Cyclecar days

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Just before the First World War all manner of new makes were competing in the market for “motors-for-the-millions” which had grown out of the cyclecar boom at the 1912 Motorcycle Show at Olympia.

One such car, as reader Mr RW Lavender of Leicester has reminded us, was the Kennedy, which surfaced in 1914, made in a factory in Oaklands Road, off Welford Road in Leicester, by a Mr Kenneth Kennedy-Skipton. This engineer and intellect, says Mr Lavender, later inherited a small estate near Dublin, where he lived from the 1940s until he died in the 1970s; his wife survived him and lives in Dublin with his older children, while his youngest son lives in Huddersfield.

The Kennedy had a water-cooled four-cylinder 69mm x 90mm (1346cc) Salmon engine, driving the back-axle by friction-transmission and side belts, and fed by a Zenith carburettor. Its chassis had a long wheelbase of 9ft, track of 4ft, and overall width of 4ft 8in. There was a useful 91/2in ground clearance, in spite of the customary skinny tyres, in this case 700mm x 80mrn on wire wheels.

Steering was by rack-and-pinion and a simple but effective interconnection of hand and foot throttle-controls was a feature. The two-seater was a smart little car despite its simple construction, with a radiator not unlike that of the Horstmann; with lamps, screen and hood the weight remained in the region of 8cwt.

The selling agents were set up as Kennedy, Skipton & Co of 70 Rutland Street, Leicester, and the well-known motorcyclist Harold Petty of King Street, Leicester, was an agent — late in 1914, after war had broken out, others were being sought.

Of course, the war had killed the project stone dead by 1916, although a revised design, with a conventional three-speed gearbox and an overhead-worm-drive back axle was in course of development and an automatic transmission may also have been visualised. It is thought that a Mr Brookes was in charge of assembly.

The price of the Kennedy was £131.5s in 1914, with a hood and windscreen and neatly-valanced running-boards. Its lines were quite sporting. Among the prizes awarded at the Cyclecar Club Rally late in 1914 (starting at Hatfield, going to Wisley Hut on the Portsmouth Road for lunch, and ending at Burford Bridge) were three for the most novel features. First prize went to the Horstmann, second prize to the Old Mill, and a Kennedy took the third prize for the clean appearance of this white two-seater with aluminium bonnet, for its novel design, and for the method of obtaining increased pressure on the friction-disc when it was giving a low ratio. A breath of an age long gone! WB

You may also like

Related products