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* Up Dated * A Few Automotive Oddities to Ponder


Thanks to a number friends that we have made in Europe, today we present you with three automobiles that are a bit off the beaten track. Little is known about any of them so if you can fill in any of the details about these vehicles please send us a comment.

The propellor-driven car above is thought to be a late French Helica that may have been made after the manufacture of the cars had been transferred from Marcel Leyat to some other entity. Learn much more about the interesting cars referred to as The Plane Without Wings and see a video of a Helica in action here.


* Up Dated * Thanks to Isabelle Bracquemond who found the advertisement seen above, we now know that the top photo shows the Eolia model and it was built by Brevetees S. G. D. G. (Leyat et T. A.). The ad goes on to state the following specifications: 2-cylinder 8 h.p. engine; a top speed of 80 k.p.h.; fuel consumption of 4-5 liters per 100 kilometers; carries 2-passengers; weighs 225 kilograms (496 pounds).


* Up Dated * The Mercedes seen above with the unusual applied design work on its coachwork and wheels appears to have been on display at an automotive salon of some sort. We are hoping that with such a distinctive appearance it will not have been forgotten and one of our readers will be able to tell us more about it. Thanks to readers ehdub and C. Gillingham you can learn about this 1921 28/95 Mercedes here.

The Royal Ediswan product mobile below appears to have been built on a Model TT Ford Truck chassis. The Edison Swan Electric Co. Ltd. was located in Ponders End, Middlesex, England and manufactured and sold a full line of all types of electrical devices in addition to Fullolite Lamps. All photos are courtesy of our friends at Yacht club des Avions de la Route.


10 responses to “* Up Dated * A Few Automotive Oddities to Ponder

  1. Hmm, have to wonder if this is where the Ford boys got the idea for the “better idea”, light bulb ads in the 60s or 70s.

  2. That Helica seems to have two rather bothersome issues:

    – dangerously unstable in turns (wheels lift off the surface)

    – the front mounted propeller has very little guard from inquisitive pedestrians, birds, etc. Heaven help them in a front end accident.

    Tom M.

    • Tom, The car in the video had a different form of rear suspension than this car, which appears to have a beam axle and semi-elliptic springs that likely solved the problem.

      It appears some of them had a light screen over the front of the propellor, but nothing that would probably stop a heavy object. Only thirty of then have been reported to be sold when new and they were viewed as a novelty and not intended for regular road use.

  3. There is an excellent book by Gustave Courau published in French in 1978 entitled ‘Mon Helice au pays des merveilles 1921-1930’. This records the history of the propeller-driven car from the earliest times when pioneer aviators Ferber, Archdeacon and Lafarque built the first such vehicles, whose experiments preceded Marcel Leyat’s well known cars.

    Capitaine Ferber built a crude frame with wheels at each corner and a De Dion single cylinder engine driving a tractor propeller, Archdeacon an even more improbable Motocyclette and Lieutenant Lafarque experimented crossing the Sahara with a car fitted with a huge six bladed pusher propeller at the rear.

    Courau’s book tells the whole story, and has a detailed annex listing the many articles and larger works in which these oddball vehicles have been described over the years. Worth getting a copy if you want the whole story!

    Martin Shelley

  4. I’m fairly sure the Mercedes is a 28/95, and I know the coach builder was Reutter. This photo was taken at the 1921 automobile exhibition in Berlin. It was built for a customer, but I don’t know who that was.

  5. WOW, I like to study the era striping & signage in the photos you post, but that Mercedes would give Ed ‘ Big Daddy ‘ Roth a headache ! Now I’m going to have nightmares of a customer asking me if I can duplicate it !!

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