Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Adams Car Rides Again

This car built in 1907, one of the last of its type, was manufactured in Bedford at the Elstow Road factory of the Adams Manufacturing Company. It is an Adams Mail Phaeton ‘V’ model and sold for £265 when new.

Sales literature for the Adams car at the time stated “Anyone can learn to drive it in an hour… An average speed of 20mph is assured in any give-or-take country with the car fully loaded”. The company went into liquidation in 1913. The Managing Director, A.H. Adams died on the Lusitania, a ship sunk by a German submarine on the way from New York to Liverpool in May 1915.

In 1964 the Adams Car came into the hands of Cutler-Hammer who were successors to the Igranic Electrical Company which, in turn had succeeded the Adams Company at Elstow Road. In 1978-9 the car was fully restored by Cutler-Hammer, and finally handed over to be displayed at the Bedford Museum.

In order to be moved out of the Museum the car needed to be loaded on to a car transporter and taken to our store. Fortunately the car had been on display in the ground floor gallery, which has suitable doors that it can fit in and out of (narrowly). It just had to be manouvered with sufficient man power.

With the car being over 100 years old we were reluctant to attempt to get the engine started, so decided it was safer to push it manually. The hand brake was disengaged and it took a several point turn to line the car up with the narrow doorway, to avoid any damage to the paintwork. The lack of power steering of course made this quite difficult!

Once we made it through the door we had to manually push the car out of the courtyard as the car transporter wouldn’t fit under the bridge and gateway of the museum entrance. The car was attached to the winch of the lorry and again the challenge was to line up the car onto the ramp to get it onto the vehicle, but it all went smoothly.

Getting the car off the vehicle at the other end was again difficult, especially with the forces of gravity pulling the car down the ramp (despite the stability from the winch) and the inability to brake – so everyone stood well clear – just in case! Happily, with the Adams Car unloaded successfully from the car transporter without incident, the car had its soft cover placed over it to protect it from dust whilst in storage.


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