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The "WTF is that?" thread


bunglebus

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1 hour ago, ETCHY said:

It has the look of a Fairthorp or an Ashley but Berkeley is a good shout. Although not sure it's any of those.

Bloody annoying not knowing !

The 'falling' rear wing line and side silhouette look like another Berkeley but it's probably just coincidence as the Berkeleys were GRP.

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8 hours ago, RayMK said:

Strange indeed!  I could not find anything similar from the engines of motorcycles, scooters or cars.  Could it be a finned exposed magneto/flywheel?

Screenshot 2024-02-12 at 00.05.26.png

Is that the pulley for chain or even belt drive fwd? Some weird lash-up? Or could the car have been cord-start like a lawnmower?

No radiator could mean air-cooled hence the big cooling scoop? Some motorbike engine maybe.

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4 hours ago, lesapandre said:

 As (F)MH is a London North-East (used for Middlesex before 1965) registration could it be a Berkeley prototype - they were based at Biggleswade or a Fairthorpe based at Chalfont St. Peter?

Berkeleys were normally registered in Bedfordshire and Fairthorpes in Buckinghamshire so I doubt it's either of those. No idea what it is though, except to point out that the roof really doesn't fit stylistically with the body so could it be a roadster with a roof grafted on later?

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Yep the windscreen and I think the steering wheel are both 100E. I have changed my mind about the wheels, after looking very closely. They're a flatter profile than 100E and they also have a 'fifth hole', other than the four wheel studs, which might make them distinctive? I think it's a red herring in any case.

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Other things which point to it being a prototype: no provision for windscreen wipers. The 'grille' opening looks to have been an afterthought, cut-out once the body had been mounted to the chassis. Perhaps it had a small circular opening originally, which was expanded? Or no opening at all?

It's a small car. Assuming it is a 100E windscreen, we can see it's both a lot shorter and a quite a bit narrower overall than a 2dr 100E. It's a two-seat economy car rather than a sports car with a hardtop, IMO.

It's definitely not an Ashley, Berkeley or Fairthorpe (they only ever made GRP cars and all are well-documented). I doubt this was built by a company that was already building cars in any number, more like a car project from a company involved in another industry looking to expand (entirely guesswork here).

If we say that 'bit' is part of the engine and not another red herring, that's not any commercially available air-cooled engine I know of. Certainly not Panhard/Citroen etc (although the bonnet bulge might suggest it's not 'flat' but a 'vee' or vertical twin).

The only thing I can think of that looks anything like it is a toroidal engine like the ones Bradshaw was experimenting with at this time, but I don't really think any of his engines were developed to the stage they could run consistently or power a vehicle. I don't actually think it's the case, but it's an intriguing thought. Sadly the best image I have of what I'm talking about...

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Opperman developed a hard top economy car in Borehamwood Herts. Factory was on the A1 - site now a Morrisons.

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But again fibreglass and a bit different design - 3 wheels;  they were principally tractor manufacturers:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opperman

They built the Opperman Motocart:

https://www.tamarvintagetractors.co.uk/post/the-opperman-motocart-our-farming-heritage

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Interestingly the car we are looking at appears to have a bench seat? Lifted out of something. That would reinforce the economy car idea - 3 seater idea.

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Other things to note:

It's skillfully done - the doors have internal door hinges and recessed door handles - crude kit cars often had easy to fit external hinges - and internal door latches only. Except the bonnet which has been very crudely modified - which might mean there has been an engine swap for something taller.

I wonder if it is a development mule of some kind or a factory apprentice piece?

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17 hours ago, Mr Pastry said:

Looking at the condition of the car, I wonder if it was awaiting the scrap man and the thing under the bonnet is a totally unrelated  piece of scrap which has just been shoved in there.

That's made me wonder - as it's clearly not roadworthy, has the engine just been dropped in backwards and what we can see is the clutch?

From googling photos, Fairthorpe looks to be the closest match, but nothing exact.

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38 minutes ago, Pieman said:

That's made me wonder - as it's clearly not roadworthy, has the engine just been dropped in backwards and what we can see is the clutch?

From googling photos, Fairthorpe looks to be the closest match, but nothing exact.

Must admit I instinctively thought that disc looked like a clutch plate when I first saw the photo. It looks quite high at the front so it might not have a complete properly-installed engine, just a block and clutch dropped in the wrong way round, possibly for no other reason than to increase its weigh-in value.

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I see Fairthorpe similarities but didn't they have forward-hinged bonnets and curved trailing edges to the doors on most models?

I'm somewhat surprised that the multiple fine and knowledgeable experts on the premier motoring forum are foxed by this little car. Frisky occurred to me, but that's way off too.

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It's unlikely a car of that era so well made would be scrapped at the time. Cars were expensive and hard to come by - people tended to hang on to them and reuse. We'd not entered the current disposable society. Unless it's a factory prototype scrappage.

As the 'cars you didn't know about' thread shows there are many many unknowns. This looks a 1-off too!

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7 minutes ago, lesapandre said:

It's unlikely a car of that era so well made would be scrapped at the time. Cars were expensive and hard to come by - people tended to hang on to them and reuse. We'd not entered the current disposable society. Unless it's a factory prototype scrappage.

As the 'cars you didn't know about' thread shows there are many many unknowns. This looks a 1-off too!

When was the photo taken though?  Specials and one-offs built in the early 50s were old hat by 1960-62.  They were all outclassed by the Mini, Sprite, Herald and 105e Anglia, and then the MOT test killed off most of them. 

The buildings in the photo look institutional to me - a school, college or hospital rather than a factory.  

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5 hours ago, lesapandre said:

Interestingly the car we are looking at appears to have a bench seat? Lifted out of something. That would reinforce the economy car idea - 3 seater idea.

Screenshot_2024-02-12-17-54-01-046_com.android.chrome.thumb.jpg.bc867e978391d44a31b9761bf8eb0031.jpg

Other things to note:

It's skillfully done - the doors have internal door hinges and recessed door handles - crude kit cars often had easy to fit external hinges - and internal door latches only. Except the bonnet which has been very crudely modified - which might mean there has been an engine swap for something taller.

I wonder if it is a development mule of some kind or a factory apprentice piece?

I'd also wondered about maybe a Rochdale but it doesn't look like any.

Even been looking in a few books but I can't find the bugger.

Really annoying !

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52 minutes ago, Six-cylinder said:

Here is another WTF is that!

Quite a few clues but I am looking for the story of who made it.

The difference with this one is I know what it is. If anybody wants to short circuit the guessing just come and wash all my cars and I will tell you the answer!🙂

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Not so tough this one:

https://maximummini.blogspot.com/2020/09/the-cars-of-douglas-glover-1.html?m=1

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11 hours ago, High Jetter said:

You mean, like THAT blue car?

Yes - but there's still an avenue of research possible for that one, the pic was in the bus book but it suggests the source was a transport museum library. As far as I know no-one's tracked down the original image there

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Nobody has traced the origin of the blue car photo because it is too much like hard work, and you wouldn't get much thanks for it.

It is very possibly in a photo library or collection somewhere.   The problem is finding that library.  There are professional picture researchers, and also a lot of people into vintage photography who could make informed comments on the photo, and maybe even suggest a photographer who used that style.  Get some of those people interested, and you might get some results. 

If as much work went into researching the picture as has gone into CAD renderings which don't really prove anything, we might solve the problem.

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40 minutes ago, Mr Pastry said:

Nobody has traced the origin of the blue car photo because it is too much like hard work, and you wouldn't get much thanks for it.

It is very possibly in a photo library or collection somewhere.   The problem is finding that library.  There are professional picture researchers, and also a lot of people into vintage photography who could make informed comments on the photo, and maybe even suggest a photographer who used that style.  Get some of those people interested, and you might get some results. 

If as much work went into researching the picture as has gone into CAD renderings which don't really prove anything, we might solve the problem.

Exactly, a place like a transport museum is likely to have thousands of photos in its archive, most of which are not digitised and only exist on paper. The blue car won't be included in the catalogue description of that photo because a) it's incidental to the main subject and b) nobody knows what it is. That means the only way to identify it is to get the physical copies of all photos described as "street scene featuring RTL buses" and sit there looking at them all until you find it. That's a lot of hard work by hard-pressed volunteers for little reward.

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On 11/02/2024 at 17:14, barrett said:

suspect this might keep me from ever sleeping again. (re-)posted on a 'specials' group on facebook, but It's obviously not an 'off the peg' job and I do not think it's a special at all, but some sort of prototype. Look at the construction of the sills and the fully boxed-in inner wings, and the door handle recession. It does seem to be on Ford wheels, though. The registration is apparently 1955-56 Middlesex. The car is obviously photographed some time after it was built (in metal, not GRP) and it's lived a hard life in that time (of testing?). I reckon those buildings are light industrial rather than residential so this could be the courtyard of a small factory somewhere. But the biggest WTF is what's visible through the grille opening.

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I'd say that certainly is not a conventional engine of any type I can think of. What is that finned circular casing all about? Could it be a toroidal engine??? I am going a bit insane knowing there's a car out there which I can't identify.

Are the wheels early Morris Minor?

S2-wheel.jpg

Also are the door handles Morris Minor?

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