Vintage postbag, September 1993

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The Globe

Sir,
I was interested in W B’s reference to “The Globe” in “Forgotten Makes” in your April Issue. I discovered a more or less complete Globe cyclecar on a plant farm in about 1960. I recall paying £5 for it and exchanging it with a friend for two 6.00 x 16 tyres for my mother’s 1939 Chevrolet. My friend is still threatening to restore the car one day. W B refers to the primitive transmission. From memory the countershaft and rear axle were linked together on some sort of sub-frame which hinged below the chassis.

On depressing the clutch pedal the sub-frame moved forward, allowing the primary drive belt to slip, thus enabling one to change speeds in the epicyclic gearbox. If one prodded the pedal more firmly it brought the pulley into contact with a wooden block, transforming the clutch pedal into a brake pedal. This primitive braking mechanism was fortunately backed up by internal expanding brakes on the rear wheels, operated by a right-side lever.

The hickory chassis frame of this car had been axed in two and the rear portion, including the bodywork, had been stored in a shed. The bodywork consisted of a tall edifice rather like an Australian country outhouse and which may have been the prototype of all panel vans, most likely used to carry plants from the plant farm to market.

I, too, retain fond imaginings of what it might be like to drive a Globe.

Robert G King, Victoria, Australia.
A similar transmission was used in 1895 on the Leon-Bollée, discussed in July.)W B

A keen reader

Sir,
Always a joy to an old man when the end of the month comes, with Motor Sport! May I make a small comment on the Leon Bollée, a most interesting article? With the belt-drive of Zenith-Graduas the belt remains at the same tension all the time; the “coffee grinder” handle opens and closes the engine pulley and moves the rear wheel to and fro. In the highest ratio the pulley is fully closed and the back wheel is as far forward as possible. At the lowest ratio possible, the pulley is so far opened up that the belt will slip. Then, sitting on the machine, one winds the pulley closer together, the rear wheel moves forward, and the machine starts to gather way. I owned one of these Zeniths with the 680cc JAP engine.

Richard Chapman, Box, Corsham, Wilts.
(The first machine I had, shared with a friend, was a Zenith Gradua, bought for 25/(125p) from Roland Smith’s around 1932. It had no belt, so we spent three evenings pushing it home from Hampstead to West Norwood, after work. Unable to afford a rubber belt, we tried a whittle belt. It always broke in a few yards, so we never did ride that Zenith! Its expanding pulley, variableratio drive was as Richard Chapman reminds me, and a similar system was used on the earlier Bleriot-Whippet cyclecars.)W B