Friday, March 1, 2024

Barn-find Enfield car clean and running

Enfield car found in a barn in Australia.
Enfield runabout runs, but not much is known about it. 

 More than a century old, an Enfield car found dusty but rust-free in a barn in Australia is now in running condition (see video).  But its exact age (is it a 1909?), model and history remain mysteries. 

It's a snappy looking green two-seater, with full accessories and a powerful (for the time) four-cylinder motor. It normally sports a round, monocle-style windscreen, but that was not mounted for the photos shown here. 

The car is for sale, but the sellers, in Australia, have questions about how much to ask and where to market it. Do you recognize this car? Have advice to offer? Contact information and the video of the car running are at the end of this article. 

Enfield car with driver at wheel.
Two-seater Enfield car has many accessories.

Here's what Chris Dean wrote me about the Enfield car: 

"You will recall my writing to you some time ago regarding an Enfield barn find that we came across many months ago. At that time the car was not running and you encouraged us to get it running. 

"We have had difficulty in finding not only someone who was interested to repair it but also someone who had the ability to repair it and lastly the time to repair it. We finally found a Vintage and Veteran specialist who was keen to assist.

"The problem emerged that a broken gear on the magneto shaft had jammed. Could have been worse.

"A new gear has been machined and fitted and the car is now running and driving as it should.

"All of the brass work has been polished and the car really is looking beautiful. 

Acetylene generator.
Acetylene generator for lights.

"The acetylene generator has also been polished and refitted to the car to power the gas lights. 

"Unfortunately the granule used to go into the generator to mix with water and to make the acetylene is no longer available for 'domestic' use in Australia. If it was, the gas lights would be operating.

"You will see that it is powered by the original Enfield engine, which as you can see has 'Enfield' cast into the block...

"When I last wrote we had not had much luck finding out too much about the history of the car and still haven't really. As you would appreciate many of the people who would have had some knowledge of the car have fallen off the perch.

Word "Enfield" cast into block.
Word "Enfield" cast into engine block.

"We have established however, that it was last sold to a gentleman in Western New South Wales around 1997 -- which is now 27 years ago. He has since deceased. His family say that the car was built in 1908 or 1909 from the information which they have.

"We have conducted a worldwide search spanning many months and nobody can shed any light onto the history of this Enfield nor has another one surfaced -- so this is a rare car."

It sure is. In a previous article I reported the little I was able to learn.

"Enfield" logo on radiator.
Radiator proudly displays the Enfield's cannon and motto.

The Enfield Cycle Co. of Redditch, Britain, distant forerunner of today's Royal Enfield of India, ventured into automobile production not long after it began making motorcycles in the early days of the 20th Century. 

Its cars were substantial and handsome, but timing was poor as competition intensified, and sales suffered.

Ultimately the automobile business was sold to the Birmingham firm Alldays & Onions, which already had its own line of cars. Alldays eventually moved production of Enfield cars to Birmingham, but it continued to use the Enfield name, the Made Like A Gun motto, and the cannon logo.

(They would not be called "Royal Enfields," however, as they sometimes had been under the Enfield Cycle Co.)

Of course production was gradually rationalized, and Enfield cars became up-scale editions of Alldays models. The motor in the Enfield car appears similar to motors used in period Alldays & Onions cars.

Word "Enfield" appears on pedals.
Control pedals let you know this is an Enfield car.

The Australian mystery car is prominently labelled "Enfield," on its motor and even on its foot pedals.  The Enfield logo on its radiator does not include the word "Birmingham," as it eventually would under Alldays.

Possibly this car dates from the very transition of Enfield cars to Alldays & Onions management?

Can you help? Do you own or know of a similar Enfield or its history?

Chris Dean gave his contact email as or phone (61)410630261. Or write Chris Dean at 4 Maid Street, Southport Queensland 4215, Australia.

Front view of Enfield car.
Oval shape of grille may be a clue to date; to me it looks like the style Enfield cars used in 1909.


  1. Some similarities with this.

    1. Thank you for find this, Jorge. This car may have had an influence on the barn-find car but I think it is too early to have been an exact example. The same photo appears in Peter Miller's book "Royal Enfield The Early History," where it is described as a surprise entry in the 1904 Hereford Reliability Trial. Although sleek looking, "Following its poor performance in the trial the car was never marketed," Peter writes.


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