West Croydon, over and out?




I much enjoyed Bill Boddy’s article on the Comet. I used to wonder about the engine, which shared its specification (63.5 x 95mm, giving 1203cc, with push rod overhead valves) with the contemporary Lanchester Ten. Any connection seems very unlikely, particularly as the article indicates that the Comet was a fairly sophisticated design. The Lanchester developed a pedestrian 39 bhp at 3600 rpm, whilst the Comet managed 49.4 at 5000, with twin carburettors.

WB mentions a remote control gear change, but the illustration shows a long lever with a reverse catch. But there is also a water connection missing, so perhaps it was just a mock-up.

A wheelbase of 7ft 9in doesn’t allow much space for the saloon body which was listed. The Farnham Museum has a collection of photographs of Abbott coachwork but, alas, no record books, so there is no help from that direction. The radiator was rather similar to that of the last Star cars of 1932, just to add to the confusion.

By the following year (1936), the Invicta Welding and Engineering Co had moved to 123 Milkwood Road, Herne Hill, London SE24, and the power output had increased to 52 bhp. In 1937, the maker was the Comet Car and Engineering Co Ltd, still at Herne Hill, and the engine had acquired an overhead camshaft. Two Invicta carburettors had replaced the Zeniths, together with brakes made in-house, rather than the Bendix variety previously offered. The radiator now had quite a pronounced slope, and a top speed of 85 mph was claimed. By 1938, the company had moved to 23 Johnson Road, West Croydon, and that seems to have been the final evidence of its existence.

John Willis,