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Road Transport

From 1753 horse carriage to 1976 Daimler Limousine: from tiny children's' bicycles to a huge Magirus-Deutz fire engine: this, our most popular department, illustrates the history and variety of road transport through the ages. We have more than 40 cars and commercial vehicles, 10 motorcycles, a fine collection of vintage bicycles, and two very spectacular steam traction engines. Click here for a full list, or look below for some highlights.

 

1898 Malden Steam Car

At the turn of the century there were three competing forms of motive power for cars: petrol, electricity and steam. Each offered similar performance, and steam cars were very successful. This particular model was built in Malden, Massachusetts, USA in 1898 and gives a clear idea of how much the design of early cars owed to the horse carriage.

 

1917 Albion X-Ray Ambulance

The famous Scottish firm of Albion, formed in 1899, is well known for its commercial vehicles, especially lorries and buses. The A10 was one of the most common chassis used by the British Army in the First World War, and gained a fine reputation for strength and reliability, with almost 8,800 produced in total. This particular vehicle, ordered in January 1917 (with the bodywork and X-ray equipment fitted later in England), presumably saw service in the conflict between the Allied forces and the Ottoman Empire. The vehicle operated in Turkey for some years after the war before going into storage and being restored by this Museum's Workshop in 2001.

 
Ford Model T
 

The Museum is fortunate enough to have three examples of this famous car - a 1908 2 seater wagon, a 1918 roadster and a 1918 tourer. The Model T was introduced in 1908, and more then 15 million cars were built up to 1927, using the then-new principle of the asembly line.

 

Delahaye Fire Engine

 
Emile Delahaye made his first two cars for the Paris-Marseilles Race in 1896. By 1904, the firm was concentrating on large, reliable cars and commercial vehicles.
This Edwardian fire engine was built on a 43 hp car chassis, incorporates both water pump and ladder and originally operated in Paris. It was later privately owned, before being sold to a collector in England.
 
Fowler Traction Engine
 
John Fowler was born in Wiltshire, England in 1826 and was one of the pioneers of steam power in agriculture. After his early death in a riding accident in 1864, his firm carried on and became well known as a maker of mobile steam engines. This fine 19th century example was used as a 'road roller', making asphalt roads smooth after construction or repair.
 

Penny Farthing

 

In 19th century England, the penny and the farthing were two low-value coins - the farthing being ¼ of a penny, in both value and size. Hence the nickname of these amazing contraptions, with their huge, fixed-gear main wheel. Our original example follows closely the design of the first-ever penny-farthing, built in 1870 by a Mr J Starling.

 

 

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