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The ill-fated 1902 Wolseley racers


The ill-fated 1902 Wolseley racers
  

Recently we received from one of our readers an interesting series of photos picturing two of the 1902 racing Wolseleys, including the underslung model. Particularly interesting are some photos of the underslung racer clearly having run into the wayside resulting into a displaced front wheel and a bent steering column. The surroundings suggest that the accident happened while testing the cars in England. It is unclear if all photos are directly related, as one photo shows Montague Graham-White at the wheel of the underslung racer in front of a city building whereas all other photos are situated in the countryside.

The story around the 1902 racers is not very clear, which is certainly partly caused by Herbert Austin's reluctance to comment on them: it looks as if he wanted to forget the whole story as soon as possible. The cars that were designed for the Paris-Vienna race did not perform very well indeed: the underslung racer reached Paris, but did not start; one of the two remaining cars made it only a few miles down the road to Belfort; and finally Austin himself made it just to the hills of Tyrol, but only after a new engine had been fitted during the first stage. When suggested by a journalist of The Motor-Car Journal that he better leave the horizontal engine concept behind him, he reacted as if stung by a wasp. In one of the letters he sent as a reaction to the editor of that journal he threatened to cancel all advertisements unless an apology would be published, as with his engines nothing was wrong ...

But coming back to the damaged underslung racer, as far as we know no record exists on this event: where did it happen, who was at the steering wheel, was anybody hurt in the incident etc.? So if anybody could bring to light any facts to solve this mystery, we would be most grateful!


Words and pictures: Ariejan Bos

Comments 

 
#7 Maarten Hoeben 2017-08-02 07:10
Would anyone have more pictures of these early Wolseley/Austin racers? I have been collecting everything I can find to find out more about the construction of these early racers. I was unfamiliar with two of the three pictures in this article, so I'm sure there must be a lot more I'm not aware of.
 
 
#6 2017-06-12 14:12
Quite likely nail catchers
 
 
#5 2017-06-12 13:47
Tony, those are to remove rock, nails, anything that may produce a puncture in the tire. I'm looking for a pair, anybody?
 
 
#4 2017-06-12 13:43
Tony....are you ready? Those funny things are to remove nails and other items which may get stuck in the tyre and produce a puncture.
I'd like to find a pair really, anybody have some?
 
 
#3 2017-06-12 13:14
These were meant for the removal of road debris, especially the horse shoe nails. These were an omnipresent and continuous threat for the fragile tires in these days!
 
 
#2 2017-06-12 13:11
As per the "spydery contraptions", these are so called nail catchers, they are supposed to remove the horse shoe nail before it comes around a second time and gets pushed into the tire further, so you hopefully avoided a puncture.
Great pic´s, so coooool!
kind regars and keep up tis great site!
thomas
 
 
#1 2017-06-12 06:56
Any guesses as to what the spidery contraptions on the back tyres were for? Mud scrapers maybe?
 

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