The Reliant Safety Seven, the first car in Highfield Road


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


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