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Homepage. This page: Rare photographs of these Coventry-built four- and three-wheel motor-cars of the 1920s.

Coventry Premier car.

John emailed the following photograph over, in the hope that the vintage-era four-wheel "light car" might be identified. After seeking advice on the subject, the car was identified as a Coventry Premier. The registration, XK 4404, ran for a short time only - from January 1922 to May 1922 - thus confirming its registration date and area, in this case London. The driver of the car is John's father, Mr Ernest Percival Goodrich, accompanied by his twin sisters Grace and Marjorie. A fantastic photograph, many thanks for sending it over to be included on OCC.
The firm Coventry Premier can trace its roots back to 1875, when it was formed (as Hillman & Herbert) to produce bicycles in the city. By the late nineteenth century the company was known as the Premier Cycle Company, and in 1908 it first dipped its toe into the world of motorised vehicle manufacture, producing a 3.5hp motorcycle. In 1913 the company brought in G.W.A. Brown, of Clement-Talbot, to oversee design and production of a new car, resulting in the launch of a V-twin powered three-wheeler, initially chain driven. In 1914 the firm was renamed Coventry Premier Ltd. Motor vehicle production halted for the duration of WW1.
In 1920 the Singer motor company took over the Coventry Premier marque, after which a four-wheel version of the Runabout was introduced. Car production continued after the Singer take-over for a couple more years only, the badge finally being used on a pared-back version of the Singer Ten.
Click to view:
Vintage Coventry Premier light car
The Premier Works was situated in Read Street, Coventry. The original factory buildings no longer survive, but the site in more recent times was the location of a factory used by Lucas Aerospace.
Bar a reference to Coventry Premier on a 1924 garage receipt, coincidentally for the purchase of a used 10hp Singer (see it here), this was the first Coventry Premier to fully feature on the site.

Three-wheel Coventry Premier.

Very shortly after publishing this page, Eddie contacted me with a query he had about a three-wheel car he'd seen in photos sent to him. A little digging uncovered the fact that this car is also a Coventry Premier, but in slightly earlier - three-wheeled - form, dating to about 1921. Thanks to his contact, and agreement received via him from the photos' owners - Niall & Stephanie Kidd - I'm able to share the photos here.
The first of the photos isn't in the best condition, but does give some basic detail for anyone interested in these rare cars. It's registration is IZ 256.
Front view of the three-wheeler
Photographs two and three are side views of the Coventry Premier three-wheeler. Both are charming shots of a family with its modestly-powered machine.
Side view no.1
Side view no.2
Niall put together a piece for a transport magazine, shedding light on the car's owner at the time, his grandfather. The following has been extracted from that document:

"I have been trying to identify the first car, a 3 wheeler, owned by my grandfather in the early 1920s. I understand he acquired the car, second hand, in 1923. He was working in Ballina, Co Mayo at the time. The registration is IZ 256 which is from Co Mayo."
"My grandfather, Dr. Rev. Ernest Williamson (1892 - 1958), was a Presbyterian Minister covering many rural parishes in Ireland. He was born and raised in Co Cavan, ordained in Belfast with first parish in Co Down where my mother was born. He then was moved in the early 1920s to Ballina Co Mayo, where my three uncles were born. During the 1940s/early 50s he was based in Tralee, Co Kerry before retiring to Belfast where we lived. During the mid-1930s he had acquired, as his pension, a old large house outside Street, Co West Meath."
"As well as his ministering, my grandfather was very interested in all things mechanical including motor cycles, cars and clocks. He accumulated many of these over the years. As I said, his first car was this 3-wheeler. This followed a motor bike, and a motor bike with sidecar. Another car he owned for many years was a 1925 Lancia Lambda which he bought in 1931 in Belfast. My grandmother sold the Lambda in 1961 after his death. I have now traced this car to its current owners in Turin. Over the years he owned cars such as Arrol Johnston, Austin 7, Singer 10, Armstrong Siddeley, Ford 8(s), Ford 10, Austin 12, Morris 16, Ford Consul Mk1 and a Lea Francis. When he retired to Belfast in 1954 he brought the Lambda, Leaf and Consul."

It's rare that so much is known about cars and their owners, that feature in 90+ year old photos such as these. Because of this, I'm very grateful to the Kidds for allowing me to share their photos here.
Return to Page 18 in the photographic archive, or visit the main index of images here.

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