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British Industrial History

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Sheffield-Simplex Motor Works

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1906 Q4.
April 1907.
November 1907.
November 1907.
November 1907.
November 1907.
November 1907. 45 h.p.
November 1908.
November 1908. Transmission gear.
November 1908. Six-cylinder chassis.
November 1908. Back axle.
November 1908.
November 1908. 45 h.p. model.
November 1909.
November 1909.
November 1909.
November 1909.
July 1910.
November 1910. Engine.
November 1910. Gearbox.
November 1910.
December 1910. 25-hp engine.
November 1911. Six-cylinder engine.
March 1912.
May 1913.
1913. Exhibit at Powerhouse Museum.
1913. Exhibit at Powerhouse Museum.
February 1914.
February 1914. With Vanden Plas bodywork.
February 1914. 30hp chassis.
March 1916.
1920. Reg No: PE 1717. Exhibit at Kelham Island Museum.
1920. Reg No: PE 1717. Exhibit at Kelham Island Museum.
January 1920.
January 1920.
May 1925.
November 1926.

Sheffield-Simplex of Sheffield, and Kingston upon Thames.

aka Sheffield Simplex Motor Works

The Sheffield factory was located at the junction of Lock Lane and Sheffield Road, immediately west of Templeborough Rolling Mills. It was connected to the Great Central Railway's Sheffield and Mexborough Branch, which was immediately north of the factory [1]

The company received financial backing from the coal magnate Earl Fitzwilliam. The first few cars were called Brotherhoods and were a continuation of the Brotherhood-Crocker cars made in London in which Earl Fitzwilliam had been an investor. Brotherhood sold the London site in 1905 and moved to Peterborough but could not get permission to build a car factory so the Earl suggested a move to Sheffield where he built a new factory in Tinsley.

1905 Produced three sizes of car (in length) but with the same 20 h.p. four-cylinder engine and chain driven. [2]

1906 Olympia Exhibition: Sheffield-Simplex & Brotherhood were together on a stand[3]

1907 November. Details of their 45-hp car designed by Percy Richardson.[4][5][6]

In 1908 the first cars to bear the Sheffield-Simplex name appeared; they had been designed by Percy Richardson who had represented Daimler and worked for Brotherhood. The LA1 had a six cylinder 6,978 cc engine and three speed gearbox.

It was joined in 1908 by the LA2 intended for lighter open bodies which did without a conventional gear system.

1908 November. Details of the 45-hp car shown at Olympia that does not require a gearbox.[7][8][9]

1909 Considered building engines for aeroplanes and started a design; purchased Bleriot monoplane[10].

1910 Four smaller cars joined the line up in 1910. The LA3 and long wheelbase LA4 were the babies of the family with a four cylinder engine of 2,882 cc, while the LA5 and LA6 had six cylinder 4324 cc power units.

1910 October. Details of the 'new' 25hp car.[11]

1911 These cars lasted only one year and in 1911 were replaced by the LA7 with a six cylinder 4,740 cc engine allowing the company to boast that only one other British maker made only six cylinder cars. Sheffield-Simplex considered their only rival to be Rolls-Royce and even opened a London showroom in Conduit Street very close to theirs.

1911 October. Details of the changed 25hp six-cylinder. No change to the 45hp model.[12][13]

1911 Motor Show. 6-cylinder engine.

1912 November. Details of the 30hp six-cylinder car.[14]

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices see the 1917 Red Book

1913 April. 25, 30 & 35 hp 6-cylinder models

1913 The LA7 was updated to LA7b specification in 1913 and this included electric starting and in 1914 the old LA1 and 2 models were finally dropped.

1913 October. Deatils of the 30hp car.[15]

WWI During World War 1 the company made armoured cars which were supplied to the Belgian and Russian armies, ABC Wasp and Dragonfly aircraft engines and munitions.

1919 Car production recommenced in 1919 with the LA7b but now called the 30hp but few were sold and it was replaced by a new design, the 50, in 1920. This had a new engine of 7777 cc with each of its six cylinders separately cast. It appeared at the London Motor Show in that year fitted with a two seat body and again in 1921. It is quite probable that it was the only one made.

1920 November. Exhibited at the Motor Car Show at Olympia with a new chassis with six-cylinders and a 48.3 hp rating

1923 As well as cars the company built Ner-A-Car motor cycles and opened a factory in Kingston upon Thames. This unconventional machine was designed by American Carl Neracher and had a very low chassis dropping down between the wheels. Production continued until 1927.

1925 Introduced a dipping headlamp system

The final years of car production are a mystery and it seems likely that few were made post World War 1 and final production might have been in Kingston. About 1,500 cars were made in the company's history.

List of Models

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Godfrey Edition map: Yorkshire Sheet 289.14: Templeborough and Tinsley 1921 [1]
  2. The Automobile Vol. III. Edited by Paul N. Hasluck and published by Cassell and Co in 1906.
  3. The Times, Nov 15, 1906
  4. Automotor Journal 1907/11/09
  5. Automotor Journal 1907/11/16
  6. Automotor Journal 1907/11/30
  7. Automotor Journal 1908/11/14
  8. Automotor Journal 1908/11/21
  9. The Autocar 1908/11/07
  10. The Times, 10 November 1909
  11. The Autocar 1910/10/29
  12. The Autocar 1911/10/14
  13. The Autocar 1911/11/04
  14. The Autocar 1912/11/09
  15. The Autocar 1913/10/18