James Young Coachbuilder, based in London’s Bromley borough, was founded in 1863, and like so many bodybuilders, the company’s history began with the manufacture of carriages. As early as 1908, Young produced the first car bodies. Until after the First World War, the production of coaches and automobiles ran parallel.
After the war, the entrepreneur changed his concept and shifted the focus to pure car body construction. Numerous models were developed on chassis of well-known manufacturers such as Alfa Romeo, Bentley and Sunbeam. The bodies of the body forge on Rolls-Royce chassis are more familiar. From the mid-1920s onward, Young constructed several standard bodies for Talbot and Sunbeam in addition to one-off custom designs.
Jack Barclay, the largest supplier of Bentley and Rolls-Royce in England, took over the James Young Coachbuilders in 1937, making Young mainly active for Barclay’s customers, but continued to design superstructures for other manufacturers such as Bugatti. The designer’s models were characterised by their particularly light and simple elegance.
During the Second World War, the company interrupted its activities and continued operations after the end of the war. The bodywork for the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and the Bentley S-Series, which originated in the 1950s, was distinguished from the other Rolls-Royce models by its low lines and light roof structure. The Rolls-Royce Phantom V was a completely independent model by Young.
With the increasing use of self-supporting car bodies and the start of mass production, the market changed and demand for special bodies fell drastically. With the help of orders from Rolls-Royce and Bentley, Young was able to maintain his body shop until 1967, after which the long-established company had to cease operations forever.