A SURVEY OF COACHWORK
A ,SURVEY OF COACHWORK
In the following pages will be found a review of the coachwork now available from some of the leading coachbuilders of the day.
FASHION in coachwork, like that of manners, morals and other matters into which the element of personal choice enters, tends to go through a definite cycle of changes from one extreme to another, and then swings back.
In 1928, for instance, the sports body was an open four-door four-seater. Mass production then took hold of the motor industry of England, and the saloon car was produced at a price equal or lower than that of the open four-seater. The closed body was then proclaimed to be the only proposition worth considering, and the section of coachbuilders who devoted their attention to bodies on sports chassis construction came forward with low rakish saloon bodies very satisfying to the eye but often unpractical owing to their low roofs, narrow windscreens, and general bad visibility.
A visit to the 1933 Motor Show demonstrated how completely the situation has changed, for nearly all the makers of sports chassis showed at least one open car on their stands. Special coachwork this year is therefore usually either a de-luxe open body or a saloon.
Drop-head coupes are now available in increasing numbers and form a useful compromise for those who wish to use their cars for business purposes during the week, but like to enjoy the fresh air during a fine week-end. Great advances have been made towards improving the appearance of these bodies when erected, to easy lowering, and to neatness of stowage when lowered.
Barker & Co. (Coachbuilders) Ltd., 66-69,
South Audley Street, London, 11′..r.
The 3. litre Bentley chassis, with its long bonnet and sloping scuttle, has an air of stability which is caught by the line of the new Barker Cabriolet de Ville. Nothing unorthodox in the treatment of mudguards or rear elevation has been attempted, but the two-door body and the built-in trunk are in keeping with the best traditions of English coachbuililing. The cant rails are detachable and the extension over the driver’s seat can be rolled up and secured inside the rear portion of the head. The head can be
left up, or drops into a space between the back of the body and the trunk. The windows can be used even when the top is lowered.
Two suitcases are carried in the trunk, and the tools are arranged in a tray under the lid. The petrol filler is enclosed and is readied through a trap in the side, while the spare wheel is carried on the back.
The signalling arms have been fitted neatly into the scuttle, and a Klaxon dud windscreen wiper and a metal spare wheel wrapper are useful items. The suggested colour scheme is light red picked out with dark trimmings, chassis and wings, also a red twill head. This distinguished car costs complete with all accessories, £1,680.
Carlton Carriage Co., Ltd., Waldo Road, Willesden London, N. W.10.
Specialising in drop-head coupes, the Carlton Carriage Co. are this year fitting these useful bodies to Talbot ” 105’s,” Essex Teiraplanes, Humbers and Buicks, and they can also be fitted to Rolls Royce and other high class chassis to special order. The thin door pillars are notable, and the cant rails fold back, allowing the top to be stowed neatly when folded down. Ample luggage space is provided in the trunk at the rear.
For the open-car enthusiast there is a very striking four seater on a 40-50 Rolls Royce. The screen folds flat in front of an upswept scuttle and the hood and back squab are flush with the side of the body and are covered with a neat tonneau cover, giving the car the rakish appearance of a two-seater. An undertray running the length of the car improves streamlining and protects the transmission.
John Charles & Co., Ltd., South Avenue. Sandieombe Road, Kew Gardens, Surrey. Charles coachwork covers the entire range of sports bodies. Open four-seaters will be seen on the new sports Citroens and the British Salmson. The body fitted
to the Citroens, which cost complete £275 on the ” Big 12″ and £305 on the” Light 20″ have two-door bodies with cut-away sides, and sweeping wings. Very comfortable pneumatic upholstery is standard.
The Salmson is very low and rakish, and carries a full four-seater body with valenced type speed wings. Luggage is carried behind the rear squab, and the spare wheel is sunk in the sloping tail.
The Ranalah drop head coupe which is available on the sports Citroens and other chassis has cant rails hinged in the middle.
When the windscreen rail has been detached, the front part of the hood folds up to the front hood stick, and can either be secured coupe-de-ville fashion, or the head folded down like an open car.
An interesting pillarless saloon is made on an .Alvis Crested Eagle chassis. A steel re-inforcing member on each side of the body follows the line of the roof and runs down the rear quarter and the front pillar to the chassis. The tail opens flat to provide luggage platform. The body is noticeable for its detail work, such as the built-in aerial, concealed windscreen quadrants and door hinges, and last and not least, permanent four-wheel jacks.
Charles Follett, Ltd., 18, Berkeley Street, London, W.1.
To the connoisseur of sporting cars the words ” Follett” and” Alvis ” are almost synonymous, and Mr. Follett’s experience with this make of car ensures that the special coachwork designed by him shall embody this in appearance and detail finish.
Four body types are supplied on the Speed 20, an open four seater, a drop head coupe, a two-door saloon, all made by Vanden Plas, and a four-door saloon by John Charles.
On the first three the graceful swept wings which are a Vanden Plas feature have been retained, while the sloping back line of the bonnet and the louvres in the bonnet and scuttle enhance the impression of speed which all these bodies poosess. The back panel, which carries the spare wheel, hinges back, exposing a luggage grid capable of carrying a good sized trunk.
The four-door saloon has an unusually curved roof, the top of the windscreen carrying out the same lines, and louvres over the windows are a useful feature.
FREESTONE & WEBB.
Freestone & Webb, Ltd., 101-103, Brentfield Rd., Willesden, N. W.10 A good coachbuilder can improve on the maker’s standard lines, as is shown by a Freestone and Webb two-seater body on a long-chassis 2.3 litre Alfa-Romeo. The bonnet is extended back almost to the dash, and inclined louvres take away any effect of heaviness. The special windscreen has side pieces which
are taken off and used as aero screens when the main screen is folded down. There are double dickey seats in the tail, the hood disappears behind the seats, and there is also further luggage accommodation. Freestone and Webb bodies are seen on both Rolls Royce chassis both open and closed, and will be available on the 3i litre Bentley. Other interesting bodies
are the pillarless saloon on the Alvis Crested Eagle with armchair rear seats, and a close coupled four-light saloon on a 100 m.p.h. Delage chassis.
Grose, Ltd., Marefair, Northampton.
Specialising in closed bodies, Grose of Northampton always contrives to get an original line. An outstanding body is a fixed head Continental Coupe on a Speed 20 Allis. By having a dark bonnet and scuttle both curving strongly forward, a light body, and a dark trunk at the rear the car is given a “slung between the ‘wheels” effect usually only found on the products of French coachbuilders.
The same scuttle line is employed to advantage on a four-door saloon on an Alvis Firefly, and short wings, instead of the sweeping ones now in vogue are successfully used. A four-light two-door body is not often seen, but this arrangement on a Talbot ” 95 ” gives a well lit back seat. The quarter lights swing out for ventilation, and purdah glass is used in the back light. An aluminium beading, wide on the centre panels, narrow when it meets the bonnet and outlines the rear panel, sets off the black trunk
the black body. A trunk carrying two large suitcases is reached by a flap at the top.
Hooper & Co., Ltd., 54,St. ames’ s St., Piccadilly, London, S.W .1.
Always associated with highclass coachwork on Rolls Royce chassis, tradition is shown in the Hooper four-door saloon on the 3i litre Bentley with its harmonious and satisfying lines. The graceful thin roof, which nevertheless allows the fitting of a sliding panel gives good visibility, and has special suctionOperated direction indicators Which slide out of tubes at the front end. The door hinges are
concealed, and the doors swing on thin 11 section pillars.
The deep section of the bonnet is relieved with back-sloping louvres, and the band moulding, which is deep in the centre of the body and tapers off at each end gives a unity to the whole. Points of practical importance are the large luggage boot, which is reached by removing the rear squab, and the Klaxon
windscreen wipers which are concealed in the lower windscreen rail and are driven by cable from a motor under the floor boards.
In spite of its substantial appearance the Hooper saloon only weighs 28 cwts. It costs complete 21,560.
Jarvis of 1Vimbledon, Victoria Crescent, Wimbledon.
The Morris Ten and Twelve have shown ;themselves capable of a good performance with standard coachwork, and this has been further improved by the light Jarvis body. For 1934 special versions of these chassis have been produced, with two carburetters, increased compression, and special tuning so that speeds in the neighbourhood of 70 m.p.h. should be possible on these moderately priced cars.
The open cars are fitted with a two-door body of attractive appearance, with sweeping wings and cut-away sides. The bonnet line is almost level, with a folding windscreen, and a neat hood confirms to the line of the rear quarters. The bottom of the doors comes well
forward to make it easy to get in and out of the car, and one can reach the back seats without disturbing the front passengers Pneumatic upholstery is fitted throughout, and the size of the chassis allows plenty of leg-room for the occupants of front and back seats.
A four-seater drop head coupe is also available in which the head can be partly or wholly lowered. A luggage trunk is fitted.
Jensen Motors, High Street, West Bromwich.
The low chassis line of the new Hornet Special chassis gives a fine opportunity to the coachbuilder and the three Jensen bodies of which we illustrate the two-seater version, look particularly road-worthy. The four-seater differs in having swept-type front wings and rear wings which run down to the tail of the car, while the spare wheel is carried in a more vertical position. A neat two-door saloon can be had
with a distinctive colour-scheme, the lower part of the bonnet and doors dark in colour and the top and the rear part light, while the quarter-lights have rear edges sloping to follow the line of the dark roof covering both.
The two and four seaters cost 2285. The saloon will be available at 2290. The two-seater can be fitted with a detachable tail and 20 gallon petrol tank, making it suitable for track use for an additional £20.
Arthur Mullimer, Ltd., 73, Bridge Street, Northampton. Mulliner coachwork is fitted to a great range of chassis, but the Sports Saloon fitted to the new 3i Bentley is of particular interest at the present time. Apart from the unusual treatment of the front wings, this four-door design follows sound and well-tried lines. Details such as the waist and window mouldings and the window louvres are carried out with restraint and good taste, and the finish is as always magnificent. A sliding roof is standard,
and luggage is carried in a large boot with a hinged lid. The spare wheel is sunk into the back panel. The cars sells complete.
Four-door bodies of similar design are available on Rolls Royce chassis, and a useful drop-head coupe on the Speed 20 Alvis.
Open four-seater bodies are fitted to the Aero Minx and the Lanchester 10. Both these have two doors and swept wings differing slightly in contour. A newcomer is the open four-seater body on the underslung A.C.
J. Gurney _Nutting & Co., Ltd., Lacland
Place, Kings Road, Chelsea, S.W.10. It is a far cry from the famous streamlined body on Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Blue Bird to the dignified sedanca coupe which Messrs. Gurney Nutting have fitted to a 100 m.p.h. 8 cylinder Delage, but the same ingenuity and high finish can be seen in the two. The rear part of the head fitted to the Delage does not fold, but in fine weather the sliding roof is moved back into the rear of the body, and the cant rails detached and stowed, by means of dropping hinges, into lockers in the rear quarters of the car. The roof which is
made on a plywood foundation with cutout portions to reduce weight moves with unusual ease and can be fixed in any position by means of a special one-handle lock, and the slides and gutters are specially constructed to avoid leakages at these critical parts.
A four-door saloon on the Siddeley Special chassis should be ideal for fast touring, and the sliding roof and built-in travelling trunk are good points. Black with chromium mouldings is the colour scheme suggested.
Another body which will arouse interest is a two-door four light saloon on the 3i litre Bentley, with sliding quarter-lights.
H. R. Owen, Ltd., 17, Berkeley Street, London, W.1.
The best known of the Owen bodies Is the Sedanca Coupe, which is now available on the new Bentley chassis at a price of 21,530. The head when raised has the suave lines of a fixed top Continental Coupe. In fine weather the head can be partly or wholly opened without losing the smart effect. To lower it, the front part of the hood cloth is detached from the windscreen, rolled up and stowed in a recess in the front part of the head. The cant rails fold in two, and then by ingenious hinges each drops down and stows in its own
locker in the rear quarter. The car becomes virtually a coupe de vile. If one requires to open the car completely, the head folds down in the ordinary way, and is neatly stowed in a special cover. Luggage accommodation is a strong
point, and a 42 inch trunk holds three Revelation suit-cases, with the tools in a fitted tray in the lid. A two-door open four seater with sweeping wings and graceful lines is also avail
able, and the luggage trunk is made an integral part of the design by bringing the rear wings out beyond it as far as the vertically mounted spare wheel.
Park Ward & Co., Ltd., 473, High Road, Willesden, N. W.10. As official coachbuilders to the Rolls Royce Company, Messrs. Park Ward offer a variety of designs, mostly four door,
on the 25 and the 40-50 h.p. chassis. Their designs on the new Bentley are notable for the same dignified line and practical but luxuriously fitted accommodation.
The four-door saloon has swept wings with front valances, and separate running boards distinctive with their alternate plated and rubber strips. A straight waist line is maintained, and the rear wings follow the line of the sloping tail. The wheel is carried on the hinged rear panel.
The luggage locker is unusually large and can accommodated a trunk, and the tools are fitted into trays carried in a compartment in the lower part of the tail. Practical points are the traps which allow the tank guage and connections to be reached and the easy access to the back axle and the battery which is carried just in front of it.
The front bucket seats which are adjustable, and the rear seat which seats three people are equally comfortable and details such as the sun visor and the sliding roof are well throught out.
The drop-head on the coupe when lowered is actually neater than a good many hoods on open cars, and requires no complicated manoeuvres to make it bed down into the well provided for it. This well is not seen when the top is erected. The luggage accommodation is similar to that on the saloon.
R.E .A .L. Carriage Works, Ltd., Pope’s Lane, Ealing. There are few examples of full-sized
as opposed to sports four-seaters available on fast chassis to-day, and the Continental Tourer on the Alvis Crested Eagle is designed to satisfy this need. The spacious four-door body has bucket seats in front mounted on Lever°11 slides and a single back seat both with pneumatic upholstery. The two door posts are braced with a cross rod which also acts as a rug
rail. The hood affords thorough protection when raised, but does not break the level top line of the body when folded away. The side curtains are stored behind the back squab.
The two spare wheels are carried on either side of the scuttle, and the rear panel hinges down, exposing a large flat luggage platform. The tools are carried in a felt-lined tray in the lid.
The Open Air Coupe on the ” 65 ” Talbot has most attractive lines, and some unusual features. The window space, which curves slightly downwards to the rear, extends back to the rear quarters. When the door windows are lowered, the quarter lights wound back, the rear window swung open, and the sunshine roof slid back, one has almost the equivalent of an open car. The spare wheel is carried at the back and the luggage and tool lockers are the same as on the Alvis.
SALMONS. Salmons & Sons, Bucks.
The Tickford body, in which the head may be completely raised or lowered by turning a detachable handle at the back of the body is well-known. On four door bodies it was necessary to have a guide rail on each side of the body, but with two door coachwork this has been done away with.
These two-door bodies are being fitted to a number of different cars, especially Aero Minxes. The cant rails fold under the front hood stick, carrying with them the front part of the hood and a supporting bar which prevents the fabric between the hood sticks and the windscreen from sagging when the head is erected. The back part of the head can be left up, giving plenty of fresh air with freedom from draughts or it can be wound down when it stows into a small compass. A forward folding windscreen can be fitted if required.
Cecil Saunders, Ltd., Letchworth. Strength excessive without weight is one of the aims of a sports body-builder and Cecil Saunders, Ltd., gained valuable
experience through constructing bodies on the late Sir Henry Birkin’s racing cars. Individual designs are drawn up for each owner, and the illustration shows a striking example on a Talbot ” 90 ” chassis. A long bonnet with louvres on top and at the sides and a short cowled scuttle give the car a thoroughbred aspect, and the long wings and running boards with
their chrome strips are in keeping. The car was built for continental touring, so the two spare wheels are carried alongside the bonnet. There is a large luggage container at the back, and the tools are carried in the lid. Twin filler caps are a useful feature. The pneumatic upholstery is well-finished and the back passengers receive good protection. Thermos flasks and other touring conveniences are fitted. Apart from ” custom-built ” bodies, plans are going forward for making a
feature of Ballila Fiats, which of course have put up excellent performances in such events as the Italian 1,000 Mile Race.
Vanden Plas (England) 1923, Ltd., _kingsbury Works, The Hyde, Hendon, N. W.9.
From the days of the 3 litre Bentley the designs of Vanden Plas have been identified with the best in open fourseater cars, and a” Vanden “body figures on the 31Bentley reviewed on another page. The two-door 4 seater body on the Talbot ” 105 ” being supplied by Messrs. Pass and Joyce, the London concession
aries for this marque. The long bonnet and short scuttle have louvres inclined to match the sloping windscreen and the rear end of the bonnet, while the cutaway sides and neat hood with metal sticks follow normal Vanden Plas practise.
A single handle on the sloping tail unlocks it and the panel swings back to reveal a large luggage compartment, with a grid which locks in a horizontal position when the tail is fully swung back.
A range of open and closed sporting coachwork is built on the Alvis chassis for Messrs. Charles Follett, while there is also a special coupe to vile with a fixed head. An unusual feature is the thin movable front rail which allows the extention to be folded neatly into the head. Folding cant rails are fitted, and a similar body can be supplied on the Siddeley Special.
Martin Walter, Ltd., 145 and 157, Sandgate Road, Folkestone.
There are nowadays on the market a number of bodies with folding heads, hut in the case of those fitted to the larger chassis, a considerable effort is necessary to raise or lower them. This is avoided on the Martin Walter ” Ripple ” sports cabriolet mounted on the 2 litre Lagonda, by a special spring-loaded linkage. After unlatching the canopy bar from the top bar of the windscreen the head can be pushed back without any further operations. Passing over a dead-centre, it is locked in the down position, and ease of movement is ensured by using lubricated bronze bushes. In the case or four-door bodies, the
windows slide in guides in the doors, so that any of the four may be erected at will. There is no centre pillar, as the window frames slide one into the other, so that with windows and hood down the car is completely open. The angular appearance of drop heads is not found on the new body, for the rear portion is padded and curved like a normal saloon.
Luggage is carried on a tray at the back of the car normal:y concealed by the flush back panel. Turning a handle winds out the tray, bringing with it the back panel. Links cause this gradually to swing into a vertical position, and side pieces make the luggage carrier virtually a drawer ofkitnY required size.