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British Motorcycles

Arden Cyclecars

A Brief History of the Marque

Arden of Balsall Common, Berkswell, Coventry produced cyclecars and automobiles between 1912 and 1922. 

The company was situated in Berkswell, near Coventry, and was first known for cyclecars and light cars. After World War I they developed and marketed a spring front-fork with side members from pressed steel, with adjustable links on cup-and-cone bearings. They also produced a 269cc two-stroke engine. That engine and the fork were used by several smaller assemblers such as Endurance, Gaby, Norbeck and Priory. They are not thought to have produced many complete machines. 

From 1912 they built a cyclecar which developed into a well-made four-cylinder car, featuring full four-seater coachwork. 

The first model of 1912 was a 8hp V-twin, air cooled, 898cc JAP-engined cyclecar with a wooden chassis which continued in production until 1915. 

Only one Arden, a 1913 Alpha two-cylinder-engined, two seater, is known to survive. 



Motorcycles

  • After World War I they developed and marketed a spring front-fork with side members from pressed steel, with adjustable links on cup-and-cone bearings. They also produced a 269cc two-stroke engine. That engine and the fork were used by several smaller assemblers such as Endurance, Gaby, Norbreck and Priory.
  • They are not thought to have produced many complete machines.

A Trial of the Arden Cyclecar.

From The Motor Cycle c 1912
Courtesy Archive.org

IT is some weeks since we described and illustrated the Arden cyclecar made by the Arden Motor Co., Berkswell, and now, thanks to the kindness of the manager, Mr. E. A. Isherwood, we are enabled to speak of its behaviour on the road. Before doing so we may mention one or two more or less important alterations since our first reference appeared." The petrol tank has been moved behind the dash, and is neatly located under the scuttle. Formerly it was in front of the dash and under the bonnet. The fan drive is also differently arranged. It will be remembered that a belt was used at first, but this broke occasionally and disappeared altogether. The drive is now by friction wheel, and proved, to be efficient by the cool running of the 8 h.p. J. A. P. engine. The fan, it may be mentioned, is in front of the engine, the cylinders being set transversely.. To form the friction wheel three discs of leather are clamped between metal plates, and bear on the periphery of the clutch drum, a spring helping to keep them in contact. A further amendment in design is the substitution of 2 8in. wheels for the 2 6in. fitted to the first model. Our trial was on the experimental cyclecar which has npw run several thousand miles. Starting away, the top gear lever was engaged in about thirty yards, and there it remained for practically the whole of our trial, except after stopping. AVe first steered for Stoneleigh, the Coventry test hill, and accelerating to about 30 'm.p.h. at the hill foot, the little car ascended the 1 in 8 gradient oh top gear without, hesitation. The dozen or so testers we noticed in; the shade of a huge oak tree, with all makes of. machines, could really be forgiven for a smoke and chat that close afternoon. Continuing via Milverton and Warwick, .and repeating the top. gear run through the

centre of the latter town, which is no easy matter on account of the combination of narrow streets, traffic, and tramcars, we ran along the main road to Strat-ford-on-Avon. Changing places with the driver, we were impressed by the ease of steering, but for that matter we always had a high opinion of the wire and bobbin method on the 8 h.p. Rover for light cars. The vibration at the steering wheel was, however, rather discomforting. It disappears, we. found, at faster speeds, but is always present at about legal limit pace. The bodywork and springing was quite comfortable, and should be better still after the substitution of _?? wheels. The control is simplicity itself. The ordinary Amac air and throttle levers, are clamped to the steering pillar, and with these alone one can throttle down to about 10 m.p.h. and accelerate to nearly 40 m.p.h. without a change of gear, but in our opinion the top ratio could be raised with improvement. Any machine is much more pleasant to drive with the engine turning over at a comfortable speed.

A long gradual rise known as Sherbourne Hill, the Arden simply revelled in. Satisfied with its hill-climbing we retraced our path, the good J. A. P. again making light of. the gradient .past the Leicester's Hospital, Warwick, and so. oh back to Coventry, via Pibbet Hill [?]. Only once did we have occasion to use the change-speed lever; it acts on a quadrant and was rather stiff in action, but details such as these "have, been amended on the standardised car. To sum up, the Arden is fast enough for all. reasonable minded tourists. The gears and differential are practically silent, and if one may judge from a short trial, it is reliable and economical in running. Finally, the weatherproof shaft drive is a big point in its favour.

SourcesGrace's Guide


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