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SNAPSHOT 96: 1920 15·7hp Glover

It’s the year 1920, and here’s a brilliant motor industry business opportunity. In the UK, post-war inflation and great demand has resulted in sky-high prices for new and even used cars. But materials are in short supply and protracted strikes are hindering production. Imported cars, but not chassis or components, suffer a 33% tax penalty. Almost all US makes have wide bore, short stroke engines, and so are clobbered for annual road tax under UK regulations.

America has a vast range of firms specialising in proprietary components for the motor industry. Made in great numbers, engines and gearboxes, axles and wheel are tried and tested, readily available and cheap. If we seek out parts from these suppliers and assemble a car that incorporates all the features of greatest appeal to the British car buyer, success is surely guaranteed. And as many of the lesser American makes already are assembled in this way, it hasn’t been difficult to find one such prepared to do the same to our order, using engines, axles and indeed overall specification that will appeal to UK car buyers.

Our new make of car can be imported as a chassis, then fitted with British coachwork and familiar home-made fittings such as windscreens, electrics, hoods and instruments. So, in 1920, thought the directors of Glovers Motors of Leeds. It seems that Messrs Seneca of Fostoria in the north-west of Ohio were chosen to gather the parts and assemble the chassis for Glovers.

In contrast to most American cars, a low chassis line was achieved by a steeply dropped front axle beam and appreciable kick-up of the frame side-rails over the rear axle. Le Roi of Milwaukee, better known for stationary and tractor power units, provided their 2262cc 4-cylinder side-valve engines, monoblocs with detachable cylinder heads and hefty two-bearing crankshafts, splash-lubricated. Cooling was by thermosiphon and the radiator was another of those that aped Rolls-Royce. The radiator mascot was an archer. The 3-speed gearboxes were in unit, sandwiching a single-plate dry clutch, and had a central gate change; wire wheels of the Houk type were fitted, and another ‘quality’ feature to appeal to the British purchaser was the cantilever rear suspension.

A choice of two standard open bodies was offered: a four seater and a two-seater with dickey seat, and it has to be said that the appearance of both styles was most attractive. Prices were even more attractive – chassis at £475, complete cars at £595. So – what could possibly go wrong?

The 15·7hp Glover never achieved inclusion in reference works such as Fletcher’s Motor Car Index. The make disappeared in less than 12 months, not one is thought to survive. But the handsome, sporty two-seater Glover registered U7391 pictured in The Autocar‘s descriptive article of October 30 1920 (pages 779-780) would surely be a rewarding vehicle to own today. Your contributor is unable to offer a solution. Below each ‘Snapshot’ is the facility for the knowledgeable to add comments, and he lives in hope…..

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