I have noticed in your columns, what appears to me to be some unjustified and rather foolish criticisms of Mr. Granville Bradshaw’s A.B.C. designs, by the “critics.”
It is the great period of ” critics” in Britain today, with young men who have never controlled a battle telling those who have won a whole series of vital and historic battles how to win wars, people criticising painting, music and so on, who have not produced anything as original or worthwhile. In this case I do not know if the major ” critic ” of the A.B.C. comes in the above category, although I suspect he has not owned and operated A.B.C. designs as much as I have. I would be interested to hear if he has produced anything as original, or with equal successes on Brooklands, of the period in question ?
I owned an A.B.C. in India where the little machine was well tested, climbing from the hot plains up to the hills, and I also owned another A.B.C. motorcycle later in the Porlock area, where the famous hill in those days was a real testing ground with its loose surface. Later I had an A.B.C. light car in the same area. I found all these machines excellent and trouble free, and I had plenty of experience of other well-known machines of those days.
The motorcycles were well above average for their time with their spring-frame comfort, built-in footboards and legshields, and 4-speed gearboxes, and unit construction of the power plant, at a time when most of the other machines were glorified pushbikes with components tacked on. A.B.C. motorcycles I had were almost impossible to overheat during a period when overheating on tough hills was very prevalent. The car also gave me many miles of virtually troublefree motoring. Furthermore, it is generally admitted these motorcycles sowed the seed for that most refined piece of machinery in its class today, the B.M.W. flat-twin motorcycle. If Bradshaw had produced his brilliant designs at some other time than the serious post No. I World War slump period, and normal development work had been done on these machines, he would have been even more praised by history than he has been by those who had the good fortune to own his machines. Apart from the fine results obtained at Brooklands, what about the tiny 3-h.p. A.B.C. motorcycle engine that regularly flew the Wren in the Lympne ultra-light aeroplane trials of 1923, when so many of the larger motorcycle engines failed in other machines ?
I was delighted to see this machine flying, at a Royal Aeronautical Society Garden Party a few years ago, when it got off the ground with its original A.B.C. engine unaided and with great vigour for its mere 398 c.c.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Bournemouth. C. E. BOWDEN (Lt.-Col., ret’d.)
Letters: October 2018
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