I was very interested in the article on Phoenix cars. As my father had one of these cars, the 8/10-h.p. model, for a few years from 1912 I thought some details from a past user might be of some interest.
Our car was purchased direct from its maker, Mr. Van Hooydonk, and was his personal car and had done little mileage. The engine was a 2-cylinder and set across the frame, and started at the side by a long handle. The transmission was by two huge Hans Renold roller chains, one from engine to gearbox and one from central gearbox right to back axle. These chains ran in oil and never ever gave any trouble. The car had dual ignition, we used to start it up via the magneto and switch over to the battery and run on it.
Very often the magneto would drop off from its platform and nothing would happen. You see a long undershield ran right underneath the car, full of dirty oil, and anything dropping fell into that. The petrol tank was on the dash and overhung allowing plenty of leg room, and the body had high side doors and was most comfortable. But the engine was fixed into the chassis by rivets and by 1916 these had all worked loose and the whole lot was sliding about, and that was the end of our Phoenix. But it was a wonderful little car of its day. The gear and brake levers were just outside the door. And latterly it got so difficult to change into 3rd that my father said he would get a car without gears next time. He did. A friction-driven G.W.K.
G. A. Shaw.