Friday, September 29, 2017

Looking inside Pashley's Royal Enfield three wheelers

The Pashley-Enfield three wheeler was a Royal Enfield with a massive trunk.
Royal Enfield enthusiast Chris Overton was looking for information to help a fellow member of the Interceptor Yahoo Group recently when he stumbled across something "amazing" on the website of Baxter Cycle in Marne, Iowa.

The something amazing was a June, 1959 parts manual for Pashley-Enfield three-wheelers.

Pashley, of Birmingham, England, built three-wheeled work vehicles based on Royal Enfield motorcycles. Some of these were briefly imported into the United States, and sold by Indian dealers as the Indian "Patrol Car."

They were useful for police departments, meter maids and service stations that could tow them behind a customer's car when returning the car to its owner.

A Royal Enfield 350cc single provided the power but the intriguing detail is the Albion transmission, modified to provide three forward and a reverse gear via a tank shift.

Neutral came between reverse and the forward gears, for safety.

The parts book includes a diagram showing how the transmission went together but I sure can't figure it out. A 14-tooth final drive sprocket is specified. This three-wheeler was not going to set any speed records.

Pashley controls; note car-style locking hand brake on right.
The clutch and front brake levers remain on the handlebars but the accelerator is a floor pedal instead of a twist grip.

In addition to the left-side foot brake pedal there's a car type locking hand brake for the rear wheels — handy to keep the thing from rolling away.

The floor boards are really wide and substantial looking so as to cover the area enclosed by the chassis rails.

The parts book shows a cushy looking coil spring suspension but there's mention of a version with leaf springs that probably was much less sophisticated.

Altogether the Pashley is a fascinating variation on the Royal Enfield motorcycle of the day. But it's interesting, too, to wonder about the economic argument for such a specialized vehicle.

Imagine a service station today that is willing to pick up your car at home, service it and then return it.

And what was the thinking that put service personnel (including chauffeurs in town cars) out exposed to the weather?

I'll muse about that next time I'm out pumping my own gas.

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