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British Industrial History

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Oppermann

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Oppermann Motocart. Reg No: 422 UXK.

S. E. Opperman Ltd of Stuart Works, Stirling Corner, Boreham Wood

  • 1945 The Oppermann Motocart was developed. They took an idea of a prototype which had been designed and built by a farmer to replace some of the horses he was using.
  • The Oppermann Motocart had an 8 hp air-cooled engine, this was attached to the right-hand side of the single front wheel. The power from the engine went via a chain and sprocket drive and a clutch to a four-speed gearbox.
  • The company's advertising for the Motocart targetted horse owners with the emphasis on the workrate being three times as fast as a horse and cart for 6.83 litres (1.5 gallons) per day average fuel consumption.
  • The Motocart was sold to some local authority and industrial customers but faced competition from more powerful tractors.
  • Production of the Motocart ceased in about 1952.

Motocart

The vehicle had four gears and reverse, and was fitted with an Opperman patented improved control lever which enabled the vehicle to be driven whilst the driver was either standing or walking alongside, making it extremely useful if there was a desire to move it over short distances with frequent stops.

The engine specification was a petrol, single cylinder, four stroke, air cooled type, with a petrol tank capacity of 3 gallons. The optimum load carrying capacity for the motocart was 30 cwts (3,380 lbs), but this depended entirely on the type and condition of the ground over which the vehicle travelled. For soft, boggy ground the load had to be considerably reduced. Overall dimensions were 13 ft 11" in length and 6 ft 7" in width, with a turning circle of 27 ft 5 ".

The annual Great Dorset Steam Fair at Blandford Forum showed off a host of wonderful working steam powered mammoths of traction, but also had room to display a cracking example of an Opperman Motocart fitted with a 'Lincoln' style chassis and body, and sporting a livery of bottle green and wood panelling, with bright red wheel rims.

The Motocart was a petrol driven post-war vehicle, ideally suited for use in parks located throughout the Black Country, and it was following in a fine tradition of British-made vehicles of a similar nature.

Others

  • Unicar 1956-59
  • Stirling 1958-59

See Also

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Sources of Information

  • From 1890 to the Present Day Farm Tractors by Michael Williams published in 2005 by Silverdale Books ISBN 978-1-84509-251-1
  • A-Z British Cars 1945-1980 by Graham Robson. Published by Herridge and Sons. ISBN 0-9541063-9-3