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Principles of Cycle Car Construction – Part IV

A cycle car from an unknown builder, possibly of English or European construction. Photo courtesy of Dale Davenport.

Here’s the next installment of our ongoing series about the world of cycle cars, with more excerpts from that definitive article on the subject from the January 15, 1914 issue of  The Automobile magazine (below). One again, we’re struck by the sheer number of manufacturers actively involved in the production of these interesting little vehicles in locations all over the country. From Detroit to San Francisco, Indianapolis to New York, and all points in between, it seems that every tinkerer with a barn to work in was trying to get into the game.


Friction drives with belts or chains to the rear wheels seem to have been the standard practice, although the Chicago-built Rayfield  mentioned in the first thumbnail, above, used a more conventional two speed selective gearbox. It also differed from most others with it’s water-cooled four cylinder engine, as many other designs relied on air-cooled one or two cylinder power.

The Imp cyclecar (top image in the first thumbnail, below) is notable as William B. Stout’s first automotive concept, selling the idea to the W.H. Mcintyre Company who went on to produce the car. He would later gain fame as the builder of the Stout Scarab, a distant ancestor of the modern mini-van. If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to take a look at Part 3 of the series.


3 responses to “Principles of Cycle Car Construction – Part IV

  1. The little racer shown at the bottom of today’s installment is the 1922 Wing Midget, and the story appeared in a popular hobby magazine the following year. As few as six of these cars were manufactured by Chauncy Wing’s Sons, of Greenfield, Mass. Production of the Henderson-powered cars lasted for only one year. Its design was inspired by the Baby Comet cars built for Birdboy Art Smith several years earlier.

  2. Not too sure about the suspension of the Falcon, with the kingpin in the centre of the front axle. One would think that the kingpin would either break with the stress, or the whole frame would flex.

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