This is the story of The Lorna May. She is the darling of the Yellow Express fleet, named after our longest standing Yellow Express employee, Lorna May Ann Plowes Lewis. Not too long ago this 1950 Morris J-type van was a chicken coop on a farm in Victoria, Australia.

This “Indiana Jones” of J vans began her life at Adderley Park, Birmingham, UK where it was built at the Morris Factory, chassis number #J/R 4875. From there it was shipped to Australia where she found a new home at Yellow Express, a delivery service provider in New South Wales, which was established in 1926.

The J-type was sold through Morris Dealer, Lanes Motors in Melbourne, Victoria. Sadly, little is known of its early owners or roles. It is possible, but not substantiated, that Buttercup Bakeries was the original owner.  Shipped up to Sydney, New South Wales on special assignment, she was registered AZJ 404. As part of the Yellow Express fleet, she quickly established herself as a cute, yet fast and nimble van, perfect for the tight and narrow streets of our beautiful city. Customer’s parcels bound for the USA, transported twice a week by 4pm to Kingsford Smith Airport. They were ushered straight into a Pan Am Stratocruiser 377, which flew to The States from 1956 to 1960.

Unfortunately, some dark days lay ahead for Australian J vans with many being cubed and sent to Japan where they were recycled and used in the production of Nissans or white goods. A stroke of good fortune meant that AZJ 404 escaped the jaws of the scrap yard, instead finding a temporary hideout in the countryside of Victoria. She remained there until being discovered in 2000! She was down but not out! Our little nomad was then sent north from Victoria to Queensland for major structural work, from where she returned into the hands of Yellow Express in 2012. Here the Yellow Express specification and finishing touches were applied.

Today, the Lorna May, now in her 70s, can still be seen on the streets of Sydney where she is enjoyed as a promotional vehicle, and testament to the resilience of Morris design and the thriving Yellow Express business and heritage.