Vanished Vehicles – Part 11

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Pre WW1
An unfortunate name the Hudlass Dogcart from 1900 as seen on the roads around Southport

An unfortunate name the Hudlass Dogcart from 1900 as seen on the roads around Southport

Hudlass – England 1897-1903

It is rumoured that Felix Hudlass (later an OBE) had never seen a motor car when he began work on his first prototype in 1896. The dawn of motoring saw the man from Southport build a front mounted, vertical twin engine he designed himself. Belt driven it would almost certainly have been the first automobile in Lancashire, if not the north west of England; achieving 15mph. Born in 1874 Felix would use his father’s inheritance to set up his workshop selling dozens of vehicles by 1902 when he had moved to London. During the Southport period his design changed with rear mounted single cylinder engines and his ‘Doctors Car’ one of the first enclosed motor vehicles ever made with all-weather protection with removable side screens and hood; also a range of twin cylinders offering 12 and 20hp which were positioned more conventionally under the bonnet at the front. After selling his workshop in Lancashire he took a new position with Weller Cars of South Norwood. The Weller Cars were on show at Crystal Palace Show in 1902 and attracted the attention of CS Rolls, discussions with Felix followed, the final decision was to team up with Henry Royce. In 1904 Hudlass became the RAC’s first and only engineer remaining in post until 1947 but during WW1 he designed the Red Cross Ambulance used on the Western Front, he would often visit France checking on their maintenance and was awarded the OBE for his efforts. Promoted to Chief Engineer for the RAC until retirement, Felix was also responsible for the design of the Patrolman’s Sentry Box. Who knows, if fate had thrown him a different hand the name Rolls-Hudlass could now be owned by BMW. Between the Wars

Aero – Czechoslovakia 1928-1940

The 1937 Aero 50 one of 1200 built this car resides at Tampa Bay Auto Museum

The 1937 Aero 50 one of 1200 built this car resides at Tampa Bay Auto Museum

Located near Prague, Aero as the name suggests began with flight, their main consideration in the 20s and this continues today. They did however delve into the motoring world with the Aero 10, a small two seat sports car powered by a single cylinder 500cc two stroke rated at 10hp. By 1931 the engine size increased to 622cc of twin cylinder layout with their 18 model which proved very popular selling over 2500 examples. Throughout the 30s the cubic capacity and vehicle sizes increased but they remained two cycle engines even up to 2.0 litre. Bespoke sporting bodies from another Czech company Sodomka were fitted and combined they offered luxury travel with 80mph performance in the model known as the Aero 50. Their most popular offering was the 30, it was produced in large numbers of around 1000 per annum with a chassis made of square piping, resulting in a completely flat underside. This sold in a variety of body styles including a limousine, all featured a cast block with aluminium head of 998cc which powered the Roadster version to 65mph. War arrived and all civilian production ceased under Nazi rule but two models were developed for post war production. Named the Pony and the Record they were never built as state control arrived via the Communist regime but post war Aero built cars for Jawa for a few years. The Aero/Jawa Minor was especially popular with the Dutch but the Czech authorities soon restricted Aero to its core business and they quickly returned to aircraft production. In their prime Aero were exporting to Belgium, Hungary, France and Romania and remain desirable with collectors, especially in Eastern Europe. Post WW2

OSCA – Italy 1947-1967

Barchetta body style for the OSCA Maserati Evocation, beauty for the road and race

Barchetta body style for the OSCA Maserati Evocation, beauty for the road and race

When the Maserati business was sold to industrialist Adolfo Orsi in 1938 the three brothers Ernesto, Ettore and Bindo Maserati entered into a ten-year contract with the new owner. Remaining at the Modena factory until 1947, when the company’s direction of building mainly road cars was pursued by Orsi’s son Omer, a re-think was necessary. The brothers wanted to build sports and race cars so they returned home to Bologna setting up OSCA (Officina Specializzata Costruzione Automobili) in a small factory with minimal equipment. The Maserati Tipo 4 cylinder or MT4 arrived shortly after; the 1100cc class entry would take victory in the GP of Naples in 1948, from then on they built several class winners from 750cc to 1600cc. Bespoke and beautiful bodies adorn the OSCA machines, famous designs from the likes of Michelotti and Vignale. Class wins in all the majors followed at Le Mans, Mille Miglia and the Targa Florio plus an amazing drive by Stirling Moss and Bill Lloyd with overall victory in the OSCA MT4 at Sebring 12 hours in 1954. This dashing 1450cc sports car beat the 3.3 litre beasts from Lancia and Ferrari plus OSCA also secured 4th and 5th places. ‘Gentleman’s road cars that could race at the weekend’ that philosophy culminated with Fiat OSCA Coupe from 1967 the company’s swansong. The OSCA version was bodied by Vignale, Fissore or Zagato, by which time the brothers had decided on retirement, selling to Meccanica Verghera, the producers of MV motorcycles in 1963. The final 1.6 Coupe a PR2 model was manufactured by MV in 1966 and the OSCA name was no more. Modern Era
Huandu CAC6430 – China
Only found in one region of China the Huandu shows even an Ital can enjoy popularity somewhere

Only found in one region of China the Huandu shows even an Ital can enjoy popularity somewhere

One of the final Morris badged passenger production cars from Longbridge was the immortal Ital and let’s be honest, whilst BL’s advertising claimed it could out accelerate a SAAB 900GLS it was never a sensation; although most agree it drove better than it looked. Leyland were happy to promote the Ital Design Studio plus the conjectural influence of Giorgetto Giugiaro, Italian looks as car enthusiasts recognize, it never enjoyed. So who would want to ship the presses and plant required to continue that body shell production around the world for a re-launch? The Chinese state owned Chengdu Auto Works began production of an estate car in 1998. The Huandu was available in estate, pick up and van configurations; with a home grown chassis and powered by Leyland’s O series engine, which found homes in the Princess, SD1 Rover 2000 and Sherpa van. Chinese suspension lifted their versions above pot holes and even fully laden the van version looked a formidable character. Large bumpers, especially at the front didn’t ruin the Ital lines; it worked especially in Western China. Information as to the success of the Huandu is limited apart from one knowledgably enthusiast Erik van Ingen Schenau, of the China Motor Vehicle Documentation Centre. Interesting point he makes is that special permission is required for car production from top Chinese officials and to avoid those complications registering your vehicles as a bus avoids Beijing’s influence. Industrial strife evidently hit the Chengdu Auto Works therefore it and the Ital clones ceased production from 1999, cheap transport was lost as the Huandu only cost £3700. 00, that’s £300.00 less than the basic Ital from a decade earlier.