I was very interested in your write-up of the Bleriot-Whippet, having started my first job as a boy with that firm in 1924.
As you say, the little car looked right, being nice and wide. Your article brought back many memories of those days – the shortage of money, of men hiding in the toilets Friday afternoons to try and avoid the weekly lay off of employees, the company often selling a lathe to meet the wage bill.
Plum colour was usual but I recall seeing a few cream-coloured ones. We also did work for Fairey Aviation, this being delivered in the manager’s huge cream-coloured Itala; what a car! The company also made and fitted bodies to Austin Seven chassis for Gordon England, a sporty 2-seater in light alloy. I also remember a super streamlined Austin Seven, also for Gordon England, which I believe reached speeds in the 90 region.
There are still a number of the men who worked on those B./W.s living in this area and, who knows, there may be a Whippet still tucked away in a shed somewhere.
Does anyone remember the Xtra (Yes! – ED.) made in London Street, Chertsey? This was a three-ply sidecar shaped body, three wheels, and driven by a two-stroke engine. Chief tester, one Ralph Unwins.
I also wonder if any Martinsyde motorcycles survive; these, as you know, being made in Woking. (There are some in the V.M.C.C. – ED.) Altogether this area south-west of London has had more to do with the car industry than many realise.
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