Regarding Mr KW Toon’s letter in your July 1951 issue, I owned a Coventry Premier car during 1925/1926. I cannot remember whether I had it second or third hand, but when I bought it for £50 it had 715 by 115 Michelin balloon tyres on the rear wheels and globular wing lamps with bull’s-eye glasses which gave almost as much driving light as the headlamps mounted at each side of the windscreen.
The two outstanding features were the starting handle and the gear-lever. The engine was a 50-deg Vee-twin. watercooled, 80 by 98 mm, I believe, and it revolved backwards, ie anti-clockwise. The starting handle engaged a pinion meshing with the crankshaft timing pinion and was geared up. One complete turn of the starting handle turned the, engine over twice, so that the provision of an exhaust valve lifter was a sheer necessity. The engine had plenty or punch at low revs as I learned to my cost. Once, when teaching a girl to drive, after getting fed up with swinging the engine every time she stalled it, I impressed upon her the necessity of keeping the engine revs steady by opening the throttle progressively as the clutch (Ferodo Cone) took up the drive. At last, she determined she wasn’t going to let the engine stall, so used more and more throttle as the clutch went in. Unfortunately, this time, she had forgotten to take the brake off and something had to happen. With much noise, the front propellor-shaft, a 13/4 in tube, proceeded to buckle and twist itself in two.
The gear-lever worked in a central gate, and had an enormous travel. Second gear was right under the dash and top was right back almost touching the edge of the bench-type front seat. Without exaggeration the knob of the gear-lever moved through an are of over two feet.
Maximum speed was about 55 to 58 mph, whilst petrol consumption was over 40 mpg. The hood was a one-hand affair covered with shiny black leathercloth. On warm summer days one had to drive with the doors fixed partly open to keep one’s feet reasonably cool. Altogether it was a very reliable, willing and solid-feeling little car.
I am, Yours, etc.
J Dagley, Pinner.