Major British Manufacturers of Tethered car equipment.
PRODUCTS LTD. 1066
operated from Worcester from 1946 until early 1950 and was one of the most
prolific manufacturers and suppliers of tethered car equipment. Their range
included three 5cc engines, Falcon, Arrow and Hawk, the Conqueror, a 10cc engine, two different cars, the 5cc MRC and 10cc Conquest, and a tethered hydroplane.
Parts could be bought individually, as kits for machining and assembly or as
complete factory built items.
For an overview of the Company.
M&E MODELS LTD.
M&E Models were an established model
manufacturers and retailers based in Exmouth Devon producing a large range of
model boats, yachts and model railway items. In 1947 they introduced a tethered racing car chassis with a variety of options for engine types and mountings. Parts were
available individually or as sets and impressive
scale and semi scale bodies completed the models. In 1948
the smaller and simpler Wasp
was added to meet the demands of class C racing.
M&E Models ceased manufacturing tether cars around the end of 1949.
For an overview of the Company.
J.A. OLIVER (engineering).
Oliver senior ran a cycle car and motorcycle repair business in Nottingham.
During the war he used his workshop facilities for precision work on Government
contracts. With the war over and little work for his original business he turned
to the manufacture of small capacity model diesel engines. The original
Battleaxe and Jaguar engines were made as twinshafts for car use along with a
folded aluminium chassis sold as the Two-Five. In 1949 the engine that was to
bring fame to the Oliver name was designed. This was the first of the 2.5cc RV
Tiger engines. In twinshaft form it became the standard unit for virtually all C
class cars. In the early 50s Oliver, started to produce a range of cast
aluminium pans from the scale Alfa Romeo and semi scale Tiger
Two-Five to the purely functional Tiger Bomb and
Bottoms Up. Oliver probably produced more tethered cars and engines than any
other manufacturer. So successful and powerful was the Tiger that it found fame
the world over as an aero engine for team racing, combat and free flight.
An extraordinarily detailed history of the Oliver concern is available from John Goodall at Barton Model Products
For an overview of the Company
ROWELL MOTORS Ltd.
were one of the few British companies involved that produced cars and engines
specifically for competition. Based In Dundee, Scotland, Rowell Motors
introduced the first of the serious 10cc racing engines in this country in 1948.
The following year they were offering high performance tyres and wheels and then
introduced a complete car, the Rapier. By 1950 they were offering an updated version of the motor along with a new car, the Sabre.
The Rowell engine was the most powerful British production engine and held several
records. Problems with labour, material supply and the changing market were to be the downfall of this
A detailed history of the Rowell and the company. An overview of Rowell products and recent discoveries.
J.S. WREFORD LTD. At the
other end of the market, Wrefords of 25 North Street, Romford, produced two cars delightfully name the Pint
and Half Pint. These cars were aimed at the home constructor and were based on a
pressed aluminium chassis. A fixed rear axle and a simple gearbox completed the
running gear with a basic but semi scale aluminium body to top it all off.
Half Pint was typically fitted with an ED BEE, Mills, Allbon or similar with the
Pint taking up to 5cc engines. By the time the Pint was introduced rail racing
was becoming more popular and the car could be bought with gearbox, steering
axles, and rail guides to suit this use.
John Goodall replica
Z.N. MOTORS LTD.
From Willsden in London, E.P. (Paul) Zere
ran ZN Motors which produced equipment
of the highest quality available for tethered cars. The wheels are works of
engineering art and were complex and expensive to make and the subject of
world-wide patents. Available in various
sizes and styles to suit all types of car the wheels and tyres were safe to the
highest speeds attainable. Complete 5cc pressed aluminium rolling chassis
for spur driven motors were
available and were highly competitive, with Tom Prest's recording the first ever
100mph run in this country. There was also a 2.5cc
version available to compete against the Oliver products. ZN supplied cast pans for bevel drive 5
and 10cc engines and these again were very successful being used by competitors
through the 50s until tethered car racing faded out. The company offered hand beaten scale bodies
in two sizes as well as gearboxes, coils and a huge range of accessories for
those building their own cars. ZN were also developing their own series of
racing engines in the late 40s, when the change in law regarding the
imposition of purchase tax made the venture uneconomical and it was abandoned.
All the surplus tethered car related items were auctioned or sold off, but
examples of their cars remain rare.
Engines was in business for 4 years from 1946. During that time S.A. Smith
produced an amazing array of parts for differing models, manufactured engines
from a variety of designers, and offered a repair, building and tuning service
as well. The Electra range included chassis kits for the Buck 2A as well as a
pressed aluminium chassis for an E type ERA. The company had plans to produce a
2,5cc version of the ERA with a cast pan as well as a ‘mite’ sized car based
on the 750cc Austin racer. Parts needed to complete these cars, such as wheels,
tyres and gearboxes were all produced in the Chatham workshop. Sold under the
Pioneer name, Electra also produced 5cc and 10cc engines specifically for car
use. The company was also in the process of manufacturing a 2.5cc twinshaft when
it ceased trading.
& MODEL CO. Based in
Coventry, E&M only produced one car, which was offered as a complete
car but it was one of the most impressive models available at the time. Called the Maserati,
the chassis comprised two complex aluminium castings at front and rear held
together by folded aluminium channels. The rear casting held the engine,
usually a 6cc Stentor, and a complicated steering system. The drive was taken to
an axle unit at the front of the car, possibly the longest drive shaft of any
commercial car. The chassis was topped off with a pressed aluminium body and
fairing. Sadly for the company it was a car without a realistic market and they
soon reverted to their core business, although they continued to supply
components until the decline of tethered car activity in the mid 50s. Numerous
examples of these cars have surfaced recently as well as a number of gearbox
For a more detailed look at the Maserati
MODEL ACCESSORY SUPPLY COMPANY. The
longest title for the smallest and cheapest car produced. MASCO Products was
closely tied up with Drysdale Publications and the Kitten
was a simple kit design produced by G. Deason and supplied by MASCO. The purpose
of the car was to allow ‘kitchen table construction’ without the need for
any special tools and equipment. The car had a friction drive instead of gears
and with its intended 1.3cc Mills engine was good for about 25mph. For just over
£7 you could have your own working tether car. The company also provided casting
for a range of model diesel engines as well as other workshop equipment
Based at 159, Sloane Street in the heart of London,
this was just one of Guy Rickard's modelling ventures. Another was the famous
Veron concern that took its name from his wife, Veronica. Guy was one of the
'Pioneers' and raced regularly, which he used in his advertising, pointing out
that there was 'no mass production'. Replica supplied their own axles,
clutches, wheels and tyres as well as those from other manufacturers plus motors
and other items required to build cars and go racing. Parts and kits were also
supplied for the 'Alton Special', designed by Phil
Smith along with two versions of a Bugatti, a scale model similar to one built for
Veronica and a simpler 'Special'. The Rickards had
their own track at their home in Beech, Hampshire.
For an overview of the Company and products
There were many other manufactures that produced cars, engines and accessories, but those mentioned are the most common that can still be found today.
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