1902 Arrol-Johnston 10/12 hp
Year of manufacture1902
1902 Arrol-Johnston 10/12hp Dogcart
Registration no. SA 88
Chassis no. 57
Produced by the Mo-Car Syndicate Ltd, Glasgow, Arrol-Johnston took its name from financial backer Sir William Arrol (builder of the Forth Railway Bridge) and its designer George Johnston, a locomotive engineer. A prototype was built in 1895 before the company's foundation in November of that year, making the Arrol-Johnston one of the very earliest British-built motor cars. The first example was produced in a coach house at Mosesfield House, Springburn; subsequently premises were found at Bluevale Camlachie in Glasgow, where this car was made. According to The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile: "Johnston's car was an unusual design, with an opposed-piston flat-twin engine. The connecting rod of one piston worked directly on the crankshaft, while the other acted through a rocking lever. The gearbox was driven by chain, with another single chain taking power to the rear axle. The dogcart-type body seated six passengers in three rows, with the driver in the second row." Brakes of the spoon type operate directly on the rear tyres to hold the car when parked, while braking on the road is by a foot pedal-operated transmission brake.
This original design, being of heavy and robust construction with high ground clearance and solid tyres, was very well suited to the Scottish roads of the period and carried on with little modification until 1906, by which time it looked distinctly dated. Arrol-Johnston survived a succession of reorganisations and changes of trading name, and built its last car in 1931.
Its early ownership unknown, this Arrol-Johnston dogcart was found derelict in a quarry in the 1960s by George Strathdee of Aberdeen, who restored the car and re-licensed it in 1972. The car was hired out for film work and subsequently sold to John Waind of Doncaster, from whom Frank Thomson purchased it in 1991. After suffering a crankcase fracture necessitating a complete rebuild, the car has now successfully completed more than ten London to Brighton Runs and countless VCC rallies: Creepy Crawly, Scottish Annual Rally, etc. Originally started by a pull-cord (like a lawnmower) the engine was fitted with a Dynastart during the rebuild, while other noteworthy features include a bulb horn, warning bell, oil side and tail lamps, and a mirror. One of the most distinctive cars on the Run, this charming Arrol-Johnston is offered with a VCC dating certificate and V5C document.