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Homepage. This page: A 1950s postcard, featuring cars and vans, including two Tempo Hanseat three wheelers. Also a UK-reg'd van.

1. Tempo Hanseat 15cwt van and pickup.

I found this super old postcard in a charity shop quite recently. Leo in Holland also sent me a scan of the original b/w version, which prompted me to pop this on the site, especially as there are some rare vehicles in view.
Various cars and two Tempos seen in Holland
The scene is Noordwijk aan Zee, probably in the early 1950s. A few of the vehicles are easily recognisable. Nearest the camera is a 1949-1953 Chevy truck, with what looks like a coachbuilt van body on it. The signwriting about the Chevy's four-piece windscreen says "Bloemenhandel", suggesting that the owner was in the flower business - note the spare wheel perched on the roof rack. Other delights that I can identify include an upright Ford Prefect, an L Type Vauxhall, a Minor, and a Fiat Topolino. Of real interest though are the two small commercials parked up, facing the lone bicycle.
Tempo Hanseat
These are both examples of the Tempo Hanseat, one is a van, the other a pickup with a tilt cover fitted to it. Tempos were built by Vidal und Sohn, of Hamburg, Germany. These small three wheel commercial vehicles were quite popular in mainland Europe, but were many sold in the UK? In 1952 an attempt at marketing the Tempo van was made in the UK, via a company called Ancharlco Ltd, of Paradise Street, West Bromwich in Staffordshire. But were many actually sold here? I've never seen one in the metal at any shows. At least one example of the Hanseat van was registered in the UK, as it featured in a roadtest with the registration number 26 AEA (a West Bromwich number - presumably a demonstrator/press vehicle).
An initial batch of 40 vans was imported into the UK, and sold within 6 months, suggesting that there was a market for this tiny and economical van. The Tempo Hanseat was powered by a water-cooled Heinkel two cylinder two stroke engine, of 397cc and incorporating a roller-bearing mounted crank, mounted above the front wheel. It produced a modest 15bhp, but was enough to propel it from 0-30mph in 28.8 seconds. The engine note, on a wide open throttle, was likened by roadtesters of the day to a roar, "like a swarm of angry bees". Drive to the front wheel was via a chain, the engine, clutch, gearbox and radiator all turning with the single front wheel. Dual springs were fitted up front, with independent suspension and two coil springs fitted either side at the rear.
Even when loaded, the pace on the open road could creep upto a heady 35mph, with respectable stability (for a three wheeler...) thanks to the Tempo's reasonably long wheelbase. Vans imported into Britain would have had larger section tyres than those sold elsewhere in Europe, which probably helped stability.
The van featured a steel backbone chassis, clad in an all-steel bodyshell. Two suicide-style front doors were fitted up front, with doors accessing the load bay from the rear and also the side, behind the n/s/f door. The van measured 13' 6.25" in length.
Small-business owners elsewhere in Europe could choose from two versions of the 800kg Tempo Hanseat pickup, and two different versions of the van, one with a higher roofline than that shown above. Tempo produced a number of interesting commercial vehicles, another one, the VW-powered Tempo Matador, can be seen here.
Tempo Hanseat 800kg vans and pickups

2. A UK-registered Tempo Hanseat.

Peter contacted me after chancing across this page of the site in July '09. His father bought XRE 109, a Tempo Hanseat van, in 1952. A quick check of the registration letter codes section, confirms that XRE was first used in the Staffordshire area, during March 1952. Peter adds these personal recollections of this particular Hanseat...
Tempo Hanseat van in 1952
"I just stumbled upon your website and the fascinating piece about the Tempo Hanseat delivery van. My father purchased one of these back in 1952. I have attached an old family photograph with the van, which shows me as a 12 year old with mum and my sister, I imagine that dad was taking the photo.

I will never forget that van. Dad traded as an upholsterer (as I do to this present day). Your mention that this vehicle sounded like a swarm of bees is an understatement, the noise of the Tempo could be heard from miles away and if you were in the vicinity then it was ear-splitting, honestly even after fifty seven years I can still hear it, yet we loved the van. It carried furniture such as chairs and settees, hence the roof rack. It was not particularly reliable, one common breakdown was that all the pins on the drive wheel, connected to the chain drive often used to sheer and even as an 12 year old, I was able to replace these, often at the side of the road. One time we experienced a road accident when this van overturned, my sister and I were in the back, but thankfully no one was hurt and the van was repaired and re-sprayed.

Although, obviously, I was too young to drive I well remember the dashboard (trombone handle) gear stick, apparently it was a work of art changing gear. I just wonder if any collector, anywhere in the world has one of these. Really good, looking at your web-site and thanks for the memory.
Yours, Peter."
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