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In 1918 the American, William R Gorham, went to Japan to manufacture aircraft and engines but the recession after World War 1 caused the venture to fail. Undeterred and due to his interest in vehicles, in 1919 Gorham built an experimental truck in a factory at Kawasaki City.  He also built a special 3-wheeled vehicle for his disabled plant manager, Mr Kusibiki.  As a result of his 3-wheeler the Jitsuyo Jidosha Seizo Co. was established and by 1920 it started to produce the Gorham 3-wheeler.

With handlebar controls, the Gorham was more or less a 3-wheeled motor-cycle with a semi-enclosed cab that had seating for three people. The driver sat centrally in the front with space for two passengers in the rear. Power came from an air-cooled, 2-cylinder, 8hp engine that had chain drive to the right rear wheel giving  a speed of 30mph. This vehicle is said to be an important design historically as it influenced the fledgling Japanese car industry and many similar machines were built as commercial vehicles.

By 1921 a the Gorham was replaced with a 4-wheeled version and the engine was increased to 10hp but manufacture was to cease a year later in 1922


The 1920 Gorham. (My thanks to Kerry Croxton for sending in this picture)

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