Around year 1930 I advertised in the Tunbridge Wells Courier weekly paper for a three-wheeler car and in answer I received among replies an offer of a Premier three-wheeler at £10 from a reader near Cranbrook. The firm I was then employed with made a fuel delivery to the grammar school at intervals and so I went out there with the driver, Arthur Smith, and we called at the cottage where the car was to be seen. An old gentleman took us through a winding path to a shed, where we were shown a black three-wheeler tourer in clean condition, with pneumatic tyres. The instruction book gave details of the car as a 10 h.p. three-cylinder, water-cooled engine with three-speed box working back to belt-driven axle, a reverse gear was optional at £5 extra, but was not considered necessary because turning could always be effected “in the centre of the road”. The car price was listed at £285, and apparently had been made in 1908.
It was offered for sale because only after many years the owner felt he could then part with it. It had been used six times only, because purchased in the hope it might benefit his wife’s health. She died after a few outings and he decided to never use the car again. We asked for permission to start the engine, put some petrol in the fuel tank and a little in a brass starter bulb, opened two decompression taps, and started up by winding a handle anti-clockwise.
It started at once. Arthur was thrown back against the wall and the engine roared away at a great speed. Suddenly the floor, which was dry rot, completely collapsed and car and all dropped about 15 inches in a cloud of dust and smoke. I managed to stop the engine and the owner, who had kept outside, asked us to try to lift it up. We promised the next time we would do this, and would bring some planks. We kept our word and on our next visit got the old car up and packed it level with the door. The owner then offered to give me the car if only we would take it, but this meant getting the car through the garden and down a bank and, as it was starting to rain, I declined the offer. By the way, I believe the maker’s address was Ashton, Birmingham. Can any of your readers add to my description?
D.N. McCaskill. C.Eng.
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