Fragments on Forgotten Makes

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No. 43: The Chic

The Chic was made in Adelaide, or perhaps assembled would be a better description, having been designed by the Yorkshire Company which was responsible for the Bond car. The Chic seems to have been produced between 1925 and 1929 and it is said that about 50 were made.

There were two models, the 14/40 and the 18/48. The former used a four-cylinder Meadows engine and the latter was a six-cylinder, similar in general conception but having pump cooling and a plate instead of a cone clutch to the unit gearbox. The Chic was claimed to be rugged enough for Colonial conditions and to have been tested thoroughly “over the roughest parts of the country”. It had a Bentley-like radiator and the badge consisted of a winged circle, containing a map of Australasia and the name of the car. There appears to have been an animal mascot on the radiator cap. Sturdy construction and accessibility were stressed, and it was stated that the Chic had the first commercially-produced engine with completely machined combustion chambers, “as in racing engine practice”. This seems a somewhat extravagant claim, unless intended to apply to Australian-built cars, but was said to be one reason for “the exceptionally high output of these engines”, which possessed a cylinder head shaped to give the maximum amount of turbulence and the most rapid flame propagation. Presumably a Meadows deflector head!

The three-bearing crankshaft was said to be free from whip or vibration up to 3,500 r.p.m., there were ¾ in. gudgeon pins hardened and bored-out for lightness, and H-section con.-rods with white metal-lined bronze big-end shells. Frazer Nash folk will perhaps recognise Meadows construction?

It may have been the remoteness of Adelaide or the Brighouse Company’s association with splash-fed engines which made reference to “positively oiled” big-ends seem worth making. The magneto was driven by silent spiral-bevels-and-cross-shaft via a finely adjustable coupling and the sparking plugs could be removed, said the literature, with an ordinary spanner. A fuel consumption of over 30 m.p.g. was claimed from the single Zenith carburetter of the 14/40 model. The gear-driven dynamo and starter were built into the crankcase and the 12-volt electrical system relied on Willard insulation and armour encased wiring.

The engine, with its light three-ring pistons, was safe at 4,000 r.p.m. for long periods, according to the manufacturers of the Chic. It was installed in a chassis with H-section front axle giving centre-point steering, low periodicity half-elliptic springs all round, a spiral-bevel back axle with steel casing and Timken bearings and disc universal joints. The chassis frame was by “England’s leading makers”, there were internal expanding brakes on the back wheels and the disc or spoke wheels were shod with 815 x 105 tyres. The steering, using an 18 in. wheel, was described as frictionless and exceptionally nice to handle.

Perhaps our Australian readers can enlarge on this rare make of car, which was intended to appeal to the professional man?—W. B.