Time To Recycle? 1931 BSA Family Four Cycle Car

This BSA either has one wheel too many or one wheel too few. Cycle cars have been around since the beginning of the automobile. The first car, the Benz Patent-Motorwagen only had 3 wheels.  They were mostly produced as basic transportation from 1910 to 1920 and then again in the 1930s during the Great Depression. They were not quite a car but they were a step up from a motorcycle. BSA is mostly remembered for its motorcycles but they also built cars. From 1929 to 1936 they built cycle cars like this one listed on craigslist. It’s in Fairfield, Connecticut with an asking price of $6,000.

There isn’t much left of the interior. The back seats are squeezed in on either side of the rear wheel.

Here’s the 10 HP Hotchkiss V-Twin 1021 CC engine. It powers the front wheels through a three-speed transmission. It has reverse as well as electric start. The engine is missing pushrods and other parts. This is the same basic V Twin engine you’ve seen mounted on the nose of the Morgan 3, so parts might actually be available.

The seller has been trying to find a new home for his cycle car for months. Buyers for this thing are likely to be as rare as it is. A number of these cycle cars have been restored by 3 wheel enthusiasts. It’s a little car but restoration won’t be easy, especially trying to find parts. Morgan is still building their M3 cycle car. Even the used examples bring $40,000 to $50,000 but there’s no comparison to this BSA, of course. Are there any cycle car folks among our readers?.

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Comments

  1. Tony

    The club http://www.bsafwdc.org/ has parts and all the drawings…….

    • James HGF

      Thanks for the link to “The BSA Front Wheel Drive Club” site. Bookmarked it.

  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    I thought that Morgans had a Matchless engine. I’ve seen the odd one with a J.A.P. engine, which must have gone like Jack, the bear. This should be a fun project. Sure will have people turning heads when you drive it down the street. About 35 years ago I saw a Morgan trike running around the streets in Great Falls, MT. I saw it a couple of times then it disappeared. No one seems to know where it went….

    • James HGF

      Quick note on Morgan 3 wheelers. Prototype used a 7 hp Peugeot engine. The Morgan entries for the 1913 French Cyclecar Grand Prix at Amiens had 2 with ohv J.A.P engines, one which used a Blumfield engine and the 4th had a Green-Precision engine. W. G. McMinnies was the victor with his mechanic Frank Thomas in a J.A.P. powered car.

      Following is a link to an excellent Morgan 3 wheel site. The homepage shows “Morgan at the 1st International Cyclecar race in Detroit/USA, July 4-5 1915”:

      http://morgan3w.de/

      Check out the history page (“In 1930, driving a 1,100 c. J.A.P. racer, Mrs. Gwenda Stewart…broke the hour record at a speed over 100 m.p.h.”) for a brief relatively complete history as told by H. F. S. Morgan.

      Of course anyone interested in Morgans and the V twins that powered them will find the “Engines” page of interest.

      There’s plenty to keep a motor enthusiast entertained and informed throughout the site.

  3. chad

    “boat tail” 4 sure !
    Corners must up the pucker factor esp w/3 passengers !

  4. Derek

    Morgans could have whatever engine that you asked them to fit, I think.

    Looks like there’s a gap where the starter motor ought to go.

    Better known for motorbikes, but BSA stands for the Birmingham Small Arms company.

    • Brakeservo

      You could even get a Ford powered Morgan – a little flathead four banger.

  5. Robert White

    I’m a Birmingham Small Arms manufacturing fan BIG time, but I can’t afford to buy a Christmas present this year, eh.

    :(

    Bob

  6. lance

    Morgan never had a Hotchkiss engine in their three wheelers.

  7. sluggo

    **Listing has been deleted by its author**

    Cool car though, would be a lot of fun to restore as well as own. Tooling about on a picnic with your silk scarf and Bowler hat, Some wensleydale cheese in the picnic hamper and Scrumpy to wash it down with.
    Probably be able to line up some modeling gigs, commercials or maybe TV or movie work for it as well if you connected with the right people. I know a few people who rented out vehicles to TV and Movie productions and they enjoyed it and made good money. We got a few requests to our local vintage bike club for certain types of motorcycles for photo shoots.

    I have a bunch of BSAs,, my earliest is 1932 BSA Blue Star, several Goldies and unit singles as well as a variety of twins preunit and unit. What I DONT have is a BSA Car or 3 wheeler.
    Never seen one like this, but I approve.
    So Does Bettie Page.

  8. pat gill

    I know someone who has one of these, he keeps mice in it, and nut shells, Pat

  9. David Miraglia

    This car should be in auto museum

  10. sluggo

    “This car should be in auto museum ”

    Maybe in the off season, But the rest of the year should be at events and shows so people can see, smell, taste and enjoy these. (A little castrol R in the tank just for ambiance)

    “Ride them dont hide them” (probably not on the interstate though)

    Like 1
  11. carsofchaos

    I have a BSA B25 Scrambler I’m doing over the winter. BSA was always a very interesting “other” make in motorcycles, and the same goes for this oddball “car”. Dig it.

  12. BSA Cyclecar

    Hallo.
    BSA Cyclecar 1931 for salle?
    Petr Zima.

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