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1942 home-made electric car

Automobile, full size, home-made electric car, in QANTAS livery, painted timber/metal/glass/rubber, made by Sir Roland Wilson, Canberra, ACT, Australia, 1942-1943, used by Sir Roland Wilson, Canberra, Australia, 1944-1947, QANTAS 1974, and the School of Applied Electricity, Department of Technical & Further Education, Sydney, 1976-1978

This is a three-wheeled, convertible, battery-operated electric car which weighs about 10 cwt. The body is made of wood, sheet steel and Masonite on a derelict "Baby" Austin Seven automobile chassis and its parts. The rear of the chassis was altered to accommodate the single rear wheel. The wheels comprise Austin hubs welded onto fork lift rims. The rear axle was turned out from an old Model T Ford. The front wheel taper bearings were from a Vauxhall.

The car has an open Masonite body with large wooden quad sections for corners which were all glued and screwed together and a bronze gauze imitation radiator. The boot, or tail, is fitted with top-mounted hinges with a stay for access to the electric motor and motorcycle chain drive assembly. The car is powered by a ball-bearing series 1.2 hp, 60 volt, 1200 rpm, DC electric Orwell Motor, type M25/51 made by Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies Ltd, Ipswich, Suffolk, England. This drove the single rear wheel via the chain.

Ten, car-type, 6-volt lead acid batteries were located in the engine bay which powered the vehicle and provided a running time of 20 minutes. This was later upgraded to twelve 12-volt batteries. The bonnet can be unclipped and hinged forwards to allow access to the batteries. There was no provision to charge the batteries from a central point. Each had to be charged individually.

The accelerator is a three-position switch. Pressing it down brought in the first relay which gave one third of the available battery power. By moving the pedal to the left and pressing down brought in the second relay and again to the left and down activated the third relay and full power.

The car features two front headlights, a tail light, and an ignition switch on the steering wheel. Advance and retard switches on the steering wheel were used as head and side light switches. A hand-operated windscreen wiper is fitted while an inoperable speedometer was mounted on the dashboard for effect. It was never fitted with a speedometer cable and is no longer extant in the car. The car is now finished in red with blue upholstery. There are no doors and it has a single bench seat. There are transfers of the QANTAS flying kangaroo logo on both sides of the bonnet and the name "QANTAS" on both sides of the body.
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