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Homepage. This page: Does anyone recognise this tri-cycle, or the two veteran motor-cars also shown in this photo?

Veteran cars and a tricycle.

Bob sent this amazing old photo over. He is researching the family histories for the inhabitants of Butleigh in Somerset, where he lives. The gents shown here worked for the squire of Butleigh, an engineer by the name of Robert Neville-Grenville. Bob is keen to find out the identity not only of the two early motor-cars, but also of the interesting little tricycle - unusual in that it is a petrol-engined tricycle by the looks of it.
A powered tricycle and two veteran cars
Robert Neville-Grenville was obviously a talented chap, he created the Grenville steam carriage in 1875 which survives to this day, and Bob wonders if the tricycle, and maybe one or both of the cars, were also his creations? The steam carriage that he built was registered Y1. A look at the cars in the above photo reveals that the car on the left was registered Y 418, and that on the right Y 882. The Y registration code was first used in Somerset in December 1903, and lasted until 1921. Do any of the vehicles shown here ring a bell with anyone? I've zoomed in on both cars to try and show more detail on them.

Early 1900s car.

The car on the left is interesting, not least because it has spoked wire wheels at the front, and different wheels & fitting arrangements at the back. Books on veteran motorcars occasionally show cars similar in style to this one, but I've yet to find a match.
An interesting veteran car

Tricycle and the second veteran car.

Next, a closer look at the powered tricycle and the strange-looking automobile alongside. Powered tricycles were not unheard of in the late 19th Century, with firms such as Singer and Riley producing them. Whether this is a home-grown tricycle, designed and built by a gifted engineer, or a product of a commercial operation it's hard to say, although it bears a marked resemblance to the De Dion Bouton tricycle, a photo of which can be seen in the cycling section. There are photographs online showing various powered tricycles from 100+ years ago, but none quite like this one. It is believed that the photo was taken circa 1930, so all the vehicles were descending into 'old crock' status by this time. The lack of tyres on the tricycle and on the second car, suggest that they weren't in use, and had been dragged outside for an impromptu photo session.
An old tricycle fitted with an engine
The car is an odd looking machine. Was this a production car, or a home-built creation? Perhaps the heart-shaped radiator will help identify it? From it's size, the tall scuttle looks like it could have originated on an old lorry, and the rear bodywork looks like a concoction of parts from various sources. As with the tricycle, no tyres are fitted to this car either. Whatever these vintage vehicles are, it'd be fun to trip over them in the back of a dusty barn somewhere!
Update 3rd June 2009.
Dane, who often frequents the site forum, has had a look at the pictures and dropped me a line with his thoughts. He showed me a photo of a 20hp Rover, from 1907. The radiator, and front axle, look very very similar, so perhaps the second car is based around a Rover chassis and running gear ...?
If any more information on the cars or the tricycle turns up, I'll add it to this page.
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