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Cyclecar revival No 2


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#1 Marticelli

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 23:51

During a recent and now rare trip from my home in Scotland to the South East of England where I lived for twenty years, I was fortunate to borrow from an old friend a set of bound volumes of 'The Cyclecar' and its follow-on publication 'Light Car and Cyclecar'. I am finding reading the contemporary reports of Edwardian cyclecars absorbing and impressive.

I was also delighted to visit two afficionados of the genre, Robin Batchelor and Adrian Ward. Robin memorably campaigned a stunningly original Rollo for many years, and also owned a Chater-Lea Edwardian cyclecar which he never finished. Adrian now owns and runs Robin's Chater Lea. Fitted with a vintage Blackburne Tomtit aeroengine and known as the 'Lady Chater-Lea', it makes friends wherever he runs it. TNFrs will also be aware that Adrian is currently recreating the tiny but delicious Jappic. Designed by HM Walters and built in 1925 by Jarvis of Wimbledon, this allowed Walters to collect a sheaf of Class J records at Brooklands only to be lost in a tragic fire at Montlhery whilst being revived in the thirties by Douglas Hawkes and Gwenda Stewart. These records stood until raised by the even flimsier and more ridiculous Gush Special which was created in the mid 30s to earn bonuses for Bryan Gush and Clive Windsor-Richards, a task it raised to a new level. Pictures or stories of it are scarce, but maybe TNFrs can elucidate as always...

One of the most endearing new events in the old vehicle calendar is the 'Festival of Slowth', and there are also frequent sightings of early Morgans, Humberettes, Bedelias and even the one-off Grafton. All of this leads me to conclude that we are in the midst of a new Cyclecar revival, almost exactly a hundred years on from the first proper flowerings of the craze for cheap and cheerful personal transportation as represented by the then newly published 'Cyclecar' magazine.

My own interest (I have the makings of two Edwardian Humberettes as well as the Eric Longden TNFrs will know) is stimulated by admiration for what these pioneers achieved but also I am pursuing vintage or earlier motoring on a pensioner's budget. WW1 killed the cyclecar's first craze, and the Austin Seven arguably killed the first revival in the twenties. Do TNFrs agree this is a real second revival or is it just a passing fad?

Marticelli

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#2 arttidesco

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 00:15

The only cycle cars I know about are the Carden and AV Monocar, any pics of these wonderful creations of which you speak ?

#3 David McKinney

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 07:36

Not to my mind, Marti

'Proper' cyclecars were really four-wheeled motorbikes. Although I don't keep up with the latest road-car offerings, I would think a closer equivalent to the micro-cars of today would be the '50s bubblecar era

#4 Sharman

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 07:55

What about the greatest of them all the GN?

#5 mikeC

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 09:04

I have always had an enthusiasm for the Vintage cyclecar, and was desperately unhappy when I missed out on buying Arthur Jeddere-Fisher's El Pampero back in the 'seventies.
My present car fulfills my cyclecar aspirations even if it doesn't technically qualify (as it has a four-cylinder engine), but to answer your question, yes, I believe there is a real resurgence in interest in the true cyclecar - perhaps because even most light cars are pretty impractical these days, so one might as well go all the way and have a totally impractical car :drunk:

#6 D-Type

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 12:05

Do the post-WW2 bubble cars and microcars - Heinkel, Isetta, Messerschmitt, Vespa, Zundapp etc - count as cyclecars? They're flimsy, wacky, impractical,

#7 Marticelli

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 16:59

Do the post-WW2 bubble cars and microcars - Heinkel, Isetta, Messerschmitt, Vespa, Zundapp etc - count as cyclecars? They're flimsy, wacky, impractical,

Well, Mike Worthington Williams who wrote one of the definitive histories of such things called these post-WWII creations Microcars in part to distinguish them from their more primitive forebears. But I seem to have them in my blood too as the picture below shows. That's me in the middle sitting on the cockpit edge of one of the six prototype Bond Minicars, which had the raw power up front of a Villiers 125cc engine with a pedal start and which turned with the front wheel - who needs traction control. eh?? And the 175cc Heinkel Cabin Cruiser took my parents all over the UK and on a few Continental trips too. Economical? They had to take a week's holiday to see how far it would go on a gallon!!

The revival to which I refer is mostly of Edwardian and vintage cyclecars, some original, some restored, some replicas more or less faithful to their original inspiration.
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Marticelli

#8 alansart

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 17:10

...and there's always the Fuldamobile.

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#9 UKAde

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 13:15

Here is a picture of my chaterlea This was a chater lea cyclecar chassis from around 1913 or earlier
All the parts on the car are listed in the 1907 chater lea catalogue even the front brakes, which look like they haven't ever been connected

The chassis was discovered in the 60's with a model t style body and a jap side valve v twin engine , it was then sold at auction in the 70's the owner removed the engine and sold it on again ,
It went through. Number of owners Robin bought it and acquired the blackburne tomtit aero engine and had it fitted by Tim gunn ,

The car was sold again and went though a few more owners before I bought it 5 years ago , after a couple of tris to the vscc liberay
No picture of the original body could be found so taking the low steering colome as I kew I designed a sporting body based on a number of period pictures of racing cycle cars from the era,
I decided to build the car as a young aircraft apprentice of the day may have built a car ,fitted with a light aero engine he acquired
So the body is wooden framed with canvas and dope covering

It ran for the first time at this years festival of slowth

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#10 arttidesco

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 15:17

Here is a picture of my chaterlea This was a chater lea cyclecar chassis from around 1913 or earlier

I decided to build the car as a young aircraft apprentice of the day may have built a car ,fitted with a light aero engine he acquired
So the body is wooden framed with canvas and dope covering

It ran for the first time at this years festival of slowth

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:up: :cool:

#11 onelung

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:09

Seen in South Australia at a recent "pre 1930 French cars" event...
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#12 David McKinney

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:20

An "improved" Bedelia?

#13 arttidesco

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:21

Seen in South Australia at a recent "pre 1930 French cars" event...
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Wow ! :up:

#14 Vitesse2

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:57

These records stood until raised by the even flimsier and more ridiculous Gush Special which was created in the mid 30s to earn bonuses for Bryan Gush and Clive Windsor-Richards, a task it raised to a new level. Pictures or stories of it are scarce, but maybe TNFrs can elucidate as always...

Marticelli

Without wishing to hijack your thread, Martin - can anybody shed any light on the motive power for Moscerino, Cecchini's car which beat the Gush Special's records in May 1939? Italian press sources of the time steadfastly ignore the engine maker's name - which suggests it wasn't Italian! It was reported as 348cc and according to the AIACR was measured as 348.39cc: my guess would be either a Norton CJ Cammy or Velocette, but it would be nice to know for sure.

#15 Tony Matthews

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:12

What about the greatest of them all the GN?

:up:

#16 Terry Walker

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:13

Then there's the "Flying Feather", of which some 150 were built in Japan after WW2 using a small rear motorcycle engine and motorcycle wheels. At least a couple still survive.

http://zhome.com/His...yingFeather.htm



#17 UKAde

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 22:06

Here is the link to my jappic build pictures

http://www.flickr.co...57631051648930/



#18 Sebastian Tombs

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 12:52

Great work there Ade :up: Look forward to a pic of someone holding the tail up while you fettle it!

V2 As you have found out info on the motive power of the Moscerino is very difficult to find. The Russian attempt to beat the Moscerino is well documented and reported mind you. A pretty good effort, considering the circumstances Red Star Rising

On topic there were some fine examples of cyclecars at Automedon 2012. Darmont, Morgan, Bedelia et al well represented. Automedon 2012

ST :wave:

#19 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 13:47

V2 As you have found out info on the motive power of the Moscerino is very difficult to find. The Russian attempt to beat the Moscerino is well documented and reported mind you. A pretty good effort, considering the circumstances Red Star Rising

ST :wave:

Indeed. I've been researching both recently. Peltser was obviously a great admirer of Reid Railton ;)

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#20 Odseybod

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 17:09

Seen in South Australia at a recent "pre 1930 French cars" event...
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Lovely but I can't help humming that old Simon & Garfunkel song that begins, "Oh Bedelia, you're breaking my heart ..." (or something like that).

Persuading that long, floppy drive-belt to grip if it got wet must have been quite challenging.

Edited by Odseybod, 13 November 2012 - 17:09.


#21 Sebastian Tombs

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 20:38

Persuading that long, floppy drive-belt to grip if it got wet must have been quite challenging.


Ah, you have to move the axle forwards in a BD to change gear! I expect the intrepid pilot is fiddling with the lever and slackening the belts. Originally one needed a riding mechanic or passenger to move another lever in the front but that was later modified for one man 'control'. Odd car in that pic, never seen another BD with sliding pillar suspension. A BD fiddled a 'win' in the 1913 Amiens Cyclecar GP which was actually won on the road by MacMinnies in a Morgan (what else!?)

ST :wave:

#22 Tim Murray

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 20:55

I'm rather worried that the vehicle appears to have no visible means of retarding its progress. I do hope there's a transmission brake lurking somewhere. :stoned:

#23 john medley

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 21:00

The lever near the driver's right knee tightens the offending belt

The driver is John Fitzpatrick. The unostentatious Fitz trailers the Bedelia behind an aero-engined Sunbeam

#24 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 21:21

I'm rather worried that the vehicle appears to have no visible means of retarding its progress. I do hope there's a transmission brake lurking somewhere. :stoned:

I think he's reaching down to check whether the anchor is still there :wave:

#25 Sebastian Tombs

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 21:52

Vive La Bédé !!

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ST :wave:

#26 RogerFrench

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 15:59

The Bedelia brings back memories of the late Jacques Potherat, at Prescott. Making it to the top of the hill was his ambition.

#27 Peter Morley

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 15:35

Ah, you have to move the axle forwards in a BD to change gear! I expect the intrepid pilot is fiddling with the lever and slackening the belts. Originally one needed a riding mechanic or passenger to move another lever in the front but that was later modified for one man 'control'. Odd car in that pic, never seen another BD with sliding pillar suspension. A BD fiddled a 'win' in the 1913 Amiens Cyclecar GP which was actually won on the road by MacMinnies in a Morgan (what else!?)

ST :wave:


Which pulley moves?
There's no sign of a slot in the bodywork to allow the front pulley to move backwards or forwards.
The rear spring would presumably offer some resistance to forward movement of the rear axle, or is the mounting slotted?

It looks rather like a motorised pram to me, could it be a Bedelia improved Silver Cross?

#28 David McKinney

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 17:03

It looks rather like a motorised pram to me, could it be a Bedelia improved Silver Cross?

More likely a prototype McLaren
(Yes, I know about the spelling...)

#29 mikeC

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 19:27

Which pulley moves?
There's no sign of a slot in the bodywork to allow the front pulley to move backwards or forwards.
The rear spring would presumably offer some resistance to forward movement of the rear axle, or is the mounting slotted?

It looks rather like a motorised pram to me, could it be a Bedelia improved Silver Cross?


I'm pretty certain the back axle moved for and aft to tension the belt; the brake was on the driven pulley shaft, which meant that if the belt broke, or slipped, all braking was lost...

#30 Charlieman

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 19:47

Which pulley moves?


One of the car's operators uses a lever to tension the drive belt via pressure pads. In neutral, the belt runs free (ie wears itself out). When the pressure pad becomes wet, one of the operators removes undergarments to wrap around the pad to dry it out and/or drive the car.


#31 Sebastian Tombs

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 20:18

I'm pretty certain the back axle moved for and aft to tension the belt; the brake was on the driven pulley shaft, which meant that if the belt broke, or slipped, all braking was lost...


That is correct :up:

Here's a rear view Posted Image

The brake pads can be seen here Posted Image

And all is explained here!! (That's the later car but the principle is virtually the same) Posted Image

ST :wave:

#32 Marticelli

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 23:09

One of the prettiest cyclecars ever made was the AZA, which was built in the earliest period circa 1910, and used the tried and tested de Dion single cylinder engine not a V twin. It has the neatest single seat body skinned in canvas, and twin belt drive a la Bedelia but in a simpler form. There is but one survivor which is displayed in the town of Leuze in Belgium at the excellent MahyMobiles museum, alongside hundreds of other interesting old cars belonging to the Mahy brothers. Worth a visit if in the area, but not always open to the public unlike their sister Autoworld display in the centre of Brussels.

Marticelli
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The AZA front axle looks suspiciously like the axle that the Jappic had, anyone harbouring such a thing had best dig it out for Adrian!


#33 UKAde

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 19:55

<a href="http://www.flickr.co...00/8337505854/" title="Untitled by little green austin, on Flickr"><img src="Posted Image" width="800" height="533" alt="Untitled"></a>

This is a picture I found on the brooklands archive it has no title or description attributed to it however I think it is a picture of g b Gush and his vitesse special , there is vit on the tail and there is a picture off the car on it's side having work done in the same location and the drivers are all in White ,

Edited by UKAde, 04 January 2013 - 19:57.


#34 onelung

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 22:26

Ah, you have to move the axle forwards in a BD to change gear! I expect the intrepid pilot is fiddling with the lever and slackening the belts. Originally one needed a riding mechanic or passenger to move another lever in the front but that was later modified for one man 'control'. Odd car in that pic, never seen another BD with sliding pillar suspension. A BD fiddled a 'win' in the 1913 Amiens Cyclecar GP which was actually won on the road by MacMinnies in a Morgan (what else!?)

ST :wave:

John's Bedelia is certainly - er - different. For your delectation/amusement here are some more shots; you just have to love the steering and chassis detailing.
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