Our car collection has been reduced in recent years in favor of agricultural and railway items. We have kept two historic cars and one or two more modern one like the Mercedes SL380. We also play host to the visiting historic vehicle clubs on some open days.
Reliant ‘Prince Regent’
Built in 1949 Index – FO 5654
Reliant took over Raleigh’s design for three wheeled vehicles in 1935. This vehicle was found in a dismantled state in a collapsed garage in Wales. The restoration was started in 2005 and took two years to complete. The engine was rebuilt and is derived from an Austin 7. The bodywork was almost non existent but sufficient survived to be used as templates for new aluminium panels.
This fine example was restored by the late John Dagnall of Sittingbourne, Kent.
Bean 14 Model 6 Tourer
14 H.P. Built in 1923 Index – SV 9172
This car was exported in 1923 to Australia and then re-imported in 2001 by the Bredgar & Wormshill Light Railway.
It has been used on Bean Car Club Rallies both locally and in France.
The Bean Car Club
The Bean Car Club caters for all makes of Vintage, Veteran and pre-1940 cars, with a section for those owning, or with a special interest in, Bean cars.
Visit their web site –Bean Car Club
The History of the Bean Motor Car
The history of the Bean Car began back in 1826 when Absolom Harper commenced work as a fender maker. With his sons, John and Edward, the business became A. Harper & Sons of Waddam’s Pool, Dudley, Worcestershire, England.
In 1884 a bank clerk – George Bean from Lincolnshire – joined the business. George had earlier married John Harper’s daughter, Mary. In 1907 the business became A. Harper, Sons & Bean.
During the First World War the firm was involved in the war effort making ammunition. Other premises were acquired in Smethwick, Staffordshire and Tipton, Worcestershire.
In 1918 George Bean and his son, Jack, made the decision to move into car manufacture, mass producing chassis at Tipton, which were then driven to Dudley for the fitting of body work.
Early in 1919 Bean purchased all the equipment to produce the Perry 11.9 h.p. motor car from Perry of Tyseley, Birmingham, England. His intention was to update this model and mass produce it in the same way as the Model T Ford was produced in America. His aim was to build 10,000 cars a year and to call it the ‘BEAN’.
The 11.9 h.p. Bean was introduced at the 1919 London Motor Show.
Bean became the first British car manufacturer to install moving assembly lines. The highest monthly output achieved was 505 in July 1920.
The firm struggled for the next few years, for a time it became involved with the British Motor Trading Corporation. Although struggling, two new models were produced, the Models 12 and 14, these were in competition with models from Morris and Austin.
1926 saw the firm being taken over by new management – Hadfields – who in the past had supplied steel to the BMT Corporation. On 23 June 1926 the name of A. Harper, Sons & Bean was dropped and the firm became known simply as – BEAN CARS.
New car models were designed and produced alongside commercial vehicles but reliability became their biggest problem and in 1929 car production ceased.
Today, 146 Bean Cars and Commercials still exist – 75 in Australia and 71 in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.
Many Bean cars were exported to Australia where they were very popular and were involved in daring exploits.
In 1924 a Model 14 was driven from Sydney to Darwin and back to Sydney, being the first car to do so, covering, in places terrible terrain, a distance of 6278 miles (10,103 Km).
In 1926 an open two seater Bean was driven from Darwin to Melbourne, covering 3380 miles (5439 Km) in 8 days 13 hours.
And in October 1927 this same two seater left London, England, driving cross country where possible, arriving in Melbourne, Australia on 25 July 1928, a total of 16,000 miles (26,000 Km).
More details of these historic events and a full history of the Bean Motorcar can be found in the excellent book “The Bean” by Jonathan Wood
The Book – ‘THE BEAN’
A full history of the Bean Motorcar can be found in the excellent book “The Bean” by Jonathan Wood – (ISBN 0-7478-0482-6)
Published by – Shire Publications, Cromwell House, Church Street, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, HP27 9AA, England.
Website: Shire Books