Harper Runabout


The Harper Runabout

(All main features covered by Patents)
Backed by 20 years' engineering experience.
Not a camouflaged motor cycle, and nothing like a scooter!

The Harper Runabout motorised tricycle was manufactured by A.V. Roe and Co Ltd at their aircraft factory in Manchester from 1921 to 1926. Designed by R. O. Harper, the machine had a plywood body mounted on a steel frame with cast-iron fittings and was powered by a single cylinder 269cc Villiers engine with a 3-speed gearbox. It was capable of 40 mph and gave 100 miles per gallon.

Seating was unusual in that it was back to back, the passenger facing rearwards. All three wheels had leaf-spring suspension, were detachable, and had what are described as "disc-type" brakes.

Controls, apart from the steering which is by motorcycle handlebars, is automotive fashion - throttle, clutch and brakes are by foot pedal.

Some 500 of these curious but eminently sensible vehicles were built.

R. H. Carlisle and Co of Manchester was a dealer.

Founded in 1910, the Avro company became part of the Hawker Siddeley group in 1935. See also Hawker

Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry has a Harper Runabout in its collection.

Although the Harper runabout has been primarily designed as a tender to a car and for general knock-about purposes, its showing in the Scottish Six Days Trials was such as to cause those who witnessed it to respect it as a workmanlike mountain-climbing touring vehicle with quite an extraordinary turn of speed. A 269 c.c. proprietary two-stroke engine is fitted, the cylinder of which has been re-designed by the makers of the three-wheeler. Three separate chains provide three direct speeds. Detachable and interchangeable wheels are used. Various constructional improvements have been made for 1923.

The Motor Cycle

Sources: Graces Guide, The Motor Cycle,

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