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Editoral Ramblings

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The Editor

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I was channel surfing and came across a program called 'Chasing Classis Cars' and in the episode I watched the presenter, found and bought this Davis. His was in very good condition and he took it along to a 'cars and coffee' meet in southern California where it was much admired. One comment was it looked like a vacuum cleaner! I looked on the web and found a bit more about the car.

Davis operated in a 57,000 sq. ft. former aircraft assembly building in Van Nuys, where a prototype three-wheeler named "Baby" was built. Baby was powered by a 47 hp Hercules 4-cylinder engine coupled to a Borg-Warner 3-speed transmission and Spicer rear end. Baby was unique in that it featured four-across seating. It was planned that production, beginning in 1948, would start at a minimum of 50 cars a day later increasing to 1000. A second prototype called "Delta" was built, and a third prototype, the model 482, was completed later. The third model, the "Divan", established standards for the production Davis cars.

The company closed down in 1948, as workers and engineers were not being paid, and lawsuits were threatened by investors and dealers. Former employees then filed suit for back pay, and the company was investigated on allegations of fraud. Soon after the Davis plant was shut down, Gary Davis was convicted on 20 of 28 counts of theft (he was acquitted on four counts of theft and four of fraud) and was sentenced to 8 months to two years in jail.


vire engine

I mentioned my purchase of two Vire water cooled two stroke marine engines in the last newsletter and I have made some progress. The rusty engine has a magneto igntion system so I rooted through the bits I have and fitted a Tillotson carburettor (a clever design for use in chain saws as it has no float chamber with a fuel pump integral with it the carb using the crankcase pressure pulses to do the work) and a stainless steel silencer which basically bubbles the exhaust gases through water. The water is supplied by injecting cooling water into the exhaust pipe close to the engine expansion box. Hot exhaust pipes are a no no on boats and cool exhaust gases allow one to use a rubber exhaust pipe to make installation easier. To cut a long story short the engine started and is much quieter than I expected. I think it's quieter than the engine in the boat.

I want to swap over the magneto to the other engine and I'll use a coil ignition for the rusty engine which I'll repaint and generally tart it up as a display engine. Of course one flywheel pulled off without any problem but the other seems to be very firmly stuck on the taper. I mangled my extractor so it's off to a garage for a bit of help. A bit of heat might help but one really needs more than the puny blow lamp I have. it's giving me something to potter with over the winter.


I'm trying to keep the chassis register up to date. A few older cars are appearing from under dust sheets in garages. The new owners have in some cases contacted me and I've added them to the register. If you know of the current owners of cars that aren't on the register then please contact me.


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