Author Topic: Microcar and motorcycle dealer in Horsham Sussex, Gray & Rowsell  (Read 14881 times)

Big Al

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Re: Microcar and motorcycle dealer in Horsham Sussex, Gray & Rowsell
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2015, 06:20:50 PM »
The Mick Leeson era Trienkels would cruise at 50 on the clock, so about 46/7 in reality. This is consistent with being able to use the Autobahn, as if you are driving to slowly they will chuck you off. But yes, on ordinary roads you rarely got the chance to do that. My experience is a Trienkel is faster over the ground. However I think they are more challenging to get right and possibly to drive.
A 1000cc Mini could not keep up with a 1000cc NSU on the straight and narrow. Admittedly that is a slightly later design, but BMC had had the chance to review the design and get a few niggles out of the Mini by then. The years of the later Mini saw Coopers and such offering more speed. As I have said, the Minis trick was in its handling. It was never a happy motorway car, but in its element in the lanes. There top speed was not so much the important thing. Just like the Saab Bullnose, sure footed predictability is more effective.
Messerschmitt set, Goggo Darts, Heinkel 175, Fiat Jolly, Autobianchi, Fairthorpe Electron Minor, Borgward, Isuzu Trooper
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For sale - Vellam Isetta, Bamby, AC Type 70, Velorex, Church Pod, Reliant Mk5, KR200,  Saab 96, Bellemy Trials, Citroen BXs

Peel replica, Steve Fisk

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Re: Microcar and motorcycle dealer in Horsham Sussex, Gray & Rowsell
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2015, 10:30:15 PM »
Found this on a Facebook group

Grant Kearney

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Re: Microcar and motorcycle dealer in Horsham Sussex, Gray & Rowsell
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2015, 10:45:28 PM »
What a coincidence.  The very same Blue Bell garage in Middlesbrough that Plas Man mentioned in the 'Bond thread' only a few days ago. 

marcus

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Re: Microcar and motorcycle dealer in Horsham Sussex, Gray & Rowsell
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2015, 08:01:36 AM »
Nice picture!
I have suddenly realised why I like these photos...I don't think I ever saw bubble cars and micros for sale in British garages.
In 1957 when I was 2 we moved to Montevideo and returned to UK Christmas 1962, then 18 months later moved to Washington D.C. for 4 1/2 years, so was out of the country for most of the time that scenes like these were relatively common.
Just remember: as one door closes behind you, another slams in your face

richard

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Re: Microcar and motorcycle dealer in Horsham Sussex, Gray & Rowsell
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2015, 08:57:37 AM »
Okay so you are two years older than I am . I have never lived further than 10 miles away but never was aware of micros at all until about 1980 !! Despite being interested in and owning classic bikes since mid 70's . I suppose I live in a relatively well off area and they were very uncommon indeed I suppose .
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Bob Purton

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Re: Microcar and motorcycle dealer in Horsham Sussex, Gray & Rowsell
« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2015, 09:18:51 AM »
I'm the same age as Marcus and dont remember ever seeing bubblecars/microcars for sale new as a child so it was a treat to see that photo but do remember seeing them for sale second hand mainly at motorcycle shops like Eddy Grimsteads and also at our local Reliant dealership Romford Market Garage where owners had part exchanged them in for new Reliants. My dad was a Reliant man. Bought my first bubblecar in 1971 but that was from where most people looked in those days, the good old Exchange and Mart! Paid a tenner which was a weeks wages for me at the time as a young barristers clerk.

Big Al

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Re: Microcar and motorcycle dealer in Horsham Sussex, Gray & Rowsell
« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2015, 10:07:54 AM »
Indeed I remember the motorcycle/Reliant dealers selling the few remaining trade microcars from their forecourts. Job to remember names now. George White's in Swindon? Hammond's in Cirencester, where our nearest VW agent was, just up the road. In Eastville, Bristol, there was another, name forgotten, but he really got into Bond Bugs. Depending on the home game, the cars were put away on Sat afternoons to stop football fans turning the cars over on their way out of Bristol Rover's ground. Portsmouth v Bristol was always trouble, for instance. It was under the roundabout next to the Eastville stadium that we found a vandalised Isetta. No idea of its story but bit by bit it was taken back to school and some went to Dr Thresher and the rest to Phil Lomax, who both ran Isettas.
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

AndyL

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Re: Microcar and motorcycle dealer in Horsham Sussex, Gray & Rowsell
« Reply #22 on: January 30, 2015, 10:51:38 AM »
I'm guessing that with production of most microcars finishing in the early to mid sixties, it would have been perhaps 1966-67 at the latest to find a new car in a showroom.
1959 LHD 3-wheel Isetta.

marcus

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Re: Microcar and motorcycle dealer in Horsham Sussex, Gray & Rowsell
« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2015, 11:06:28 AM »
We returned from idyllic sub-tropical Montevideo in the dreadful winter of 62/63 and spent 3 freezing months in an unheated Summer House, clinker-built with daylight visible between the planks. It was on the coastal Salterns salt marshes near Lymington, Hants. We then moved to a small unheated house on top of a windy hill in the middle of nowhere, Kent. Not many car dealers around those places!
Just remember: as one door closes behind you, another slams in your face

Big Al

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Re: Microcar and motorcycle dealer in Horsham Sussex, Gray & Rowsell
« Reply #24 on: January 30, 2015, 11:38:12 AM »
There are a few D reg cars where they sat unsold for a long period. Reality is that the bubblecar period was pretty short really. Watching films they appear in the street scenes, sometimes as major props, from about '55. Soon they a relegated to being in the background. By '65 they rarely appear even in street scenes. I re-watched Lindsey Anderson's 'If' recently. Partly as it was to be filmed at our school till the plot was discovered. The school regime it depicts was only partially unravelled when I went to school. It could be pretty barbaric. Anyway, in the bit where they cope off school and nick a motorcycle, there in the road is an Isetta. That was 1967, film released in 1968. Not sure where that was filmed. It might have been Bristol. The school location ebnded up at Cambridge so much was shot over there. Such was the budget that old footage could not be thrown away though. They could not even afford to film entirely in colour! So it chops from colour to black and white.

I know where the dealers were for microcars round here. I cannot recall any with new stock. Some put through trade ins. In Oxford the trade diverted to Eynsham as Basil set up as an independent. It was on the back of him that Waste did bubblecars, stealing his business, and good name, by having a better position on a main road. It was Waste who had a Peel and other goodies in the yard, later rescued, as he was not a pleseant guy. He scrapped a huge pile of engines rather than sell them off. Many of the cars there died too.
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

AndyL

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Re: Microcar and motorcycle dealer in Horsham Sussex, Gray & Rowsell
« Reply #25 on: January 30, 2015, 02:07:39 PM »
I think it was the change in purchase tax laws in 1962 that really affected sales of small three wheelers, motorcycles too.

A reduction for four wheelers from 55% down to 25%, that same as three wheel cars under a certain weight, must have made sales difficult when you could get a mini or maybe even something like a Ford Cortina or Anglia.
1959 LHD 3-wheel Isetta.

Bob Purton

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Re: Microcar and motorcycle dealer in Horsham Sussex, Gray & Rowsell
« Reply #26 on: January 30, 2015, 02:52:29 PM »
We returned from idyllic sub-tropical Montevideo in the dreadful winter of 62/63 and spent 3 freezing months in an unheated Summer House, clinker-built with daylight visible between the planks. It was on the coastal Salterns salt marshes near Lymington, Hants. We then moved to a small unheated house on top of a windy hill in the middle of nowhere, Kent. Not many car dealers around those places!

You poor little lad! Is that why you took up drumming? To keep warm? :)

marcus

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Re: Microcar and motorcycle dealer in Horsham Sussex, Gray & Rowsell
« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2015, 03:21:17 PM »
It was really miserable...what a "welcome home'! Carnival samba drumming in Montevideo set me off. We did see a few bubbles down there, KRs, H-Ts and a few Isettas used by the bus company for internal mail and parts deliveries.
Just remember: as one door closes behind you, another slams in your face