Vanished Vehicles

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A look back over the past century and beyond at the manufacturers that once produced transport for the masses…. Pre WW1

Jackson Automobile Company – USA 1903-1923

Taken in Maryland around 1907 the image shows a Jackson Model G which cost $2500 at the timeFounder George Adelman Mathews began the Jackson concern in 1903, ‘hedging his bets’ by offering gasoline and steam powered vehicles both under the name Jaxon. Within a year the steam version was omitted from the line up and the name changed to Jackson, with their Model C built in the town of the same name in Michigan. For $1250 the new motorist enjoyed 18HP from a two-cylinder engine that allowed 40mph and the capacity for five travellers. Expansion was rapid and as the company’s technology advanced larger options were made available, including the seven seat Model G with a 35HP motor of four cylinders. Offering shaft drive, three speed gearbox plus reverse and water cooled the Jackson brand benefitted from the export market as well as increased sales at home. By 1911 Jackson advertising offered a range of ten options including the Tourabout and Torpedo versions, whilst the 1914 selection boasted autos with grand titles such as Majestic, Imperial and Olympic. Straight six and then V8 power plants were installed from engine builders such as Northway and Ferro but the marketplace ‘Stateside’ was very competitive by the 1920s and small concerns began to merge. Jackson joined the ill-fated Associated Motor Industries along with eight automotive suppliers in order to decrease costs and pool resources. The group was founded in 1922 with a reported $80 million merger including the National brand which rebranded the 1923 Jackson Six as the National 6-51. It was the final Jackson to be produced as Associated Motors collapsed just 12 months later, taking Jackson along into the history books. Between the Wars

Marendaz – GB 1926-1936

Donald MK Marendaz was born in the Welsh town of Margam in 1897 and post schooling moved to the Coventry factory of Siddeley-Deasy as an apprentice. In 1916 he joined the Royal Flying Corps as a spotter where he received several commendations and the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. Post war Marendaz returned to Siddeley-Deasy briefly, then a short stint with the newly formed Alvis Car Company. In 1922 he founded Marseal Motors and produced some 550 units whilst using racing and especially Brooklands to promote his light cars. Marseal ceased trading in 1924 but a move to London saw the arrival of the sporting Marendaz Special from his works in Kennington. Powered by a four cylinder 1.5 litre Anzani unit it was also offered with a supercharged option and held two 24-hour class records with Donald at the wheel. Marendaz Specials were also entered in the German GP of 1928 plus the French GP in 1936. A new model built in 1931 prompted a move to a new facility in Maidenhead, the power unit was a modified American Continental straight six of 1869cc. Fine looking, performance machines that carried more than a hint of ‘Baby Bentley’ attracted much interest and at this time one of the brands biggest fans were Aileen and Alfred Moss. Stirling’s mother competed in one of the last Marendaz machines which featured a six cylinder 90hp Coventry Climax engine. After producing around 90 units the competition from mainstream manufactures ensured the factory in Maidenhead closed in 1936; unable to compete. Marendaz would go on to design aircraft then left the UK for South Africa, although he retired to Lincolnshire where he died in 1988. Post WW2

Bond Cars -  GB 1949-1970

Bond 250G from 1965, the last of the minicars, this very rare estate with reverse gear and heaterLawrie Bond (also known for the Berkeley design) came up with his two stroke, three-wheel transport option to get Britain mobile again post-war. Under the name Sharps Commercials, Villiers powered, chain driven minicars were built in Preston of unitary construction from 1949. Beginning with the Mark A (122cc single cylinder engine) the models grew both in size, power and popularity through to the Model G of 1966. Electric starter arrived in 1952 and reverse gear five years later with the engine size being standardised in 1960 at 246cc. Although the minicars were selling in reasonable numbers up until the mid-60s, Bond transferred their attentions to a new sporty GT featuring four wheels, called the Equipe. Launched in 1963 its success led Sharps Commercials to change their name to Bond Cars Ltd in 1964. The Equipe was built in association with Standard-Triumph using a Herald/Spitfire chassis and engine parts with a Preston manufactured fibre glass body. Not discarding the tri-wheeled option Bond also created the 875 model in 1966 with four stroke propulsion as used in Rootes / Commer van. Due to its light weight (400kg) the van version of the 875 (the Ranger) could return 55mpg and 95mph from just 34hp. The Equipe received the straight six 2 litre Vitesse engine for 1968, the same year Bond’s parent company was bought by the Dutton-Foreshaw Group. They sold Bond Cars onto Reliant of Tamworth in 1969 but Reliant continued using the Bond name for the launch of the all new Bug in 1970. Bond’s Preston factory ceased the same year and with it went the Equipe and 875 models and whilst Tamworth produced Bug’s until 1974, Bond motor cars became a classic memory. Modern Era
Les Automobiles Manic – Canada 1969-1971
The Manic GT looked right and performed brilliantly but failed because of parts supplyIn 1968 the Alpine brand was independent although it retailed through Renault dealerships and when they decided against exporting their A110, PR man for Renault Canada (Jacques About) set about creating his own version. The name Manic acknowledged the nearby River Manicouagan rather than describe the designs performance which was penned by French Stylist Serge Soumille; blending European and USA preferences in a GT package. The mechanicals fell under control of Maurice Gris who opted for a Renault 8 floor pan with the 1298cc unit (rear mounted) from the brands 10 model; this would allow the Manic GT servicing by Canada’s Renault dealers with versions of performance ranging from 65 to 105BHP and top speeds of 100 to 135mph. Weighing in at just 1450lbs (comparable to an original Mini) a return of 40mpg was achievable with safety features including four-wheel disc brakes and integral roll bar. The Manic performed well and looked right for those who could afford the $3400 asking price at the 1970 New York Motor Show. Several backers including the Canadian Government advanced capital to the tune of $1.5 million and a new factory was opened 1st January 1971 in Granby, Quebec. From the very beginning Renault struggled to fulfil parts supply to the factory and half completed cars sat idle. The factory looked elsewhere buying parts from Renault dealers in Mexico and Spain to keep production moving; finally, they refused to pay Renault’s outstanding invoices. The 1971 New York Show brought an order for 1000 vehicles from an American distributor but it came too late; Renault withdrew interest and the funding ceased as did the Manic GT in June 1971.