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Mark B - April 1951 to November 1952

Vehicle Modifications By Chassis Number

Date

Chassis Number

Details of modifications and changes in specification

APR 1951

C/6/1974

Sales brochure picture of the new Mark B - click to enlargeThe Mark B 2/3 seater Tourer was introduced. Although production commenced during week ending 28th April, chassis numbers started with C/6/ - probably because the first cars were not completed and tested until 25th June. The new model retained the Villiers 6E 197 cc engine, 3 speed direct change gearbox, 6 volt rectified electrical system and curved glass windscreen, but now featured a coil spring rear suspension with sliding block and guide bars, a hydraulic front shock absorber, a larger luggage boot and a reshaped hood. There was also a new type of foot brake pedal/cables and a new starter cable. A locknut was even fitted to the steering wheel! Front lighting was still by two external head and side lamps of 12 watt / 3 watt capacity mounted on either side of the body. Rear lighting retained the single, centrally mounted tail lamp with the 3 / 3 watt double filament bulb. No rear brake light was fitted.
Vehicle length 9' 1", width 5' 0", height 3' 9" and weight 420 lb.
Colours available: Pale Green, Light Blue or Pearl Grey Polychromatic cellulose, Maroon, Ivory and Honey. (Red was introduced later and Honey was discontinued.) Hood and seat colours were the same as the Mark A. The first Tourer produced was Pearl Grey Polychromatic. Price was £215 0s 0d plus £120 18s 10d purchase tax making a hefty £335 18s 10d (£335.90p)

APR 1951

C/6/1974 to C/6/2138

A modification to the lighting circuit was made. The Rectifier case that had previously been earthed was now insulated.

MAY 1951

C/6/2000

The E.S.C. (prototype Mark C) - click to enlargeRecorded as an experimental vehicle, body colour Ivory. It is quite likely this Tourer was the vehicle known as the E.S.C. (England’s Smallest Car) and became the first prototype of the new Mark C. From the bulkhead rearwards the E.S.C. shared identical body styling and mechanical parts to the Mark B but had a completely new front end and a door fitted on the left hand side. The E.S.C’s registration number - ECK 67 - was also issued at around the same date as this vehicle to back-up the likelihood.

JUN 1951

C/6/2019 

The first Mark B recorded with left hand steering. Body colour Pearl Grey Polychromatic.

JUN 1951

C/6/2139

A new lighting switch incorporating an ignition lock was introduced.

SEPT 1951

C/9/2246

Recorded as a “Show” car, body colour Pearl Grey Polychromatic. Registration believed to be BEG 458

NOV 1951

C/11/2354

A new, larger sprocket was fitted on the front hub.

NOV 1951

C/11/2396

The first Tourer recorded with a factory fitted door. Over the next 11 months doors were fitted to another 93 vehicles. Body colour Pearl Grey Polychromatic.

NOV 1951

C/11/2404

New type rear springs were fitted.

DEC 1951

C/12/2428 

Rubber buffers fitted inside the rear suspension springs, replacing the rebound spring used earlier.

DEC 1951

C/12/2432 

A rubber sheath was fitted to the rear suspension guide bar.

DEC 1951

D/1/2475 

The first Tourer to have the chassis prefix “D” for 1952 was started during w/e 22nd December. Body colour Light Blue Polychromatic.

JAN 1952

D/1/2480 

This left hand steering Ivory Tourer is believed to have been exhibited in New York during 1952. It was owned for many years by American Showman Vic. Hyde and after his death in the early 1990’s, it passed into the hands of Canadian Microcar collector Bruce Weiner. His collection went under the auctioneer’s hammer at Christie’s in London on 6th March 1997 and the Mark B was sold for £10,134.38p. Although very few other details are known about it, the car is still rumoured to have covered only 5000 miles from new.

JAN 1952

D/1/2507

A new braking system with a cross-shaft was adopted.

MAR 1952 

D/3/2703

The “Easistart” decompressor replaced the cam-operated type and a new top bolt and shackle plate now supported the engine cradle on either side.

APR 1952

D/4/2864

The first Tourer recorded with a factory fitted electric starter. Body colour Pearl Grey Polychromatic.

MAY 1952

D/5/2977

A rare sales brochure picture of the Sharp's Minitruck - click to enlargeThe Sharp’s Minitruck was introduced. (Initially, they were referred to as “Utility” in the Production records.) A larger, upright rear body gave a carrying capacity of 24 cubic feet or a payload of 3 cwt. and the hood had a roll-up flap at the rear to facilitate loading. A single seat for the driver only was fitted. Body colour Cherry and the registration is believed to be ERN 545*. Price was £265 8s 4d including purchase tax. (£265.42p)

MAY 1952

D/5/2978

A rare sales brochure picture of the Sharp's Minivan - click to enlargeThe Sharp’s Minivan was introduced. This had the same carrying capacity and payload as the Minitruck, but the Minivan had a built-in compartment (with a door) at the rear, hood/sidescreens and a bench type front seat for the driver and a passenger. This particular vehicle is recorded as having Flexitor rear suspension units and an electric starter fitted. Body colour Ivory and the registration is believed to be ERN 546*. Price, including purchase tax, was £289 8s 4d (£289.42p)

MAY 1952

 D/5/2992

This Minitruck (Utility) was the only one recorded as having extra rubbers fitted to the rear suspension. It is assumed these were to assist with the load carrying capabilities. Body colour Red.

JUL 1952

D/7/3182

This Minitruck was the only Mark B recorded with having a door fitted to the right hand side. Body colour Ivory and registration number YMM 990.

AUG 1952

D/8/3153 

The Mark B Family 'Safety Saloon' - click to enlargeGlass’s Motorcycle Check Book listed this as the introduction of the Family “Safety Saloon” but the production records show it to be the third van produced. The “Safety Saloon” used the same enclosed Minivan body and rear door, but also had side windows and inward-facing rear seats fitted. This gave enough room for two adults, with two small children seated in the rear. (A “Safety Saloon” was shown at the 1952 Earls Court Motorcycle Show and research indicates at least another two were made but unfortunately the records do not differentiate between the Minivans and Safety Saloons.) This Van / Safety Saloon is recorded as having “Rubber suspension” which has been taken to mean it had Flexitor rear suspension units fitted. Another vehicle, 3154 is also recorded with “Rubber suspension” and along with 2978 they are the only Vans / Safety Saloons recorded as such. Body colour Ivory with the hood and rear compartment in Red.

SEPT 1952 

D/9/3072

The first of a batch of vans recorded as having “small triangles”. It is presumed that these were the pairs of reflective red warning triangles usually fitted to the rear bodies of commercial vehicles. Also fitted to 3126, 3128, 3129, 3250, 3274 and 3302. All had Ivory body colour.             

SEPT 1952 

D/9/3214

This Minitruck was recorded as “Exp.” and had “Rubber suspension”. It is assumed to have been an experimental vehicle fitted with “Flexitors”. No further details are known and no other Minitrucks are recorded as having “rubber suspension”. Body colour Ivory.

SEPT 1952

E/7/3297

NYP in the 1950's - click to enlargeThis Family “Safety Saloon” was also recorded as a van and appears in the production records during w/e 13th September 1952. However, the test date is entered as 3rd August 1953! Perhaps this goes a little way to explaining why the vehicle carries a 1953 “E” chassis coding and ended up being built with Mark C style rear wings and Flexitor suspension units - although this is not mentioned in the Production Records*. Body colour Ivory with a Maroon hood and rear body. Registration number NYP 960.
* During w/e 13th September 1952, 10 more vans and 2 unknown vehicles (possibly Tourers?) were again recorded but not tested until July / August 1953. Why this should happen is not known and it might be assumed they would also have had E/7 or E/8 chassis number prefixes. The numbers are: 3127, 3273, 3281,3,5 3290,1,2,4,9 3304 and 3307.Photo courtesy of 'Classic Van and Pick-up' magazine - click to enlargePhoto courtesy of 'Classic Van and Pick-up' magazine - click to enlarge

 

 

 

The above photographs show the vehicle in its current "as found" and unrestored condition in 2001 and in the top right is a picture taken during the 1950's.

OCT 1952 

D/10/3041

The first Mark B to be fitted with, a Villiers 8E 197 cc engine. (Also 3045 & 3081) These three vehicles all had a passenger door and were recorded during October 1952, but were not finally tested until September and July 1953. Body colours were Maroon, Pale Green Polychromatic and Maroon respectively.

OCT 1952

D/10/3326

An Ivory Minivan - “Show” model

OCT 1952 

D/10/3377

An Ivory Minitruck with a Red interior - “Show” model.

OCT 1952 

D/10/3391

The Mark B was officially discontinued. The last vehicle produced was an Ivory colour Minitruck with Red trim. Although it was listed with an October ’52 chassis code, the Production Records show it was not finally tested until 3rd August 1953.

* The “ERN” registration series ran from December ’51 till September 1952. With Minitruck D/5/2977 and Minivan D/5/2978 both having consecutive chassis numbers, it is quite likely that their registration numbers were also consecutively issued. May 1952 is approximately the correct time for these numbers to have been allocated and a Sharp’s Commercials advert appearing at the end of an “Autosport” Mark B road test article dated May 2nd 1952, shows a picture of  a Minitruck with the registration ERN 545. The Minivan with the registration ERN 546 is clearly shown in the extremely rare Sharp’s Commercials sales brochure for the Minitruck and Minivan.