BSA a three-wheeled wonder

Bill Howell in his 1933 BSA three-wheeler.

My first car was a 1933 BSA three-wheeler, which I bought from a fellow-serviceman while I was doing my National Service in 1950 at RAF Halton near Aylesbury.

Having no driving licence I decided to learn in this car, using RAF friends to accompany me round the lanes of Buckinghamshire. I soon passed my test in a nearby town, and used the car over the next 18 months of my service for travelling home to Norfolk at weekends and for holidays.

The BSA three-wheeler had a big (1,000cc) V-twin engine under a car-like bonnet, unlike the Morgan which had the engine mounted outside on the front.

It had front-wheel drive with independent suspension, electric starter, reverse gear and a good hood which kept out the rain. It even had a spare wheel beside the bonnet.

It was very draughty inside and perishing cold in the winter as it had no heater.

During my ownership it never had a puncture, never gave me any trouble, even when I drove right up to Loch Lomond in Scotland with my fiancée for a holiday.

It was still in good order when I sold it to another RAF serviceman when I was demobbed. I think he paid me £50.

I had to sell it, as I was going off to university and money would be short.

I still see them occasionally at rallies, but they are a rarity now.

Bill Howell, Mill Lane, Bradwell.

If you’d like to share your own first car story, send your photos and memories to Sadie.Jennings@archant.co.uk.

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