Briggs & Stratton Flyer
There is no car more basic than this Briggs & Stratton Flyer. The fifth wheel at the rear was driven directly by the engine.
When starting the car it had to be lifted slightly off the ground by means of a lever so that it could turn freely. It then had to be lowered slowly so that the car could be driven away.
The wooden chassis, made up of six flexible ash spars, provided the suspension. The rear mudguards had fitted brake pads. The car offered no protection from the elements, but the all-round view was excellent. A proud owner once said: “You can even see a snail when you drive over it.”
The Briggs & Stratton was an improvement on the 1919 ‘motor wheel’ concept by A.O. Smith & Co, who had produced a similar car. The Flyer had a 200 cc, 2 hp engine and could reach a speed of approximately 35 km/h. It is one of the cheapest cars of all time; in 1920 it cost 125 dollars. The manufacturing rights were sold in 1924.
Briggs & Stratton still exists today and produces motors for lawnmowers and other domestic appliances.