Saturday, February 23, 2013

More Veteran Cars at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

1900 Royal Enfield Quadricycle at Beaulieu
by Kate Tompkins

Not all of the veteran vehicles at Beaulieu predate 1900, and not all are cars. This 1900 Royal Enfield is actually a quadricycle, or a four-wheeled bicycle with an engine. Yes, that is the same company that made the Enfield rifle. It seems an odd combination but apparently they started business making bicycles and gun parts, then expanded into motorcycles. This particular vehicle was a prototype. According to the vehicle list on the National Motor Museum Trust website, this quadricycle, with its one cylinder 244 cc engine, didn’t have enough power to get up hills without a push from its crew. Despite this, it’s been in the London to Brighton run.

1901 Locomobile at Beaulieu
by Kate Tompkins
The 1901 Locomobile from the States ran on steam power, which wasn’t uncommon at the time. This one’s been rebuilt and given disc brakes in the rear so it can be driven in today’s traffic. It will do 30 mph, and according to its advertising, was “vibrationless and noiseless.” Not sure I’d be comfortable with the idea of sitting on top of a steam engine.

1903 De Dion Bouton at Beaulieu
by Kate Tompkins
This 1903 De Dion Bouton was one of the vehicles belonging to the second Lord Montagu which formed the Museum’s original collection. It was used on the estate until the early 1930s and has made the London to Brighton run on several occasions.

1903 Mercedes 60hp at Beaulieu
by Kate Tompkins
This 1903 Mercedes 60hp has been owned by the Harmsworth family since it was bought new. The first owner, Alfred Harmsworth, was the founder of the Daily Mail, and quite interested in motor sports. This car competed in various speed trials and hill climbs back in the day. It was quite a fast car for its time, with a top speed of 75 mph. The original body, a two-seater, was replaced in 1907.

More veteran cars to come.

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