Out Of The Past, August 1995

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

On his way home from VSCC Loton Park a reader saw an old notice on the wall of a building in a Shropshire town (identity concealed, to prevent a rush of collectors of motoring memorabilia with ladders and chisels) which had once advertised Velocette motorcycles and the Lington cyclecar. This gentleman kindly sent me a copy of his photograph, wondering if it might spark off another “Forgotten Makes” article.

Certainly the Lington was a make of which I had never previously heard. “Georgano”, to whom most historians turn first, dismisses it as a 10hp V-twin shaft-drive car, made in 1920 only, at the engineering company of that name, in Bedford. A bit of digging about revealed rather more. It became’ apparent that this little-known cyclecar had a quite auspicious start. Why it did not survive for rather longer is a mystery, because in 1920 cyclecars had a few more years to run, the A7 not becoming truly established until 1923 or even 1924.

Moreover, the Lington Engineering Cornpany was said to have an extensive factory, 47,000 square feet of it, and claimed to be equipped with such modern machinery that, against the tide of rising prices, the company should be able to hold the Lington steady at 175 for a presentable two-seater. It seems that the Twickenham-based Cornpany was actually making what formerly had been the Elfin, which is even more obscure, installing a proprietary Novelette 57-degree air-cooled vee-twin engine intended for cyclecars, with belt-driven fans, a ribbed sump, a big flywheel and central sparking-plugs.

But not much seems to have happened by the close of 1920, because it had not been decided whether to fit a B&B or an Amal carburettor, even though at least 50mpg was guaranteed. A dry-plate clutch, which it was claimed could be slipped with impunity without harming it, took the drive to a two-speed gearbox via a nickel-steel shaft running on ball-bearings and with Hardy disc-joints at each end. A system of compound levers was said to provide a light clutch operation and the cardan-shaft incorporated a clutch-stop brake to ease gear-shifting. Probably just as well, because the ratios of 4.5 and 11.5 to 1 were rather wide… A kick-starter in the driving compartment was the means of getting the engine to fire, with a half-compression device coupled to it, which lifted the exhaust valves. A curious feature was that the alternative of chain or belt final-drive was offered, sprockets and pulleys being interchangeable. I would have thought most people would have opted for the one-inch-pitch roller-chain, but some may have regarded belts as less costly to replace, quieter and smoother.

Ferodo-lined expanding brakes stopped the Lington, and you could have right or left-hand steering to choice. The 8ft 6inwheelbase chassis was sprung on quarter-elliptics and although a rather shapely body with rounded tail was fitted, equipment was not exactly generous. Lighting was by a Tredelect dynamo supplying just two headlamps and a rear lamp, but potential customers were given a spare wheel rim, a tyre pump and a set of tools. It all sounded reasonably promising. One wonders whether that dealer whose advertising sign has survived ever sold a Lington or two to those who wanted a step-up from their Velocette motorcycles, using them on the then-peaceful Shropshire lanes? Perhaps not, for no more was heard of this fairly civilised cyclecar. Now it is up to those who are inspired by the past to find out what became of that extensive Bedford factory.