Home, lots more to see.                 Page C1                   March 1936            NEWNES PRACTICAL MECHANICS      330 


The First Article of a Series Describing the Construction of an Ingenious, Simple Well-designed Three-Wheeler, which May be Built for even less than 20. Its Annual Tax  is Only 4, and it is Capable of 50 Miles an Hour. Petrol Consumption is over 65 Miles per Gallon, and it may be driven by any reader over 16 years of age ! The Illustration Below Indicates its Really Attractive Lines. Any Unskilled Amateur Can Make it With Ordinary Tools. By F.J. Camm.The fast baby car you can build.


F you have ever thought of the possibility of building for yourself a small runabout car, you have probably dismissed the idea as being outside the bounds of possibility for amateur construction, or as requiring a heavy initial outlay and the possession of tools and equipment usually associated with the factory. Therefore, I wish to disabuse your minds on these various points at the outset.

It is probably not known to many of my readers that several thousands of midget cars are built. in America annually, and so intensely enthusiastic is the movement over there, that race meetings are held all over that vast country practically every night on the various dirt and hard tracks. There are hundreds of midget car clubs in America and Canada, and a few in Australia, and the rules of membership and of the various midget-car competitions are firstly that the car must be amateur built, and, secondly, that the engine must not exceed a specified cubic capacity. Midget-car racing has 'become, in fact, a craze, and the sport bids fair to become popular in England.

Note the Simplicity and Really attractive lines of this fast baby Car .
You can build it !

Floodlit Racing Tracks
T h e American midget-car events draw enormous crowds and after  dark the  tracks are floodlit. It is a fascinating sight to witness these tiny vehicles, most of which are capable of speeds of over 60 miles an hour hurtling round the track and performing amazing evolutions demanding little of the skill  which is required o drive more orthodox cars r o u n d Brooklands.
These tiny cars, however, are not built merely for racing purposes, and vast numbers of them are used for ordinary touring purposes. They have the great advantage, of course, of low taxation, require a minimum amount of garage space, are cheap to run (the petrol consumption is at least 65 miles to the gallon), are cleaner than motor cycles, and they have the added advantage of providing weather protection, which a motor cycle does not. They can also be used for touring along the narrow lanes and picturesque by-ways, which would be impossible for larger cars, and above all, they are perfectly safe.

Simple Construction.
The greatest advantage, perhaps, is that they may be built for as small an amount as 15, depending upon the number of refinements which are fitted. Given a motor- cycle engine of the air-cooled type of from 250 c.c. to 600 c.c., a motor-cycle type of oountershaft three-speed gearbox with integral clutch, and three wheels, and you have the material for building a midget car. The veriest amateur possesses the ability to construct one. Many years ago the cycle- car movement in England was extremely popular, and as with radio, there was a considerable number of amateurs who built them. No doubt owing to the unreliability of early engines a n d the difficulty of obtaining the requisite parts, the midget-car movement fell by the wayside. Nowadays, however, there  is a plentiful supply of material.  Motor-cycle engines of the required capacity can be picked up quite cheaply  from garages and other firms who specialise in spare parts. So, too, can gearboxes, whilst the wheels can be purchased new for a very small sum.
Many years ago 1 designed a similar small car to that forming the subject of the present article and marketed it. and it proved extremely popular.
You require a motor-cycle engine of either the side or overhead valve type of not more than 350 c.c. for the design here given, and as 1 horse-power is approximately equivalent to 100 c.c. the power range required is from 2 1/2  to 3 1/2. If you fit a 2 1/2 horsepower engine the top speed would be an easy 40 miles an hour, whereas with a 350 c.c. engine the top speed would be in excess of 50 miles an hour. Naturally, the overhead-valve engines will be the faster.

Why a Three-Wheeler was Chosen
I will anticipate the reader's question of  explaining why a three-wheeler has been chosen in preference to a four wheeler . In the first place the legal definition of  a three-wheeler is that it is a motor cycle ! As such, it comes within the same taxation class as a motorcycle and sidecar. Secondly, it is cheaper to build, for the excellent reason that there are only three wheels and three tyres, instead of four wheels and four tyres, thirdly, the three-wheeler dispenses with the need for a differential gear. Fourthly it is easier to build and has less working parts. The annual tax is 4 only .  If you add to these advantages the fascination of building it, and finally of using it on the road you have the entire case for the tiny car.