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The Harper, manufactured by A.V. Roe and Co Ltd, first appeared in Manchester (UK) in 1921.  The “Harper Runabout” was designed by R. O. Harper and was made in the A.V. Roe and Co Ltd aircraft factory. The vehicle had a body that was constructed from plywood strengthened by metal castings. The power came from a centrally mounted two-stroke, single cylinder 269cc Villiers engine through a 3-speed gearbox that was controlled by motorcycle  handlebars.  The seats were also very close to a motorcycle style in that there was two in tandem that were motorcycle seats rather than a car type chair.

The Harper Runabout featured  quarter- ellitic leaf springs attached to all 3-wheels and also had a integral body and chassis.  The wheels were also unique for their time in that they were detachable and had disc-type brakes.  Economy of the vehicle was excellent giving  100 mpg at a speed of over 40 mph.   Although they were not officially able to compete, two Harpers took part in the Scottish 6 day trial in 1922 and are said to have impressed many with their performance in poor weather conditions and steep gradients.

Production of the Harper Runabout ceased in 1926 with around 500 vehicles believed to have been made.

The 1921 Harper Runabout.

A 1922 Harper Runabout at the Brooklands Museum (UK). (My thanks to Mike Diprose for sending in this photo.)

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