Think the British car industry’s roaring trade in exports is a new phenomenon? Not exactly. As Autocar described in the winter of 1895, vehicles have been leaving these shores from the industry’s earliest days.
Which was just as well, because Britain hadn’t quite sorted out how it was going to deal with these new horseless carriages on the highways and byways. They were still classed as locomotives and subject to strict and outdated legislation for the safety of other road users, which did not encourage many companies to develop vehicles for British use.
Autocar wrote: “Although prohibited by the absurdity of the existing enactment from doing a trade in our own country, it is pleasing to note that the inventive ingenuity of British engineers has met with an appreciative response abroad.”
Two carriages using electric motors from Acme and Immisch Electric Works, a large electrical engineering and contracting company based in London, were produced for His Imperial Majesty the Sultan of Turkey, Abdul Hamid II.
The company was run by electrical pioneer Moritz Immisch, of German descent but based in London, with his compatriot Magnus Volk, another noted electrical engineer, collaborating on the build of the vehicles.
Autocar explained: “One carriage, a three-wheel ‘dogcart’ – the name derived from that given to two-person horsedrawn vehicles – was built by a leading firm of coach builders to the specific order of his Imperial Majesty, while the axle and rear wheels were specially constructed by Acme and Immisch for driving from the motor by means of spur and chain gearing. The battery in this carriage is placed beneath the seat and is entirely hidden from view and the motor is capable of developing up to 2hp.”