles to heavy duty low loaders, mobile cranes and specialist winching units.
Commissioned to mark the occasion of Crouch Recovery’s 70th anniversary, the model is produced exclusively for Search Impex by WSI Collectibles and is a certificated Limited Edition.
The model is a rendition of A4 TOW a Volvo FMX 8×4 fitted with Boniface heavy recovery gear, however the model is fitted with Falkom heavy gear, Crouch agreed to this. Falkom is a Dutch firm that has been producing recovery gear for over 30 years, anything from a light slidebed to the gear depicted on the model.
The model comes complete with spectacle lift and an attachment for recovering draw bar trailer units. These items are in a separate bag with small pins and screws in, the draw bar attachment fits to one side of the model at the rear and, in reality would swing round to a central point above the main boom and be pinned in place. I was not about to attempt this with the model!
The detail is, as is usual with WSi nowadays, outstanding. Their models seem to keep getting better and more detailed. Search Impex was established in 1993 by Jim and Brenda Newsome, who started by having Lledo Transit vans finished in Ryder livery made in the UK. Now most of their truck models are made for them by WSI, Tekno, Conrad and Eligor.
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