Starting a Trojan

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Sir

Eric Rance of the Trojan OC refers to rear-engined Trojans having three methods of starting (November issue), but I wonder if he has experience of these? I owned a rear-engined Trojan in the early Sixties and can tell him that it was not at all uncommon for all three methods to fail. Worse, due to being fitted with a centrifugal clutch, a push-start was not possible either the electric starter was seldom effective. It was run from a six-volt battery positioned at the front of the car, and the long leads to the rear combined with the low voltage, meant that even fully charged there was little chance of the engine being turned over for long enough to produce life.

In the case of the driver’s starting handle, this was, as Mr Rance says, connected to the engine by a wire rope. Anyone who has ever tried to start a recalcitrant Trojan will know that many pulls on the handle can be required. From time to time the wire would part, and in my case the seat would then come off its mount, and the driver perform a backward somersault into the rear. Apart from this, the difficulties of fitting another piece of wire rope within the depths of that filthy engine compartment. usually on a wet, dark night, are best left to the imagination. I have to say that I never attempted to wind the engine using the side starting dog. On the basis that it was necessary to remove a rear wheel, I always felt it would be not only impractical but dangerous. When a Trojan does start it produces (apart from noise and vibration) a curious rocking motion, due no doubt to the epicyclic gears, and this is not compatable with having one corner balanced on a jack.

Apart from all this, can there possibly have been another car manufactured after 1930 with such primitive brakes? Not only were there none on the front wheels, but the efficacy of those actually fitted was negligible. The footbrake operated a’single contracting band on one rear wheel (admittedly with a split drum connected to the opposite side to provide some directional stability) and the handbrake operated on the transmission only.

The adventures we had with that Trojan could fill many pages, but suffice it to say that no journey was without incident. It was with some relief that I eventually persuaded it into the hands of a new owner. I wonder if OY 1527 or any similar model survives?

Chris Bird, Rushmere St Andrew, Suffolk.