I was most interested in your correspondent’s letter signed R. R. Brain and the accompanying photo of his 1921 Zébre. This car, which was very advanced for its year, was rated at 8/10-h.p. (7.8 R.A.C.) had four cylinders of 55 mm. by 105 mm., cast en bloc, and sold complete for £345—a price which included an insurance policy for 12 months! It had four forward speeds and reverse with a top gear ratio of 6-1. Valves were side by side driven by a helical drive camshaft. Ignition was by magneto, pump lubrication, thermo-syphon cooling and electric starting and lighting was fitted as standard.
It was handled by Tattersalls Ltd. of Great Marlborough Street, W. 1.
The Le Zébre was produced in Paris in 1923 and although it may have been of common origin was a different car
There were a number of very commendable features. The universal joints at each end of the Cardan shaft were particularly sturdy and were protected from the ravages of grit by leather covers. The fully floating bevel-type rear axle was another good point. The rear cantilever springs were relieved from torque strain by a channel section torque stay attached to the axle casing and the frame cross-member by an eccentric adjustment. The worm and sector steering was provided with an adjustment to take up wear and also for alteration of steering wheel position for long or short drivers. Brakes were internal expanding, hand brake on the rear wheels and foot brake on a drum aft of the gearbox. The clutch was a single-plate type separately housed.
Petrol consumption claimed was 40 m.p.g. with a modest maximum speed of 45 m.p.h.—altogether a very fine little job, Mr. Brain. and well worthy of renovation.
Mr. Peter Gough’s La Licorne appears to be of the same vintage – 1921. It was rated at 10/14-h.p. (R.A.C. 10.4) and was fitted with one of the famous four-cylinder Ballot engines with a bore of 65 mm. and a stroke of 120 mm. This engine was capable of quite high revs. It had a leather cone clutch and a three-speed forward and reverse gearbox worthy of note. It had a straight through “gate” with a spring-loaded ball to locate each gear which worked very well.
Springing was a very good feature, wide leaves, few in number and underslung at the rear. Three more double shock damping springs over the front axle which gave a most excellent suspension.
Brakes were internal expanding on the rear wheels in large drums and adjustable by thumbscrews.
The standard four-seater sold at £600 with a de luxe model at £640.
The car was handled by Mr. A. Pickard of New Burlington Street. W.1.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Robert E. M. Rayns – Wheathampstead.