I have been meaning to go to the Coventry Transport Museum for about 18 years now and today we decided we would go along. The first surprise was that it is free to get in and the second was the sheer size of the place. I’ve been to museums half the size of this that charge about £9 to get in. Coventry Museum with all its dioramas and presentations of vehicles was just superb and the vehicles are arranged in chronological order so you start from the late 1880s and go through to the 1990s. Perhaps the most interesting for me was going through the 1940s with air raid sirens going off and apparently bomb damage around you.
Then there was the Thrust SSC simulator ... so I’ve done 763 mph ... in a simulator anyway.
Of course one reason for going was to see what 3-wheelers they may have on show and being Coventry based, there was quite a few.
First up was an old Humber tricycle. Unfortunately I could not find any plaques around that had any details about it though the construction suggested that it was late 1880s.
Next was a 1904 Riley Forecar. One thing I found interesting was the information plaque for it that stated:
“When this vehicle was first made the Riley Corporation advertisement stated: This machine is more of a small car than a motorcycle, the Engine, Clutch and Starting Handle enabling the rider to start the engine before mounting, as on a car”
Following that, I came across an 1896 Coventry Motette. This particular vehicle is apparently known as “Methusela” and has taken part in a number of London to Brighton runs an a Manchester to Blackpool one.
One of my favourites was the 1912 Crouch complete with a suffragette using it as a platform to adorn the walls with “Votes for Women” posters. Some of the ways vehicles are displayed is just great.
For 3-wheelers that was pretty much it that in the 1970s - 1990s sections there was an Ariel 3 and a Sinclair C5 that aptly notes that Sir Clive Sinclair was probably was before his time when he came up with the idea.
All in all the Coventry Transport was a great place to go, not just for spotting 3-wheelers but for the history of transport in general and to absorb the imaginative ways the vehicle have been presented.
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