One More Wheel: 1934 BSA Family Four

1934-BSA-Family-Four

Most of us know BSA for their bikes, but they also tried their hand at cars. Well, sort of… Heck, they built all sorts of stuff. BSA stood for The Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited, so you can imagine what sort of products they produced. This is a 1934 BSA Family Four and as the name suggests, it has room for two adults and two children. We have called the BSA a Morgan alternative before, but there are actually some major differences between this and the quintessential three-wheeler. Thanks goes to Sean S. for the tip.

Hotchkiss-V-Twin

The exterior styling may look similar to later Morgans, but the BSAs actually offered more for your money. Three forward gears and an electric starter were standard options. Also the front wheels were driven by a Hotchkiss V-Twin while the Morgan used a variety of engines sourced from  J.A.P. and even Ford. The BSAs didn’t have the good looks or sportiness of the Morgans though and that could explain why one floated to the top while the other sunk to the bottom of the collector car pond.

1934-BSA-Family-Four-rear

So, if you like to be very different, this one could be for you. It is offered by Connecticut Classix for $10,750 here on their site. That’s not cheap, but it’s a whole lot less than a comparable Morgan. Three-wheelers aren’t exactly mainstream classics though so it might be hard to find someone to buy it if you decide to move on. Then again, you may never want to sell after driving it.

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Comments

  1. Bill Atalla

    I restored a 1933 BSA three wheeler. After a series of Concours events it sat for a while in the garage. It was done in three shades of purple (I have daughters). When it was time to sell the best offer I had was from an individual who wanted to hang it above his bar in San Francisco. Needless to say, I donated it the the National Automobile Museum in Reno, NV. Now at least many sober people can enjoy this forgotten classic.

  2. Dolphin Member

    I had some friends years ago who had ‘Bisa’ bikes, but I have never seen one of their cars. I have been learning a little about them from some BSA brochure listings on eBay, of all places, which was the first place I learned that BSA made cars. The Birmingham Small Arms company was into a lot of different kinds of products, something that probably could only happen in a small firm in Olde England years ago. Today you need big economies of scale to compete in any area of manufacturing.

    This little 3-wheeler is a genuine piece of history.

  3. rancho bella

    Boy……….this is somethin’. I can’t imagine the parts chase, probably because I know zip about bikes or bike offshoots. But, I just like looking at it and thinking on the history.

    • Thomas Bean

      You said it. Great piece of automotive reporting. The older and more unique…the more it blows away the usual Mustangs, Chevelles, Camaros, Vettes…GTO’s..etc.
      One of a kind…and a true relic for the curious. Great reporting by Jesse and his crew.

  4. Kman

    This vehicle should be consigned to the scarp heap of history, (or maybe a museum of oddities). It is just plain butt ugly. Crudely assembled and lacking in any aesthetic or design value. It most closely resembles a plywood boat built by a 12 year old for a pond.

    • Bill Atalla

      Actually looks are deceiving–this car was quite advanced. Front wheel drive, air cooled engine. It served its purpose as the three wheels got around the tax laws at the time. Even the police department employed them but they were a bit unstable in the turns at speed. May not be pretty but I bet you would have owned one rather than walking across London during the day.

  5. Bernie H

    Most people dont even know what BSA stands for must less than knowing they made cars. I have a 1938 BSA Series 6 Scout, 4 pass tourer, FWD, thats one of two in the US that is running and drivable. It “tears up” the roads at 38 MPH with a 1203cc four cyl straining to develop 12 HP. One thing for sure, if you’re passengers were’nt close friends before the ride, they will be after!. THe British population must have been 5′-4″ and 100lbs max to fit behind the wheel, or food must have been scarce then. This one is complete with full canvas and curtains. I think its going to see the auction next spring at Auburn, IN. Its a neat old car that belongs in a museum atmosphere.

    • Rich C.

      Bernie,
      Love to see your Scout. I have a ’36 Scout in NY state. It runs well and is fun to drive, but it is a little tight inside. The BSAs are great little cars. Innovative for their time.

  6. jim

    never knew about this BSA, learned something new today. great find. thanks

  7. frank opalka

    I used to ride a BSA Gold Star,500 single, went like a rocket if u could get it started

  8. geomechs geomechs Member

    I had a ’59 BSA B33 Sportsman, a 500cc cast iron single. A lot of fun to ride. Everyone knew when I was coming to town. Another one of those that got away.

    The BSA logo was three rifles standing together for support. By the time my bike came out there were just 3 upright grooves that barely resembled rifles carved into the pushrod tube. I don’t know when they streamlined the logo.

    This car is something that took me by surprise. I always thought the 3-wheelers of that configuration were confined to the Morgan. Going to be fun hunting down parts for this one. But then, searching for parts is half the fun.

  9. jim

    found this restored one for sale in england
    http://car-from-uk.com/sale.php?id=13297

  10. jim

    and a club for support
    http://www.bsafwdc.co.uk/

  11. Steve

    I ran across one of these years ago near Hartsville, Tenn. It was odd in an interesting way.
    I thought the body looked crude. I’d love to see a nicely finished one in person.

  12. Mark E

    Wow, that one in England is fully and expertly restored for 12,000 pounds. That would make this unrestored parts collection worth, what, $5k? And the difference in quality is startling. Admittedly, it’s a different body style but the one in the UK actually looks like it’s better quality manufacture than a Morgan.

  13. john barringer

    I sold one of those on Ebay about a month ago. Look on Youtube and see the video I made about this car: ‘My BSA Trike Restoration’.

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