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SNAPSHOT 20:  BSA 1922

The original reason for selecting this photograph for the delectation and delight of viewers was because in a way it typifies that instant type of snapshot where capturing an image of people or an object is paramount, and everything else, it could be said, is overlooked. So, we have a motorcar and occupants in a setting that could not have been better chosen if the photographer had been seeking the prize for the ‘most cluttered background’ in some bizarre competition.

Apart from the tree growing out of the bonnet of the car like an over-large mascot, the lady in the driver’s seat has a gatepost decorating her hat, the chauffeur relegated to the dickey seat supports a sign-board, whilst the eye is drawn to the darkness below the bridge as much as to the featured vehicle. In addition there is the jumble of fencing and scrappy vegetation. We have all seen such pictures before, perhaps even taken them ourselves, where something like a telegraph pole appears to emerge from the car’s roof like a giant radio-aerial, or similar incongruities are not noticed until the actual photograph is viewed. This is often a result of haste, but judging by the poise of the people it does not seem to have been the case on this occasion.

However, we can at least identify the car as it has the letters BSA on the front grille. Here is though another example where a vehicle that was produced in respectable numbers between its introduction in 1922 and demise in 1925, with output running at around 1000 per annum, appears to have received only scanty attention in the motoring history books.

Mechanically it is actually quite an interesting machine since beneath the bonnet was an air-cooled 90º V-twin marginally over-square engine of 1075 cc, with push-rod actuated overhead valves and made at the Coventry Hotchkiss factory. There was a double-plate clutch with cork inserts of the type soon to be familiar to Morris car owners, a 3-speed & reverse gearbox, and shaft transmission with worm final drive. There was also electric lighting and a starter. Slightly pricey perhaps at £225, it was though good for more than 50 mph, sound and reliable, and so it is a little odd that the BSA Ten does not seem to be somewhat better known.


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