A close shave

A spot of mental abberation caused me to say that Wilkinson engines were used in Douglas cyclecars when writing-up this make last November. This caused a reader to remind me that it was Williamson engines that were used, there being a family link between the two families. He went on to recall a 1914 Williamson three-wheeler which an uncle was using around 1923 in Cornwall and which he encountered as a very small boy. A sketch accompanied his letter and he wondered whether we had a photograph which would corroborate his recollections of this little-known machine. He recalled it as mid-engined and probably air-cooled, the front seat being hinged up against the windscreen to reveal the machinery. Behind this seat was a small well able to accomodate two children. The colour was khaki and the Williamson is remembered as low to the ground, with a long wheelbase compared to a Morgan. It was apparently seen only once; the exposed mechanicals were noisy and the thing was much ridiculed.

The only photograph I can find shows a rather different model, with an ugly frontal radiator, with the water-cooled flat-twin engine of 1070cc presumably beneath the longish bonnet, a wheelbase of 7 ft 3 in, compared to the 7 ft of a Morgan two-seater, and half-elliptic front springs. I append our correspondent’s rough sketch and wonder if anyone else remembers a Williamson of this sort? Whether they do or not, I need not change my shaving habits and buy American blades, because there was a very fine Wilkinson-TMC motorcycle made in Acton before 1914 and this company also made a car with a four-cylinder 848cc engine. WB