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Oliver based Railcar body Mercedes Oliver Bottoms Up
1066 MRC/M&E Challenger 3 Wheeler Deason Magnette Ken Robinson's RTD
Moore Shadow replica E&M Maserati E&M Maserati 1066 Conquest


Not quite an Oliver
This car appeared recently on eBay, selling for over £1600. OTW has been aware of the car since its original sale in 2005 in the condition it appears in the centre photo. It was part of a large 'hoard' of cars and associated parts bought at the Crich Museum many years ago. The car is believed to have originated with Jack Hadlow at the Edmonton Club where many Oliver based cars were built and run very competitively. The body is hand beaten, but the engine unit is a genuine Oliver MKII and is understood to be one of only three of this version produced. As can be seen, the car has gained a pair of Dooling rear wheels and tyres and lost its original pan handle during restoration. Oliver single ended car units are quite rare, so this was a very desirable find for its new owner.                   Thanks to  Paul Ironmonger and Alan Whitehead for this item and photos.  June 2012


Any Clues?

From John Claud Lambert in France comes photos of this well ventilated body shell. It would seem to be a commercial pressing with the louvres and headrest, and the semi-scale knock off wheels look the part. Are we in to the realms of MRRC and railcars? Can anyone help Jean Claud (and us) please?    May 2012


Mercedes Mystery

Found in England, but now residing in Sweden is this exceptionally well engineered chassis. The grill is original but the body is new. The motor is lurking in the cockpit for effect only. Has anyone any clues as to its origins please?

Thanks to Daniel Andersson for photos. April 2012


'Ultimate' Oliver

This car represents the peak of development of the commercial diesel tethered car. It is an Oliver 'bottoms up' with the final development of their Tiger twinshaft that included a 'curly carb' venturi. Oliver cars, and even more so the motor, dominated the 1.5cc and 2.5cc tethered car classes for many years. This example shows how small the direct drive tyres were to get peak revs from the engine. The hefty lumps of lead were not unusual either.

Thanks to Ron Reiter for this item and photos Mar 2012


A marriage!

This car combines a 1066 chassis and running gear with a M&E Challenger body. According to its previous owner, Nigel Ferris, "The car was built in Trowbridge by Mike Ferris, son of Frank Patrick Ferris of FP Motors, between 1949 and 1951.  Back then they owned a workshop business for the Austin Morris Wolseley group.  My father always said the car did 100mph but whether true or not I will never know, probably around 60mph in that day and age. My father was a true motor engineer.  He could tune a car to run as sweet as a nut without tools, just by the sound of the engine. The engine in the car is an ETA 29 with serial # 30380.           
Thanks to Guy Martin for this item and photos. Feb 2012


Three wheels is enough.

Another splendid example of the 'semi scale' approach to tethered cars so popular in the late 1940s, unusual in being a 3 wheeler. Shown with the top off so the installation of the ED 'Penny Slot' can be clearly seen. The centrifugal clutch has a serrated flywheel to allow the engine to be started from a bike wheel, hand cranked grinder, or electric motor. It seems likely that the builder of this was the same person who was responsible for last month's MG. Unfortunately, this style of building and racing was killed off in short order by the 'speed merchants'. part of a large collection that OTW was privileged to view before its disposal.

Thanks to Ron Reiter for this item and photos. Jan 2012


Deason 'Magnette'

The MG Magnette and Midget in their various forms were modelled extensively as tethered and railcars. The Magnette seen here featured as a detailed constructional article by Geoffrey Deason in the Model Car Manual and is based on the car raced by Prince Bira in 1934. Originally intended for the ubiquitous Mills 1.3, this car has an ED 2.46cc Racer shoehorned in, but still relies on friction final drive.  A lovely example of an early British 'scale' tethered car.

Thanks to Ron Reiter for this item and the photos.  Dec 2011


Ken Robinson's RTD?

This car passed through Christies in 2004 as being the original car designed by Ken Robinson and George Thomson of the Medway Club, but  the jury is still out as to whether it is or not. Certainly it is not the one Ken was pictured with, or described in ME in 1953. The engine unit does look similar, so is it a replica, a prototype, or a second car of Ken's for a different sized motor? Absolutely everything here has been sacrificed for function and reducing the cross sectional area, but where is it now?
                                        Photo courtesy of Ken Smith    Nov 2011

Update Nov 2011
Thanks to Ken Smith for further information and David Giles for the details below.

I've had a LONG conversation with Ken Smith and can confirm that the bulk of the car is Ken Robinson's original, but it has been considerably rebuilt by Bill Langley. I knew Ken very well from around 1960 right up to his death and I've actually held the real one, back in 1962, when it was lying partly dismantled and very neglected in a drawer in Ken's box room cum study. When I saw the car, it was painted a light green metallic or hammertone colour, with the RTD logo in gold. As far as I know, he only made one and I believe it was sold to Mike Beech when he did a 'trawl' around the UK of tether cars and parts around the mid - to late 60s. It has been confirmed that it was still this colour when Mike Beech sold it to Bill Langley.

Update June 2012
Thanks to Ivan Prior for this new material.
Further information has come to light regarding this car recently. In the mid 1990s, the front half of the car along with drawings and photos was passed to IP Engineering who recreated most of the rear half and motor using Frog engine parts. It is safe to say therefore, that this is in substance the original RTD, although with a substantial rebuild. Bill confirmed that the original name was under the layers of paint when he obtained it. At the auction, in a lot with a French Vega car, it sold for £1703.


A black Shadow, but not a Vincent.

Ian Moore's Shadow, with its Oliver 2.5cc motor shorn of lugs was named Shadow by John Oliver as that was about all there was to be seen. Bevel drive 2.5s were exceedingly rare on the tracks and there is a possibility the original may still be in existence. This is the second replica that has come to light recently. Oliver Monk has built another superb example utilising one of Eric Offen's newly produced castings.

Thanks to Dave Coe for photo of this rare car. Oct 2011


So, how much is it worth?

E&M Maseratis have been gradually falling in price from a high of over £4,000 in 2004 to way less than £1,000, so when this excellent example was seen priced at £2,250 there was a general raising of eyebrows.  The owner has been quite content to allow it to sit there with this price tag for a couple of years, and when Gary Maslin's similar car made significantly over £2,000 on eBay recently, it seemed that his decision had a very sound basis? Makes the one below an even greater bargain!!

Thanks to Brian Waters for allowing us to photograph this car  Sept 2011


A superb and original E&M Maserati

Once thought to be exceedingly rare, this superb example of the Coventry built car recently appeared on eBay. It had been built by the vendors father and grandfather back in the early 50s yet never run. All the running gear is there including an original clutch but there is no engine, ignition or fuel system. Still, at £500 it was a real bargain for the lucky buyer who spotted it.
Thanks to Dan Pryse-Jones for the item and photos     Aug 2011


A Conquest with a 'difference'.

On the face of it, this is just another 1066 Conquest car, but what sets it apart is the top half of the body, which has a significantly higher 'headrest' than any of the production pressings seen so far. There is little doubt that it originates from 1066 and may well be a pre production version. The usual pressings have just the vestige of a humps running from front to back and are quite common. This is a rare variation that needs further research.

Thanks to Brian Waters for bringing this car to Old Warden.    Photo OTW July 2011