Vintage Postbag - Trumbull Memories, March 1964

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Sir,

My first car ownership was an American manufactured Trumbull. The English agent was a Mr. F. Greenwood of Leeds – active in 1919, when the car was purchased whilst living in Yorkshire. The model was produced in 1915/1916, and one of the first consignments to this country was sunk in the Atlantic by enemy action. The engine was a 4-cylinder long-stroke rated as 13.2 h.p. with 3-speed gearbox, solid back axle, without differential, 2 1/2-in. tyres – with atrocious tyre wear! Clutch withdrawal was operated by hard carbon blocks pivoted in the yoked lever. These blocks required very frequent renewal; one had to think – is this gear-change really necessary?

The drive was transmitted to the road wheels by means of upstanding rectangular bosses on the outer vertical faces of the brake drums. These bosses engaged in the gaps cut in a flange extended from the inner face of the wheel hub, the wheels being attached to the axle by a single nut, or hub cap, right and lefthand threads, and, as a safeguard against unlocking, a hooked encircling wire was inserted through lineable holes in cap and hub. Due to the very thin contact faces these quickly chamfered away, thus losing effective driving faces and danger of nut, and wheels, breaking free! The wheels were eventually welded to the brake drums.

There was no castor action in the steering and anything above 20 m.p.h. became somewhat exacting. Oil lamps for side and tail lights were fitted, with a pair of electric headlamps supplied by a battery that had to be detached for bench charging. No windscreen-wipers, starter or electrical fitments!

This car had just over 18 months’ usage. The longest journey, of 400 miles, ended in broken crown-wheel and pinion. After replacement of these – and the Hyatt roller bearings – a further 30 miles and the same happened again! This “vehicle” was eventually sold and not seen again. I wonder if there is another ex-Trumbull owner ? The car carried a “W” Sheffield registration.

H. F. BAGSHAW.

Penzance.