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Mystery solved, really!? How?

Mystery solves, really!? How?

About a month ago, there was a feature about a mystery car on the platform of the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway. There were some suggestions made and Ariejan Bos was quite certain about the make. After that, the sender of the photo wasn't quite convinced he (and some others) were right so they emailed to each other to find out what it really was.

As we want to show you how Ariejan came to the conclusion, we will share you his thinking: 
"There are always many details, which can be used as identification features, but in the case of European cars normally only those parts which belong to chassis (American cars regularly have standard factory bodies, making these part of the id process). In this case we have: the bonnet, the number and pattern of the louvres, the dumb irons, wheel hubs, cooling package, front axle and steering system (here: steering head and tie rod), gear levers etc.. The steering wheel itself (including possible hand levers) is unfortunately not very well visible. Also, the presence of chain drive is unclear, is probably not present, but it cannot be ruled out. The angle of the picture prevents to observe this part. Details which can be found on both Georges Richard and Mors models of 1902-1903: this type of bonnet with louvre pattern and divided lid on top of the bonnet, the cooling tube package between the dumb irons, the transverse bar connecting the dumb irons and supporting the crank handle. The crank handle normally is positioned asymmetrical (on the left side for the Georges Richard; in the case of Mors normally on the left, but sometimes on the right): the transmission to the crankshaft is by two differently sized gear wheels. The relatively long wheel hubs can be found on both Georges Richard and Mors, as is the case with the steering gear and front axle shape. Distinguishing features like chain drive and hand levers below the steering wheel are not visible as mentioned.

So what is left: the side levers, three in total: the larger ones for forward gear shifting and braking, the small one for reverse gear. This type of outward curved braking gear I observed only on Georges Richard, as well as the grip of the small lever. See for this the photo of the smaller 12hp Georges Richard. Another detail is the shape of the dumb irons, strengthened in the shape of an inverse T. These seem to have been used only on the larger Georges Richard cars like the 24hp and 40hp (see pictures). The only Mors car which used them as far as I could find was their type Z 40hp racing car of 1902, but this car had a very differently shaped bonnet. The 40hp Georges Richard was very similar to this Mors, by the way, having chain drive too. The reason for the similarity of the Georges Richard and the Mors is of course very clear: Henry Brasier had worked for Mors before joining Georges Richard in 1901. He had worked especially on the racing cars and wanted to do the same in the Georges Richard factory. This was the main reason that Georges Richard, who lost interest in racing at all after a serious racing accident in 1903, left his own firm end of 1904 to establish the Unic factory. In 1903 already the cars were called (Georges) Richard-Brasier, but I believe that the cars were called only Georges Richard in England still for some time. 

So resuming, the car is, in my opinion, a Georges Richard (-Brasier) limousine of 1903, probably a 24hp model indicated by a large number of louvres (12). Maybe not 100% certain, but for me at least 95%!"

Photographs by Ariejan Bos.



#1 Peter Ransom 2018-01-17 01:29
Arejan, you da man! I enjoy a bit of this sort of sleuthing and it's always down to one or two little clues for the final decision. And of course access to good reference material.

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