MOTOR-CARS IN WELLINGTON. WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE AND HOW THEY WORK.
Two neat-looking vehicles without shafts are now to be seen in thf; old Gaiety Theatre, situated in the lane leading to Luke's foundry. These are the motor-cars about which so many paragraphs have appeared in the Post during the past few months — the first of their kind, we believe, to come. to the Southern Hemisphere. At first glance they look like ordinary hooded buggies mounted on rubber-tyred wheels looking like stronglymade bicycle wheels, with the difference, however, that the tyres are solid instead of the pneumatic ones they so closely resemble. Yesterday afternoon two members of our staff, through the courtesy of Mr. Wm. M'Lean, to whose order the cars were made in Paris, and who has become the secretary of the local company formed to introduce motor-cars to New Zealand, were privileged to inspect the horseless vehicles and experience the sensation of riding upon them. Mr. M'Lean, during his recent visit to Europe, interested himself in the new method of locomotion to such an extent that he spent the greater part of his time in going through the principal establishments where motor-cars are being manufactured. His object was to ascertain from personal inspection and enquiries the best of the many inventions now before the public, so that lie might be in a position to select a type of machine which would be best suited to the New Zealand roads. The result of his investigations was that he decided that the car invented by Beuz,of Paris, and manufactured by the£" Paris House for Motor-Cars " was the best on the market. The cars which are about to be placed before the public of Wellington are therefore from that factory. One of the cars will carry three persons and the other is seated for two. Each weighs about 14cwt, and Mr. M'Lean states that they are capable of attaining a speed of over 20 miles an hour. The motive power is gas generated from benzoline (purified petroleum), aud the cost of running each vehicle is stated to be much less than that of horse-power. The machinery is placed in the back part of the vehicle, and weighs about Scwt. Along each side of the car runs a copper reservoir of a capacity of some four gallons. One of these is filled with benzoline and the other with water — the latter used, however, merely to keep the working parts cool. The oil flows along a pipe to a vertical brass vessel, where it becomes vapourised. The gas thus generated is conducted to a small engine working on a like principle to that of the ordinary coal-gas engine — i.e., by alternate compression and explosion, the explosion being brought about by means of an electric spark induced from a storage battery placed under the seat of the vehicle. The engine actuates a shaft which is connected with the axle of the driving wheel of the car by a chain like to an exaggerated bicycle-chain. The fore-carriage, by means of which the steering is done, is left as free as the front wheel of a bicycle, and is controlled from a rod which rises in front of the driver's seat. The cars were fitted up under the direction of Mr. Edward Seager, aud under his guidance the representatives of the Post performed sevei'al circuits of the hall at rapid speed. The experience was a novel and pleasant one, the car running throughout with great smoothness. Though indoors, there was no offensive smell from the oil consumed, and one could readily accept the assurance that none at all will be noticed when the machines are worked in the openair. The cars have been taken over by the New Zealand Motor Car Company, the shareholders being all residents of Wellington. They will not be placed on the roads until certain arrangements which are in progress have been completed. The company has purchased the patent rights for the colon}', and inteuds to obtain a number of larger cars for ordinary passenger traffic.
Permanent link to this item
MOTOR-CARS IN WELLINGTON. WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE AND HOW THEY WORK., Evening Post, Volume LV, Issue 64, 17 March 1898
MOTOR-CARS IN WELLINGTON. WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE AND HOW THEY WORK. Evening Post, Volume LV, Issue 64, 17 March 1898
Using This Item
Fairfax Media is the copyright owner for the Evening Post. You can reproduce in-copyright material from this newspaper for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons New Zealand BY-NC-SA licence . This newspaper is not available for commercial use without the consent of Fairfax Media. For advice on reproduction of out-of-copyright material from this newspaper, please refer to the Copyright guide.