Small, not perfectly formed

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Not long after reviewing a recent book about Reliant Robins, etc, came Sutton Publishing’s More Microcars, by Tony Marshall. Not a cyclecar history, of which I already have Mike Worthington-Williams’ and await David Thirlby’s, but a discourse on the later microscopic oddments, of which I drove a few and then unkindly got a colleague to do a feature on the rest. I am not sure I ever want to ‘microlight’ again; but it is fun seeing pictures of makes from Berkeley to Zundapp.

With Jenks, I was once delayed when the steering pulleys of a 197cc Bond three-wheeler fell off and were picked up as scrap metal by some Sea Scouts, for troop funds. We then had to call at countless houses before getting the components back. When the flywheel magneto gave out on this road-test Bond, a mechanic was sent from Preston to Hampshire to repair it. “Nice job you have,” I said, “travelling all over the country.” Not so; he was giving notice. Doing this in a 125cc Bond was just too much.

When Laurence Pomeroy of The Motor was asked what he thought of the Bond, he replied, “It has a sort of sordid satisfaction, like picking at a scab.” I was taking the restored Bond back to the office when the clutch refused to free and it ran gently into the back of a London bus; the conductor pushed it away with his foot and before it could repeat its misdemeanours I found a garage and abandoned it.

Marshall fills in on forgotten examples of these little horrors, with fine pictures but no index; and I do not regard the Anglia-engined Berkeley as a microcar.

The thought of a Berkeley doing the 1959 Monte Carlo Rally and of a Gordon, with externally-hung engine like the vintage Gibbons, being driven from Land’s End to John O’Groats, earning praise from Pat Moss, makes me feel decidedly weak.

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