Monday, 11 March 2013 00:18


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Bedelia at Rob Roy 2010 Bedelia at Rob Roy 2010
Before the problems of the First World War really began to bite, development continued on the Bullnose Oxford (so called because of the shape of its radiator) needed
more power so a 1.5 litre continental engine was imported from Detroit from Detroit for the Crowley model of 1915.

Despite the availability of reasonably quick cars of fairly low cost like the £175 Morris Oxford there were those who sought more performance for even less money. An
obvious answer was the cycle car. Very closely akin to the motorcycle it had little more weight, the same sort of engined, the crudest steering imaginable, little in the way of
brakes and not much more for steering.

In France higher taxation was blamed for the phenomenon and the Bedelia was the result with its V-twin air cooled engine mounted in line to transmit power by chain
to below the passenger seat from which it was passed on to the rear wheels by belts each side. The driver sat further back (over the rear axle) and the whole thing was very
light and extremely fast.

The Bedelia was sold in some quantities (3 000 is one estimate) of both sides of the English channel. Its main UK rival was the GN of not dissimilar design or appearance, which interestingly also
sold well in France. The GN's V-twin engine was mounted crosswise in its wooden chassis but it still drove the back wheels through a combination of chains and belts,
while early examples had cable at bobbin steering. For all their simplicity, however, the GNs were doughty performances and, particularly in the years immediately after
the war. they were were highly successful competition cars.

The car attracted the attention of the French military, and various versions were proposed - as stretcher bearers, a light machine gun carriers, and general light duties.
Some hundreds of civilian models were produced and made their appearance in cities and towns.  Production ceased not long after the end of WW1.

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