Beginnings of the Economy Car in the Edwardian Era

ChassisIn the Edwardian Era, a few manufacturers followed the lead of the light cars makers in making cars that were smaller and lighter than the conventional cars of the period, following the principles of their chassis design, but making machines that were even smaller and lighter. These were the first true economy cars, the forerunners  of today's City cars. This is a study of economy cars produced by the British motor industry.  I have arbitrarily chosen an upper limit of 1.1 litre engine capacity for the subject’s of this article as it reflects the subsequent history of the Economy/Mini/City car. Many of these cars differed from the convention of the time of having four cylinder water cooled engines, by having only two cylinders, some air cooled and some water cooled and in various configurations, being classified at the time as cyclecars. But none of them used belts, chains or friction drives for the transmission. Many millions of  Economy/Mini/City cars with twin cylinder engines would be produced in the years to come after being considered unsuitable for car use in the 1930's.



Their is very little information generally available on the economy cars of the Edwardian Era, but I am fortunate in possessing three books that contain references and data on the subject,they are "Edwardian Cars", by Earnest F. Carter, "The Light Car", by C. F. Caunter, and "The Autocar Handbook", of I believe 1914 0r 1915. These have provided data and quotes for the text. Most of the graphics have come from It is a unique source information, particularly the items copied from Lightcar and Cyclecar and other publications.

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