An insight into the British motoring scene ninety
Extracts from the Sixth Edition of the
Estimated date of publication 1914.
The Miniature Car.
The use of a motor vehicle is primarily controlled
by the Motor Car Act of 1903 and Local Government Board regulations. It
is also subject to the clauses of the Highway Act. Its limit of weight
is fixed by the Motor Car Act, 1903 at six tons. In the eyes of the law,
the cycle car, if constructed with four wheels, is a motor car; if with
three wheels, and not over 3cwt (1 cwt = 112 lbs =50.8 Kg), in weight,
it is a motor cycle. The cycle car is being largely developed just at present,
chiefly on two converging lines, one being that of a diminutive motor car
and the other that of a three or four wheeled motor cycle. The prices vary
from about £80 to £180 (approximately 120 to 270 Dollars or
Euro's at present day rates), the price limit just overlapping that of
the cheapest motor cars, which vary in price from under £150 up to
the most expensive, which may be anything in the neighbourhood of £1,500
There is such a pronounced indication that
the small light car, i.e. a motor car in miniature, is becoming extremely
popular, that users of such cars are catered for by a weekly journal, The
Light Car, devoted solely to matters of interest to them.
The Cost of Running.
With regards to running expenses, it is impossible
to set these out in the form of a table, which is likely to be at all accurate
in the majority of cases. Thus two men may own cars of identical types
and powers, and the total yearly running expenses of one man may be £25
and the other£250. The first may drive, wash, and look after the
car himself, doing only a small yearly mileage in a level country where
roads are good, and keeping down to low speeds, and he may dispense with
insurance and a number of petty luxuries, and may store the car in his
The other may have to leave his car at a
public garage, where a lock-up shed may cost anything from 5/- to 10/-
(5 shillings = 25 pence or 35 cents) per week. He may employ an expensive
chauffeur, and may fit his car with all kinds of luxuries, insure up to
the hilt, and run it very hard. Repairs may arise, and it will be quite
understood that no hard and fast figures can be suggested for these. In
the Autocar for July 22nd 1911, interesting information on the running
expenses of cars of upwards of 100 medical men are given, and their experiences
may be taken as something in the nature of a guide. The following are the
average expenses per mile thus obtained.
For cars of 6 h.p to 8 h.p. it is 4.9d.(
d =old pence = 0.00417 of a pound sterling).
For cars of 10 h.p.to 16 h.p. it is
For cars of 20 h.p. and over it is5.6d.
It is important to note that these
figures include depreciation.
The same medical men also gave approximate
costs of horse carriages, and from these the grand averages of cars and
horse carriages were obtained. The following figures resulted.
Motor cars average cost per mile = 5.33d.
Horse carriages cost per mile =9.94d.
Most amateurs prefer to drive and look after
their own car's, so that the sum set down for the driver would be quite
wiped out, and the amounts for repairs and replacements considerably reduced.
On the other hand, paid drivers in the country
will generally assist in the garden and doing certain housework, so it
is hardly fair to charge all their wages to the cost of running the car.
Many people complain that the prices charged
for motor cars are exorbitant. Few of them have seen a car made, and would
wonder how it could be done for the money if they had the opportunity and
patience to follow all the different processes through from beginning to
end. It must be remembered, too, that in comparatively few cases are patterns
as yet sufficiently well established, either in the factory or by fashion,
to justify their being turned out in very large quantities.
for fun Part one