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British Motorcycles

Seal Tri-cars


A Brief History of the Marque
Manufactured at 348 Stretford Road, Hulme, Manchester.


1924 Seal Family Four, una moto con pretensiones de auto.

Seal denominado así por "Safe, Economical And Light" (Seguro, Económico Y Liviano) eran motocicletas producidas por Haynes y Bradshaw desde 1912 hasta 1920 y luego hasta 1924 por la Seal Motors Ltd. en Hulme, Manchester.

Haynes & Bradshaw fue fundada en 1906 por el famoso ingeniero Granville Bradshaw, creador de varios diseños innovadores como la motocicleta ABC y los motores Bradshaw refrigerados por aceite, entre otros.

En una época en que el sidecar era la única alternativa económica al automóvil y para ofrecer un nivel de protección similar a éstos, el Seal proponía un conjunto donde el conductor estaba instalado en el sidecar, junto con el pasajero. Así entre 1912 y 1924 fue ofrecida esta inusual máquina clasificada como un “Sociable” de tres ruedas. Esta era una forma especial de motocicleta con un sidecar que había sido ampliado para llevar al conductor y los pasajeros, mientras que los componentes mecánicos estaban fuera de él. Era accionado por un motor JAP V-twin con una caja de cambios de tres velocidades montados en un cuadro construido a partir de tubos rectos sujetos con abrazaderas (sin empipar) y con la horquilla delantera conectada a un volante en el sidecar.

Inicialmente la dirección se controlaba con una palanca, los frenos de la moto con la mano y los del sidecar con el pie. En 1914, el motor pasa de 770 a 980 cc, la correa da paso a una cadena y la palanca de dirección al volante. En 1920, el chasis se rediseña y el Seal adopta una transmisión por cardán y una caja con dos marchas adelante y dos atrás. En 1923, finalmente, aparecerían las carrocerías biplaza "Sport" y Taxi, volviendo a la cadena de transmisión y al bote clásico.

En 1930 apareció una versión comercial llamada Progress en la que, con el fin de aumentar la capacidad de carga, el conductor (que tenía una pequeña cabina de techo abierto) se sentaba en la moto en lugar de en el sidecar.

En 1932 apareció un vehículo de aspecto muy extraño, el nuevo diseño de Seal, que tenía una rueda delantera central y se hizo conocido como New Progress. Este tenía un motor JAP 680 cc montado sobre la rueda delantera que era impulsado por cadena a través de una caja de cambios de tres velocidades y reversa. Su apariencia no convencional hizo que no fuera un éxito y pronto desapareció del mercado.

Vale mencionar que hubo otras fábricas que presentaron modelos con un concepto similar al primer Seal. En 1911 la fábrica alemana Magnet de Berlín ya ofrecía el modelo "Selbstfahrer" (literalmente "Auto Conductor") y posteriormente en 1920 Scott presenta el modelo “Sociable” que era en realidad un “Tricar” (mitad sidecar, mitad auto de tres ruedas) aunque dura unos pocos años en producción (1921 – 1925).


Seal, named for "Safe, Economical And Light", were motorcycles produced by Haynes and Bradshaw from 1912 to 1920 and then until 1924 by Seal Motors Ltd. in Hulme, Manchester.

Haynes & Bradshaw was founded in 1906.

In a time when the sidecar was the only economic alternative to the car and to offer a level of protection similar to these, the Seal proposed a set where the driver was installed in the sidecar, together with the passenger. Thus between 1912 and 1924 this unusual machine classified as a "Sociable" with three wheels was offered. This was a special form of motorcycle with a sidecar that had been extended to carry the driver and passengers, while the mechanical components were separate. It was driven by a JAP V-twin engine with a three-speed gearbox mounted on a frame built from straight tubing and with the front fork connected to a steering wheel in the sidecar.

Initially the steering was controlled with a lever, the brakes of the motorcycle via hand lever and those of the sidecar with the foot. In 1914, the engine capacity was increased from 770 to 980 cc, the belt gives way to a chain and the steering lever to the steering wheel. In 1920, the chassis was redesigned and the Seal adopted a cardan transmission and a gearbox with two forward and two reverse gears. In 1923 two-seater bodies Sport and Taxi were introduced, returning to the chain transmission and the classic boat-style sidecar.

In 1930 a commercial version called Progress appeared in which, in order to increase the load capacity, the driver (who had a small open roof cab) sat on the motorcycle instead of on the sidecar.

In 1932 a very unusual vehicle joined the throng, the new Seal which had a central front wheel and became known as New Progress. This had a JAP 680 cc engine mounted on the front wheel which was driven by chain through a three-speed and reverse gearbox. The unconventional appearance did not appeal and the machine and soon disappeared from the market.

It is worth mentioning that there were other factories that presented models with a concept similar to the first Seal. In 1911 the German factory Magnet of Berlin offered the model "Selbstfahrer" (literally "Auto Conductor") and later in 1920 Scott introduced the "Sociable" model which was actually a tri-car which remained in production until 1925.

Sources: Sergio Scalerandi, Graces Guide, correspondence


Fri Jan 27 2006
petersterken at home.nl
Mystery motorcycle Paul R Peacock
The machine in the picture is most propably a Seal, built from 1914 to 1921 by Haynes & Bradshaw, later called Seal Motors Ltd. and Haynes Economy Motors, Hulme, Manchester. It has a JAP v-twin engine and could transport only one person. I would like to ask Paul for permission to use the picture on the Wikipedia-encyclopedia.
Peter Sterken, Weert (Holland)

Tue Jul 05 2005
prpeacock at optusnet.com.au
Mystery motorcycle & sidecar
This family photo has us baffled as to the possible make of the sidecar/motorcycle with a steering wheel instead of the usual handlebars. Taken we think around 1900-1920. Any help as to possible makes would be very much appreciated. 

The photo was taken in the U.K. probably around London somewhere in the early 1900's, as my parents lived in Croydon. The gentleman in the background of it was my great grandfather. My parents have since passed away and I didn't have this photo when they were alive, they may have been able to help otherwise.

I look forward to any thing that will help solve the mystery. Thank you once again and hopefully hear from you soon, or someone with a possible solution.

Paul R Peacock


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