Author Topic: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth  (Read 8346 times)

steven mandell

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2014, 04:51:47 PM »
Perhaps Alan's car wasn't running as good as it should.
A 1955 test of the Mark 2 published in Motor Cycling magazine shows the top speed to be almost 49 mph, however it took over 45 seconds to reach it.
They state that it has " more than the usual quota of low speed pulling power, making the Petite virtually a top gear vehicle and one ideally suited to work in hilly country."  They go on to state that "Mr. Villiers " usually had top gear held down to 14 m.p.h., pulling away quite happily from this speed."  They also state that it cruised at 40- 45 mph, but the mechanical phonage made its presence known above  40 mph.

The previous owner of my car called his Nobel a "dog" in comparison speedwise, but I don't believe that he ever had his blue and white (and red striped) one running correctly.  Being an industrial engine designed for 3500 rpm grunting, it does make sense that low speed pull would be good, but top speed more limited,  and the time taken to get from one to the other to be  lengthy.  My test runs in first and second gear seemed consistent with such an assumption, as maximum revs were reached rather quickly.

I understand why 3rd gear results were crossed out in the below tester's performance graph, (down load for legibility) as with only 3 forward speeds, top gear was 3rd gear.  But can anyone explain why the 0 to 30 mph run appears to have taken longer than it did during the indicated standing quarter mile run?
Also, why does it give a "flying start" speed as the speed over the measured quarter mile?  What speed does a flying start begin at, and why do I not see it indicated on this chart?
« Last Edit: January 03, 2014, 05:49:57 PM by steven mandell »

Rusty Chrome (Malcolm Parker)

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2014, 11:14:29 PM »
Which reminded me of this epic tale from The Motor Cycle 19th January 1956.
Malcolm
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Rusty Chrome (Malcolm Parker)

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2014, 11:16:27 PM »
The dramatic climb on the last page is still there today - near the Fingle Bridge Inn, Drewsteignton in Devon.
Malcolm
Bond Mk D - "The Bond Minicar solves your problem"
Nobel 200 - "Almost as cheap as breathing!"

steven mandell

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2014, 08:20:59 PM »
Truly enchanting,  but hard to imagine two  grown men having anything good to say about trudging up hills at 10 mph, or through fog at 20 mph. while stuck in a microcar for a more than 400 mile trip.
They must have been previously severely traumatized by the elements in prior endeavors on two wheels,  to show such appreciation for the minimal amenities of the heater less Petite. :D

marcus

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2014, 09:10:58 AM »
Alan Budd took me for a ride in his Petite at a RUM Open Day about 4 years ago and its performance is modest but comfortable. Alan told me that he particularly likes driving along empty country lanes in a very relaxed and calm manner, enjoying the changing view. Driving does not have to be about speed thrills!
Just remember: as one door closes behind you, another slams in your face

steven mandell

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2014, 03:58:53 PM »
Gratefully granted that the Petite had a more comfortable and apparently adequately stable ride for a  reasonably cautious pilot of the day.
But if equipped with modern braking, (the Petite didn't even come with a front brake, which is where cars typically accomplish 70% of their braking), the single front wheel design would likely prove rollable at speeds below the 27 and a half mph speed which Ralph Nadir successfully prosecuted the Corvair into extinction for a mere 6 years later.  This instability would be especially significant if carrying two heavier adults, and having to hit the brakes whilst turning sharply in an emergency avoidance maneuver on a downhill grade, as the effect of both weight centers and weight transfer under braking and turning loads to a front corner of a car not equipped with a wheel to resist this could be over turning.  The fact that these cars were both under powered and underbraked ironically allowed them to bypass such scrutiny.

But try going up a hill at 10 mph with no passing lane today, and see how understanding the line of drivers behind you is.  Heck, if I am slowed to 45 mph in my Honda Insight whilst travelling the freeways, I'd be run off the road if I didn't promptly scoot into the climbing lane for 18 wheelers, where sometimes even one of these will move into the main lanes to pass me.
Note that Alan's comment was reserved for roads when there was no traffic to speak of.

Modern cars do everything so well that today's drivers, although pleasantly amused by micro cars, would never have the patience or bravado required to pilot one.  In the last article, the author praises the car's luggage capacity as it provided enough space for their luggage and chocolates. The Petite comes with but a modest parcel shelf, that if appreciably loaded, would block your rear vision.
They remarked how comfortable they were driving in heavy coats and clothing needed because the Petite didn't even come with a heater despite the air cooled engine being at least a source of easily ducted heat.
And even the motorcycles of their day were  were going faster than their 20 mph in the fog.  Could their single headlight been brighter than the Petite's duo?
« Last Edit: January 06, 2014, 04:02:06 PM by steven mandell »

Jean

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2014, 05:15:49 PM »
As I read some of your comments Steve, I ask myself why do you even bother with microcars?    Jean
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steven mandell

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2014, 07:09:50 PM »
Because they are endearing for all the same reasons that they are impractical.
If I had to rely upon them for transportation, I'd be in big trouble.
But I don't, so despite the loads of frustration they can provide trying to get or keep them road worthy (please excuse the apparent oxymoron)- they are just for fun!
Who couldn't like an adorable puppy dog?
[Lying on sidewalk straightening Petite aluminum fender spat as we speak]

Big Al

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Re: Are there any AC Petite mechanics left on planet Earth
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2014, 10:44:26 AM »
I fear an AC Petite mechanic never actually existed. Villiers Services should know about the engine but I am less sure they will have any depth of knowledge on Burman gearboxes. Its going to be either a Bike box modified or an industrial type unit that has been adapted to fit a car as it has reverse. Given that AC made industrial and plant machines for a living, Auto Carriers, clue is in the name, my plump is its industrial. Therefore few bikers will instantly recognize the gearbox either. That leaves you with the industrial/plant/light small holdings machinery group as best port of call. Since a lot of these guys spend weekends watching a pump recycle water out of, and back into, a bucket, I am not sure quite how speedy an answer you might get. But there is a club for these things, several actually. Its a big hobby and I should not take the 'mick' really.
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