A Letter From Peter Geare

A letter from Peter Geare

Dear Mr Skillen,
I owned one of the 4 cylinder three-wheelers – BJO 599 from May 1938 until Feb 1947 when family and business needs led to its sale and exchange for a 1937 Morris 8.
I remember I paid £65 for the BSA – a 1936 model with just over 17,000 miles on the clock. Over the years that I ran it it provided much pleasure and not a little worry – the latter mainly caused by the primitive method of lubricating the ball and roller main bearings which led to periods of low pressure and fear of a complete loss! Actually this happened only once and was soon cured by cleaning the easily accessible pressure release valve of the trouble -causing spot of grit – we were in the middle of Exmoor at the time!
In 1939 we took part in the ‘Exeter’ and the ‘Land’s End’ M.C.C. trials gaining a Premier in the former and retiring from the latter at Bude; a mysterious fault caused the engine to cut out every time we tackled an observed section and I was finding that the hard surfaced Cornish hills suited the front-.wheel drive much less than the deep mud we found in the Exeter.
Apart from trying the odd hill in West Hants Car Club trials while helping as an observer, this was my total experience of the B.S.A. in trials conditions. I much envied Mr. Cope his extra engine on the rear wheel and I have in my possession a ‘ Motor Cycle’ dated 13.4.39 with a report of the ‘Lands End’ and commenting on his progress.
The hard winters of 1939-40 and 1946-7 provided plenty of experience of driving on snow and ice the main problem being in persuading a three-track vehicle to follow in the two tracks, made by more normal 4 wheeled vehicles. Progress for long periods was more or less sideways as the back wheel would not stay for long on the centre rut, Otherwise it was very easily controlled in such conditions – as present drivers of fwd cars will know, Brakes were an ever present problem – anyway on my car.
The oil seal between the gearbox and final drive allowed oil to flow from the former to the latter – which then leaked oil onto the one front brake ,which was on the drive shafts. This made one drive very carefully and to plan far ahead in order to avoid the need for emergency action. The back brake was little more than a parking brake I remember the ‘Exeter’ trial mentioned above was completed with a badly slipping clutch which limited speed to 50 m.p.h. and provided an exciting race against time to get to the final check without losing points. A repair was made later with bottle corks bought from Boots the Chemists.
Looking back I supoose the car was reasonably reliable and, apart the oil problem mentioned above and the odd blocked carb Jet it never failed to get me home – even if it worried me sometimes. As I said before we had some happy times with it in those days before the war that now seem so happy and settled compared with present times…..
Yours faithfully,
(signed) P.G. Geare

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