The Pressed Steel Company Limited
(PSC) was a British
car body manufacturing company founded at Cowley
near Oxford in 1926 as a joint venture between William Morris
, the Budd Corporation
and an American bank. Today at what was the company's Swindon
plant, the BMW
subsidiary Swindon Pressings Limited
has been established.
Morris had seen the potential of pressed steel car bodies being developed at Budd in the U.S. The new venture started up by supplying car bodies to Morris Morris Motor Company
(MMC), with its plant being located alongside that of MMC. By 1935 Budd had withdrawn and the company was fully independent, and also producing car bodies for competitors of MMC. By the late 1950s the company was making bodies for most of the major car companies in the UK including Rolls-Royce
, and Standard-Triumph
. In 1956 PSC opened a new plant in Swindon
to provide extra capacity, and in 1961 they opened their Linwood
, Scotland plant alongside the new Rootes Linwood plant to provide bodies for the new Hillman Imp
being produced there.
In 1966 PSC came together with Jaguar Cars and the British Motor Corporation (BMC) to form British Motor Holdings (BMH). In 1968 BMH merged with the Leyland Motor Corporation to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC). By this time PSC had become the world's largest independent car body and car body tool manufacturer, and supplied bodies and tools not only for the British motor industry but for Volvo, Alfa Romeo and Hindustan Motors also.
Under BLMC the business of the old BMC body making subsidiary Fisher and Ludlow was merged with that of PSC to form the Pressed Steel Fisher division.
When BMW acquired Rover Group in 1994 they became owners of the former PSC's Swindon pressing plant. Although BMW disposed of much of Rover Group's assets in 2000, they retained the Swindon pressings plant and set up a subsidiary, Swindon Pressings Limited (SPL), there in 2000. SPL now provides most of the body panels and body sub-assemblies for the MINI models produced by BMW's MINI subsidiary in Cowley.
Railway industry interests
An existing engineering factory in Linwood
, was acquired by PSC in 1947 where they manufactured railway rolling stock. A peak of production was reached in the late 1950s - early 1960s. The types of passenger carriage produced were of standard British Railways design. Standard carriages, Diesel Multiple Units
, Electric Multiple Units
, and specialist vehicles like restaurant cars, were all produced.
With the completion of the changeover to diesel trains and modern carriages in the early 1960s, Pressed Steel received few orders after this.
In 1960 PSC formed British Executive and General Aviation Limited
(BEAGLE) for the manufacture of aircraft with facilities at Shoreham-by-Sea
Pressed Steel was a supplier to entrepreneur John Bloom's Rolls Razor company, and after the company went into liquidation in July 1964, Pressed Steel was owed $1,200,000.