Today in Motorcycle History

Wolseley Motorcycles

Wolseley Gyrocar
The Shilovski Gyrocar was commissioned in 1912 by Count Pyotr Shilovsky, a member of the Russian nobility. A clever gentleman, by all accounts, he designed the car whilst living in Britain and contracted the Wolseley company to build it. It was completed in 1914, just as things got rather busy in Russia - and elsewhere.

The gyrocar was powered by a modified four cylinder Wolseley 16-20 engine displacing just over 3 litres. This was front mounted with the radiator forming the firewall, and drive was via cardan shaft to the rear wheel. The machine had no wheel brakes; it used a transmission brake on the drive train.

Capable of carrying five passengers, it weighed in at 2 3/4 tons empty and with a wheelbase approaching 20 feet its turning circle radius was comfortably within that of a football field.

Shilovski returned to Russia at the outbreak of WWI and Wolseley did not hear from him again so they did the sensible thing and buried his machine. It was disinterred in 1938, restored and featured in the Wolseley museum, just in time for the next war. The weirdness failed to abate, however, and Wolseley broke the machine up for scrap in 1948.

Wolseley were also associated with the Italian Wolsit , and a Wolsley engine powered a Royal Enfield motorcycle.

Sources: wikipedia.en, et al.

N.B. Shilovski had method in his madness. The Gyrocar was part of a much larger project: Gyro monorail

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