Throughout my childhood I was regularly reminded by my father that his family was the first to own a car in their street when he grew up. He was talking about Highfield Road in Rushden during the late 1940's. It was a boast that never initiated any more conversation and therefore I never knew what sort of car this was. Presumably it was his fathers, my granddads motor.
Whilst going through a 1940's family photo album, I found the picture above of a 3 wheeler car. The shot was taken from the bedroom of a house which looks like Highfield Road. Was this the first ever car owned in Highfield Road?
After a little research it was revealed that this motor was a Raleigh Safety Seven, produced by the manufacturer more renowned for bicycles. The model had a 766cc engine and was made between the years of 1933 and 1936 with only about 3000 ever made.Top speed - 55mph. Fuel consumption - 60mpg. New price - ₤94.50.
My Granddad, Joe Chamberlain was an accomplished mechanic and could have an engine out of the car on a Saturday morning, have it repaired and refitted ready for the afternoon football match at Hayden Road. I am not sure where he gained his skills but assume it was from the army.
The number plate on this particular vehicle looks to be 'VV', a Northamptonshire registration, followed by four numbers that are indecipherable
|The complete picture in all its glory|
The scene has changed over the years. I am guessing that the location is looking out from the upstairs window of number 147
- Reliant Safety Seven 1933 Road Test http://www.3wheelers.com/rsstest.html
- Reliant Safety Seven Advertising Brochue http://cms.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/ddrn4-11-1-641935safety7carcat2.pdf