Of all the cycle-cars, this Humber Humberette looked the most like a conventional car and was also technically advanced.
This car had a tubular chassis and conventional driveshaft instead of the generally less reliable chain or belt drive. The Humberette was equipped with a 1.3-litre air-cooled, twin-cylinder JAP engine. It was available only as an open two-seater. A water-cooled model was introduced a year after its launch.
The name ‘Humberette’ – a contraction of the English brand name Humber and the French word for small sports car: ‘voiturette’ – was first given to one of the smaller Humber models in 1903. However, the original Humberette was not a success because it was greatly underpowered and the predominantly well-to-do buyers were not interested in small cars.
The Humberette was given a second chance around 1912 when the market was ready for it. Advertisements promoted the car as appealing to women, partly because the engine was easy to crank up.