James & Browne

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James & Browne

Postby Matt » Mon Jun 07, 2004 12:55 pm

The car in the middle of my profile is very unique. It was made by a company called James & Browne in 1902. It is one of only 2 James & Brown vehicles in existance, the other is a 1904 varient and has a longer wheel base and a different body.

The company was based in Hammersmith, London and was formed my Mr James and Colnel Browne (I think....) in 1901, and shut down in 1910.

Here are the 2 cars.......

Image

I can't say much more about the other car (Y182) other than it has the same engine....

Anyway on to the car in my pic (AW 38 )....

This car is owned by City and Guild College Union (The engineering part of Imperial College London). Before this car there was a 1908 rover, but when this was no longer elligable for the London to Brighton veteran car run it was sold, and Bo' (strictly Boanerges 2) was brought in 1934 for £40.

I am assuming the car was laid up in the 1st world war and was re commisioned in the early 30's. Between the sometime between 1930 and 1934 the car was caught speeding on the London to Brighton run (Quite an achievement as it can only do 30mph).

Anyway, since the college has had the car it has been looked after by students (like me :) ) and has taken part in every London to Brighton. Im not sure about much of the history since the car came to college, apart from the more recent events. Im about to steal stuff of the Bo' website now....

There was the time calcium carbide was added to the fuel, resulting in excessive backfires outside Buckingham Palace. The next day it was announced Prince Charles was born! Bo' has competed in most of the Brighton Rallies and has a remarkably good record for completing them, on several occasions being disqualified for arriving over the finish line to early!

(stopped stealing now!!)

In the last few years, Bo' has broken down on the Mall just before the queen was due to come through, and was towed by a bomb disposal vehicle, and we have "broken down" a few times outside Bckingham Place for RAG to collect for charity.

Each year a student is elected to be Bo' Driver, meaning he is ultimately responsable for the running of the car, its not me this year or next year, but hopefully the year after.....

The engine is a 2.5 litre 2 cylinder, with an aluminium block, with a 4:1 compression ratio. The pistons go back and forward at the same time leading to a bump ride (they fire alternatly). The spark used to be provided by a magneto... but that was lost in the depths of time, so it is now provided using a car battery and trembler coils. This produces 9 RAC horsepower (not sure what that is in modern power..)

The gearbox is in 2 sections (one provides 1st, 3rd and reverse the other 2nd and 4th) and this is not sepererate from the engine!!

Drive is by 2 chains attached to the rear wheels, where the only brakes are (bands) There is also a transmission brake, but if you use that something else will probably break!

The way the car oils is like a steam train, its a total loss system, basically each bearing gets a drip of oil every so often, and it is then dumped on the road.

Hopefully Bo' will be around for some time yet!!!]

(Is this what you meant Dan??? it might be a bit long..........)

Oh and Bo' was in Classic and Sports car magazine about 2 years back as a feature!
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Postby dan » Mon Jun 07, 2004 2:21 pm

That's pretty cool!

Even with Sprites as a first love, I really like some of the old cars. One of my favorite events is the Meadowbrook Concours (in Detroit - about 1 hour's drive from my home).

Meadowbrook

If you've never been, you owe it to yourself to visit.

In any event, one of the highlights for me is to review the REALLY old vehicles that show up, and look at the diverse mechanical solutionis that were in place at the turn of the century. Fascinating stuff.

I recall a vehicle at the last show (not sure of the manufacturer) that had a similar arrangement--a HUGE chain driving the rear axle (and exposed to the elements). Certainly it worked, but it had to have been noisy and unreliable.

Matt--please keep us posted! It'd be great to see if you get to drive old Bo' at some point! (How do you get elected? Can we vote for you? :lol: )

Thanks again for the story!
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Postby Matt » Mon Jun 07, 2004 4:02 pm

Sorry Dan no, the old Bo' driver chooses :D I doubt i will be able to get to that show because i live in the UK :D
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Re: James & Browne

Postby Paul H » Tue Jun 08, 2004 6:01 am

Matt wrote:This produces 9 RAC horsepower (not sure what that is in modern power..)


RAC horsepower is derived from a calculation related, amongst other things, to the bore of the engine, and is purely for taxation purposes, as opposed to being a power output figure such as bhp (brake horse power).

Due to road tax being based on the number of RAC hp, cars were marketed as per their RAC hp rating (for example, the Austin 7, Riley 9 etc). Actual power outputs could vary greatly, depending on the state of tune, number of carburettors etc, but these do not alter the rated RAC hp.

The RAC formula was one of the reasons that pre-war British cars had long stroke engines, since this made them more tax efficient. One of the other reasons is that the long stoke gives a more useble torque curve. In the days before synchromesh gearboxes. it was usual practice to use first only for hill starts, pull away in second, and change up to top as quickly as possible, and keep the car in top gear.
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Postby Matt » Tue Jun 08, 2004 6:58 am

In the days before synchromesh gearboxes. it was usual practice to use first only for hill starts, pull away in second, and change up to top as quickly as possible, and keep the car in top gear.


Not in Bo'...... its virtually impossible to start in 2nd on the flat...

and I knew RAC Hp was based on stroke etc, but I still dont know how much modern Hp it has....
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Postby Paul H » Tue Jun 08, 2004 7:44 am

Matt wrote:
In the days before synchromesh gearboxes. it was usual practice to use first only for hill starts, pull away in second, and change up to top as quickly as possible, and keep the car in top gear.


Not in Bo'...... its virtually impossible to start in 2nd on the flat...

and I knew RAC Hp was based on stroke etc, but I still dont know how much modern Hp it has....


For the majority of pre war vehicles, first was essentially a crawler gear. As you pointed out, there are always exceptions :wink:

As there is no correlation / conversion between RAC hp and bhp, the only way to find out is to remove the engine, and run it on a dyno. Rolling roads are great for setting up an engine, and finding out the power at the wheels, but meaningless if you want to know the actual flywheel power output, due to the power losses through the transmission etc, which a rolling road cannot accurately guage. At the time of the RAC hp tax, actual power (bhp) was still quoted, e.g. a 1920s Vauxhall OE 30/98 is 30 RAC hp, but 98 bhp.

To give an idea of the anomalies in this rating, the James & Brown's 9 RAC hp from 2500cc is the same rating as a 1920s / 1930s Riley 9, which has only 1100cc....
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Postby dan » Tue Jun 08, 2004 8:18 am

Interesting...when (or did) the RAC rating stop? Is it still in use?

Probably not related, but I was always frustrated by the "stump puller" 1st gear in the Bugeye.

:)

Then again, we know the tranny (like most everything else) was "adopted" from some other car (I don't remember which...A40 maybe?) Anyway, I wonder if the original design of the smoothcase 1st gear was to comply in some way with taxation rules?

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Postby Paul H » Tue Jun 08, 2004 9:58 am

dan wrote:Interesting...when (or did) the RAC rating stop? Is it still in use?

Probably not related, but I was always frustrated by the "stump puller" 1st gear in the Bugeye.

:)

Then again, we know the tranny (like most everything else) was "adopted" from some other car (I don't remember which...A40 maybe?) Anyway, I wonder if the original design of the smoothcase 1st gear was to comply in some way with taxation rules?

d


The RAC hp taxation system ceased just after WW2, when it was replaced by a flat rate of taxation for all cars. This has recently been superseded by lower taxation for small engines, in an attempt to encourage ownership of smaller & apparently less polluting cars. One of the last of the pre-war generation of British engines was the Riley 2.5 litre (16 RAC hp) which ceased production in 1957, in the Riley Pathfinder. At the time, it had the longest stroke of any British production car (IIRC, it was 120mm).

However, due to the road network being the same - no motorways until much later (1959?) when the M1 was opened, meant that driving habits remained the same, and many cars continued to be comparatively low geared.

The smoothcase gearbox was originally used in the Austin A35 and the Morris Minor.
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