Fragments on forgotten makes No. 4—The Gibbons

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76

The Gibbons, produced in 1922, was undoubtedly one of the most unorthodox and, perhaps for that reason, one of the most interesting, of the cycle-cars produced during the early nineteen-twenties,

£140 ex works—compared with present-day values—does not seem very expensive but, at that time, £140 was a lot of money, especially when it is remembered that none of the accessories, now considered essential, were included; no spare wheel, no tools, no speedometer, no clock, no windscreen-wiper, not even horn or lamps.

Motive power was supplied by an air-cooled 8-h.p. Coventry Victor flat-twin engine. An excellent unit and thoroughly accessible—although rather too much exposed to the elements, as it was hung on the outside of the body!

Transmission was by means of two belts—one to each rear wheel. The offside belt ran over a kind of combined clutch and pulley and low gear was engaged by depressing a foot-pedal. The high-gear drive was taken by the nearside rear wheel and had to be engaged by means of a hand lever.

Braking was extremely primitive and consisted of two small blocks operating on the belt rims of the rear wheels—not very effective in wet weather and hardly suitable for modern traffic conditions,

The steering gear was unusual. At the end of a short horizontal steering column was a pulley to which were attached twin stranded wires. These passed over a further pair of pulleys let into the floor and the ends of the wires were fastened to the two sides of the front axle, which swivelled at the centre both horizontally and vertically. However, it worked quite efficiently and only once, on the writer’s Gibbons, caused some alarm when the wires broke while travelling at speed—about 18 m.p.h.!

A long run was quite an adventure in this quaint vehicle and hills, which today seem trivial, were carefully avoided if at all possible. The writer has vivid recollections of a trip to Bognor in the summer of 1923—particularly of the ascent of Bury Hill over the South Downs. The lower part of this rather formidable obstacle was rushed but the willing engine, hampered by a slipping belt, refused to take us farther than the first bend and the remainder of the hill, about a mile, had to be climbed in a thoroughly undignified manner. The writer pushed at the back while his father, pushing at the side, depressed the low gear pedal with a stick. It was a scorching hot day and the long decline through the shade of the trees on the other side of the Downs was much appreciated by all concerned. The total time for the run from London to Bognor was six hours.

In spite of its strange appearance, lack of hill-climbing powers and many discomforts the Gibbons provided a great deal of pleasure and excitement and it was not without some feelings of regret that it was at last exchanged for a real car in the shape of a Jowett two-seater (with dickey).

Thp body of the Gibbons, which was made of three-ply wood, is probably doing good service as a dog kennel or hen coop somewhere to this day!

It is believed that this model was the only one which ever came off the production line but the writer would be pleased to hear of or from any other owner.—R. Hopwood

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A rally and Concours d’Elegance for Edwardian and vintage cars is to be held at Hayling Island on June 22nd. Details from: G. Knox, Grotto House, Sea Front, Hayling Island, Hants.

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Don’t forget the Andover Traction Engine Rally on May 10th.

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To celebrate their 150th Anniversary D. Napier & Son Ltd. are staging an exhibition at the Tea Centre, Lower Regent Street, London, from May 31st to June 14th. They hope, also, to have a parade in London of Napier cars, probably on June 7th, and wish to hear from interested owners, who should write to D. S. McDonald, D. Napier and Son Ltd., Acton, W.

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Frank Lockhart, Peugeot agent in Dunstable, has acquired the Type 174 sleeve-valve 23/65 Peugeot which appeared as a chassis at the Motor Show of 1925 and, endowed with a saloon body by Victor Broom, was used by Chris Shorrock’s family from 1926 to 1929. It has been taxed for only 22 months of its life and has run only 15,000 miles since new. Stored subsequently, its engine started easily and ran smoothly. Lockhart intends to restore this rare Peugeot. For historic racing car events he is rebuilding to original specification the ex-Bellevue Marshall-blown 1935 K3 M.G. Magnette single-seater raced before the war by Smith and said to have crank and con-rods from the Goldie Gardner record car.

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A parade and Concours d’Elegance for old cars, free of entry fee, is to feature in the Bath County Athletic Club and Conservative Association meeting on June 7th. Details from Capt. Moss, 15, Johnstone Street, Bath. Something similar is envisaged by Mr. J. P. Smith, Branshaw, Oakworth, Keighly, Yorks, at Kildrammy Castle, Aberdeenshire, for June 15th. Details on request.

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The Editor is badly in need of copies of The Autocar for 1918 to mid-1919 and for the first six months of 1928 and The Motor from 1918 to 1930, to complete sets. He would be glad to hear from any readers who can assist. He has copies of The Autocar from 1920 to 1929 to exchange.

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There is rumour of a vintage Humber in a Surrey breaker’s yard and of a Straker-Squire vintage light car in the West Country, but we do not know the exact location of either.

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A vintage Singer tourer will feature in the Rank film, “The Sea Wall.”

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The 12/50 Alvis Register’s annual rally to “The Phoenix,” Hartley Wintney, Hampshire, takes place on the evening of May 17th.

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Some model-T Ford parts are said to be available in a Berkshire village—stamped letters will be forwarded.

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A New Zealand correspondent tells us that a 1908 racing Vauxhall in sad condition but reasonably complete, exists near Christchurch.

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Can anyone help Mr. C. G. Weight, who took over manufacture of Briton cars in 1922 and continued to make them until 1929, discover one of these cars? The Briton, a Wolverhampton make, was originally built, as a blood-relation of the Star, from 1909 until 1922. Mr. Weight’s company, now Tractor Spares Ltd., is anxious to amass as much data as possible about the Briton car and to find another besides the 1910 two-seater which is the only one known to them. Letters, sent either to Motor Sport or to the Express & Star, Wolverhampton, can be forwarded.

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The Edwardian Mercedes rescued in Glasgow, as reported in the March issue, is a 1913 model with Cunard coachwork. The new owner, Capt. J. R. J. Belson, requires drawings of the original hood-sticks, if anyone can assist.

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To publicise their Spring collection of men’s clothes Watson Pritchard Ltd. recently had on show at their Liverpool shop a 1904 Wolseley and, later, a 1906 Jackson rebuilt 18 months ago by P. A. H. Rockliff and his brother.

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Yet another old car has come to light. A 4-cylinder Daimler limousine of circa 1911 was discovered during the sale of an old house in Birkdale, Lancashire. Practically complete, the car had not been moved since the mid-nineteen-twenties and, according to our correspondent, was “in a glorious state of elegant decay.” It was sold into good hands and is to be fully restored. The new owner requires data and certain missing electrical and other parts including a magneto.

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In Brisbane someone is restoring a 1927 La Salle.

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Bugatti owners belonging to the Bugatti Club, Nederland, are to pay homage in June to the late Ettore and Jean Bugatti by visiting Lydia Bugatti’s chateau at Ermenonville where a Bugatti Royale, Bugatti speed-boat and aeroplane, the 350-c.c. supercharged Bugatti engine and other Bugatti treasures are kept. All Bugatti owners are welcome.

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The V.S.C.C. will hold its Buxton 80-mile Rally, dinner and transparency show on May 10th and its Ulster Spring Rally for Irish members on May 17th. On May 3rd its Rolls-Royce section intends to honour the memory of the Hon. C. S. Rolls by rallying to Monmouth.

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Those vintage-car enthusiasts who saw Orion’s delightful advertisement in a recent issue of Punch featuring a Morley sportshirt and a 9/20 Humber tourer will no doubt express their appreciation by wearing only Morley shirts from now on.

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Pleasing, but less effective, we thought, was a subsequent Players advertisement, also in Punch, in which a 1903 Renault filled the picture.

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A bull-nose Morris, possibly incomplete, is believed to be at a garage in Oakhampton.

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Rumour has it that a couple of vintage motor-cycles and vintage lorries, a bull-nose Morris-Cowley sunshine saloon and an incomplete vintage Fiat saloon may still be in a brickyard near the river Medina, I.-of.-W. The lorries are, or were, converted Dennis char-a-bancs, one of which was still carting loads of 700 bricks at a time after the last war.

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The Bransgore Village Fair, on June 14th, will include a rally open to all veteran, Edwardian and vintage cars, with prizes for each class and one for the entrant coming the greatest distance. Entries close June 1st; there is no fee. Details from: Miss F. A. Tuck, Church Cottage, Bransgore, Hampshire.