Author Topic: Southern Aircraft (Gatwick) Ltd - Swift 4 Wheel Bubble Car  (Read 25865 times)

john Meadows

  • Quite Chatty
  • ****
  • Posts: 172
Re: Southern Aircraft (Gatwick) Ltd - Swift 4 Wheel Bubble Car
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2015, 05:19:45 PM »
Hi
I am in Spain at the moment but have put out a couple of feelers.
Your are right in that Gordon Bedson was well into planes (They eventually killed him) so there is a possibility but a thin one.
I'll let you know
John
PS there is a hell of a lot of snow in Spain!!!!.

super-se7en (Malc Dudley)

  • Quite Chatty
  • ****
  • Posts: 191
  • Two Frisky sports
Re: Southern Aircraft (Gatwick) Ltd - Swift 4 Wheel Bubble Car
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2015, 05:25:25 PM »
There will be a chain drive from the 3T to the rear axle unit with u/js to the drive shafts. I would be very surprised if there was a diff unit  is in there.

Big Al

  • Prolific Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 4693
  • Ranttweiler, biting the breeze block of banter
Re: Southern Aircraft (Gatwick) Ltd - Swift 4 Wheel Bubble Car
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2015, 08:09:48 PM »
I was going to mention the prototype 'Bug'. Placed with the artwork for the Gullwing Frisky there is a clear fellowship of design with the Swift at the end. The seating makes sense with the long gullwing door, but the car is overall larger than a Frisky, I think.

Having got the images of the suspension it is surely a case of working backwards to see if it shares commonality with the Bug. I am assuming the Bug was made for Meadows, if so, it will be their intellectual property and only 'sold' to a third party. That does not fit with the narrative of making the Swift car at, or by folk, at a different company.
Bedson seems to have been quite good at inheriting projects ideas he was around, but did not own. So he would have little worry in repeating an idea with someone else. His time with Lightburn seemed to be something of a frustration. Lightburn himself comes over as awkward.
It my even have been a link with Lightburn that set the Swift in motion. Remember the Zeta had the 3T fitted to it. The Zeta Sports, Bedson's first project there, the FMR500, with diff. Bedson left after the Saab sportscar did not happen. and Lightburn dicked about for several more years before putting the Zeta Sport for sale. through the Alfa agencies, allegedly.

Now looking at history and Bedson. He become a flight engineer and flew in converted Halifax under BOAC for a time. CRO firms would more than likely be used to convert the Halifax to civilian spec to go into service. There is an immediate link in two career paths going way back. He gained engineering qualifications enough to join Vickers on the Valiant project in a pretty high managerial level. Yet no one seems quite sure where this qualifications came from. CRO would be ideal as a place to learn and obtain such qualifications. Remembering my Father's immediate put down of Bedson's engineering pedigree, compared to his and the Vickers team, when he hove into view with the Frisky, and that sort of an idea flies (Ha) for me. Designers of state of the art flight would be a bit snotty about a qualification earned adapting their groups original designs. This area would be worth researching as it feels right for links, later to fruit into the Swift, even if Bedson was not in the UK at the time.

Lastly there is Bedson and racing cars. Is there evidence in your family, or at work, or with Cuxon, of any racing car interests. Bedson was particularly known for working with Alan Brown and Kieft. 

I suppose there is no date mentioned for the pictures or the Swift project?
Messerschmitt set, Goggo Darts, Heinkel 175, Fiat Jolly, Autobianchi, Fairthorpe Electron Minor, Borgward, Isuzu Trooper
Citroen BX 17TZD & GTI 16v
Held - MG Magnette ZB & 4/44
For sale - Vellam Isetta, Bamby, AC Type 70, Velorex, Church Pod, Reliant Mk5, KR200,  Saab 96, Bellemy Trials, Citroen BXs

David Dale

  • Occasional
  • **
  • Posts: 15
Re: Southern Aircraft (Gatwick) Ltd - Swift 4 Wheel Bubble Car
« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2015, 11:09:27 PM »
Is there evidence in your family, or at work, or with Coxon, of any racing car interests. Bedson was particularly known for working with Alan Brown and Kieft. 

I suppose there is no date mentioned for the pictures or the Swift project?

I don't think there was any specific connection with racing cars, but that is not to say there was no interest motor racing.  My Father was certainly interested in racing cars and motorcycles.  I think Mr John Ernest Coxon may have been a fan of large American cars, but I am making this assumption on the fact that my Father did some repairs on some for him.

Unfortunately there are no dates on the photographs that I have.  I remember my Father describing the Morris Minor, in one of the pictures, as a contemporary car, which I suppose was to drum into me how modern the Swift looked for the time.  Because the launch of the Mini was one of the reasons that the car did do go into production, I think it is reasonable that these pictures, and the car itself, date from around 1958 or 1959.

Thank you for all the ideas for possible connections between people, businesses and other cars.

Big Al

  • Prolific Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 4693
  • Ranttweiler, biting the breeze block of banter
Re: Southern Aircraft (Gatwick) Ltd - Swift 4 Wheel Bubble Car
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2015, 01:05:16 AM »
The dates you mention, and possibly a little later, feel right, don't they. Need some clear time to understand how this stacks up. John M might well hold info, at home, he has not got in mind on his holidays. Might take a while, but its a direction to look at, on logic and evidence to hand.

I assume there are no clues to the thought of an American connection. Pity.

I revisited the Rootes Slug. Only very vague similarities. The Slug was based on a Goggomobil. Doubt it was anything more than, perhaps, an influence to go ahead and try the Swift design. Rootes realised that what became the Imp was not going to be a microcar too. So your father's thinking was correct, and unless a large budget was available, sadly discretion was probably the best action. Thank goodness for the pictures remaining.
Messerschmitt set, Goggo Darts, Heinkel 175, Fiat Jolly, Autobianchi, Fairthorpe Electron Minor, Borgward, Isuzu Trooper
Citroen BX 17TZD & GTI 16v
Held - MG Magnette ZB & 4/44
For sale - Vellam Isetta, Bamby, AC Type 70, Velorex, Church Pod, Reliant Mk5, KR200,  Saab 96, Bellemy Trials, Citroen BXs

richard

  • Rich
  • Prolific Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 4566
  • Bond ,Gordon,Bruetsch
Re: Southern Aircraft (Gatwick) Ltd - Swift 4 Wheel Bubble Car
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2015, 01:57:40 AM »
Al , you have referred to the " Rootes slug " before I believe . I hazard a guess that I am not the only one to be baffled by this one - what is it and why ? Thanks
outside of a dog a book is mans best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read .Groucho Marx 1895-1977

Bob Purton

  • Prolific Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 5154
    • Inter microcar
Re: Southern Aircraft (Gatwick) Ltd - Swift 4 Wheel Bubble Car
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2015, 08:25:55 AM »
Here is an early version of the Slug but apparently there was an even earlier project dubbed Little Jim.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2015, 08:53:05 AM by Bob Purton »

Big Al

  • Prolific Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 4693
  • Ranttweiler, biting the breeze block of banter
Re: Southern Aircraft (Gatwick) Ltd - Swift 4 Wheel Bubble Car
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2015, 08:36:34 AM »
And there hangs the benefit of recording cars that no longer exist but for which facts are known, as I could direct you to the file resource. As it is I either now become unhelpful, and suggest you did what I did and research the topic, a lot easier with the Web, but done using books etc when I did it, or I now have to take up a large part of the day repeating an item written in the dim distant passed, before I had a PC. Case proven, I believe, even if its on another thread.
The middle road is to find some pictures as that seems to calm people down. I will do that as I am more interested in finding a cross reference to the Swift.







The first picture, if it works, is the clay of Slug. It was to use a flat twin engine. Note how similar it is to the Meadows/Micholotti gullwing door car. The actual prototype is recognisable as a Goggo base. Little Jim is a half way house between this and the Imp. It is a more normal looking car going square.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2015, 08:42:54 AM by Big Al »
Messerschmitt set, Goggo Darts, Heinkel 175, Fiat Jolly, Autobianchi, Fairthorpe Electron Minor, Borgward, Isuzu Trooper
Citroen BX 17TZD & GTI 16v
Held - MG Magnette ZB & 4/44
For sale - Vellam Isetta, Bamby, AC Type 70, Velorex, Church Pod, Reliant Mk5, KR200,  Saab 96, Bellemy Trials, Citroen BXs

Big Al

  • Prolific Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 4693
  • Ranttweiler, biting the breeze block of banter
Re: Southern Aircraft (Gatwick) Ltd - Swift 4 Wheel Bubble Car
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2015, 08:44:30 AM »
Messerschmitt set, Goggo Darts, Heinkel 175, Fiat Jolly, Autobianchi, Fairthorpe Electron Minor, Borgward, Isuzu Trooper
Citroen BX 17TZD & GTI 16v
Held - MG Magnette ZB & 4/44
For sale - Vellam Isetta, Bamby, AC Type 70, Velorex, Church Pod, Reliant Mk5, KR200,  Saab 96, Bellemy Trials, Citroen BXs

Big Al

  • Prolific Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 4693
  • Ranttweiler, biting the breeze block of banter
Re: Southern Aircraft (Gatwick) Ltd - Swift 4 Wheel Bubble Car
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2015, 08:45:34 AM »


Making a mess of these images. Anyway the last one is a different take on the first clay. Looks damned daft to me but this is what stylists do.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2015, 08:58:06 AM by Big Al »
Messerschmitt set, Goggo Darts, Heinkel 175, Fiat Jolly, Autobianchi, Fairthorpe Electron Minor, Borgward, Isuzu Trooper
Citroen BX 17TZD & GTI 16v
Held - MG Magnette ZB & 4/44
For sale - Vellam Isetta, Bamby, AC Type 70, Velorex, Church Pod, Reliant Mk5, KR200,  Saab 96, Bellemy Trials, Citroen BXs

richard

  • Rich
  • Prolific Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 4566
  • Bond ,Gordon,Bruetsch
Re: Southern Aircraft (Gatwick) Ltd - Swift 4 Wheel Bubble Car
« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2015, 10:34:42 AM »
Thanks for that both I appreciate that - even if it's made even more of a mess of this thread so I will get off  ;)
outside of a dog a book is mans best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read .Groucho Marx 1895-1977

David Dale

  • Occasional
  • **
  • Posts: 15
Re: Southern Aircraft (Gatwick) Ltd - Swift 4 Wheel Bubble Car
« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2015, 10:42:09 AM »
The dates you mention, and possibly a little later, feel right, don't they. Need some clear time to understand how this stacks up. John M might well hold info, at home, he has not got in mind on his holidays. Might take a while, but its a direction to look at, on logic and evidence to hand.

I assume there are no clues to the thought of an American connection. Pity.

I revisited the Rootes Slug. Only very vague similarities. The Slug was based on a Goggomobil. Doubt it was anything more than, perhaps, an influence to go ahead and try the Swift design. Rootes realised that what became the Imp was not going to be a microcar too. So your father's thinking was correct, and unless a large budget was available, sadly discretion was probably the best action. Thank goodness for the pictures remaining.

Yes the dates do feel right.

I am afraid I can only work from my memory on what my Father told me and this was probably several years prior to his death in 1999.

Unfortunately I have no hard evidence about an American connection.  However, I think it is fair to say that John Coxon had a penchant for American cars.  I would also speculate that perhaps he may have had business dealings with the USA with regards to aircraft parts, tooling, etc, etc.

When I mentioned the rumour that the car may have gone to America, I dressed it down, as I was basing it on what my Father had told me, in that he thought it had gone to America.  I do not recall our conversation continuing as to why it would have gone to America, but if it did, I would imagine that either Mr Coxon was looking for a backer, or he reasoned that the Swift may of had a future in the USA, if it managed to preceed the Mini getting big there.

My first car was a 1966 Imp, now an Imp unit in the back of a Swift would have been quite a handful !

David Dale

  • Occasional
  • **
  • Posts: 15
Re: Southern Aircraft (Gatwick) Ltd - Swift 4 Wheel Bubble Car
« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2015, 04:12:21 PM »
I have just thought of something else that may, or may not, be connected.  My Father always seemed to know a few stories about the Allards  of Allard Cars fame, and they were the sort of tales that only those that knew them would know.  As my Father did not know them I wonder if John Coxon did?  Some Allards did have American V8 engines I think.

marcus

  • Prolific Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 2718
    • http://marcusdemowbray.wordpress.com/
Re: Southern Aircraft (Gatwick) Ltd - Swift 4 Wheel Bubble Car
« Reply #28 on: February 08, 2015, 04:19:14 PM »
Yes, the faster Allards used US V8s. Sydney Allard's first major foray into making cars was converting a Morgan 3 wheeler sports car into a 4 wheeler (Brooklands Books Morgan Gold Portfolio).
Just remember: as one door closes behind you, another slams in your face

richard

  • Rich
  • Prolific Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 4566
  • Bond ,Gordon,Bruetsch
Re: Southern Aircraft (Gatwick) Ltd - Swift 4 Wheel Bubble Car
« Reply #29 on: February 08, 2015, 06:00:39 PM »
sorry to harp on a point but could anyone get the scale of the Swift photograph worked out ? see two pics from Sparrows book show that without a driver , or something else to compare , a microcar may appear " normal " size until you put a driver in it  ;)
outside of a dog a book is mans best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read .Groucho Marx 1895-1977