1901 Sunbeam Mabley Cycle Car

1901 Sunbeam-Mabley Cycle Car

Founded by John Marston, a God-fearing Victorian industrialist who foresaw the growth in demand for private transport, Sunbeam was first associated with beautifully made, though expensive, bicycles. Although comparative latecomers to motor car manufacture, the Wolverhampton-based Sunbeam factory quickly established a fine reputation alongside Lanchester, Wolseley, Austin and Daimler at the heart of the expanding Midlands motor industry.

Introduced in 1901, the Sunbeam-Mabley was said by its maker to have 'been designed with the object of providing a simple and comfortable motor car in a compact and light form. No attempt has been made to follow the general lines of a "horseless carriage." The general appearance of the car is that of two lounges placed "vis-à-vis"...' All of which resulted in a vehicle that looked like someone had motorised a corner of the snug bar.

The Mabley was powered by a water-cooled single-cylinder De Dion engine rated at 2¾hp, which was mounted to the left-hand side of the front wheel. Unconventionally, the Mabley disposed it wheels in an asymmetrical diamond formation, the two side wheels being driven by leather belt and chains while the offset fore and aft wheels were both steered, thus the car left four tracks on the road! It is estimated that approximately 130 Sunbeam-Mableys were made between 1901 and 1903, of which it is believed only four survive.

Descriptions & pictures by bonhams & Other links

Production Start 1901
Country of origin Great Britain