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OneQuestion
10-25-2004, 04:52 PM
My fingers are crossed that someone here can help me. I'm a writer and need to know if there was any British car built in 1920 or early that required a KEY of any kind to start it. I don't know if ignition keys were in use that early, or if there was a need for a key of any other kind to operate a car of that period. Anybody know for sure?

Ed
PS FWIW I used to drive an Austin Healy Sprite (PINK!)

Steve_S
10-25-2004, 05:48 PM
Good question. I know in the 30's they required keys but not sure about the 20's. May I suggest contacting a few vintage clubs as well? The only one I can think of offhand is Vintage MG Club of Southern California (http://www.vintagemg.com/). Also try asking the question in the Pre-War section of the BBS at http://www.mgcars.org.uk Let us know what you find out!

Ken G
10-25-2004, 05:58 PM
My 1925 Rover 16/50 certainly has no ignition key. The only lock is on the tool box (for which I have no key!).

Ken G, 1925 Rover 16/50 (San Francisco)

sammyb
10-25-2004, 06:04 PM
Yes, there were many cars in the 20s that required a key. As for specific off-hand knowledge, my father's 1929 Franklin 130 (an American car) requires an ignition key. I've been in and around a lot of Bentleys and Rolls of the era, and they require keys, although I'll have to look back through pictures to define which years the keys started...I'd guess around 1925ish. Let me look and post some additional info when I find it.

For whom do you write? Are you a fellow collector car writer?

Sam Barer

OneQuestion
10-25-2004, 08:03 PM
hoping that some British car in 1920 required a key of some kind to operate it!

OneQuestion
10-25-2004, 08:04 PM
I'll check into them.

Patton
10-26-2004, 12:24 AM
I'm pretty sure the British built Ford Model T's had keys in the 1920's, thier US counterparts did.

Patton

sammyb
10-26-2004, 03:40 AM
It looks like the turning point was about 1924 or 1925...the "Classics" (Full Classics -- high end sport and luxury cars) all seemed to have keys, with the exception of the race cars.

My guess is that you'll find all Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, Armstrong-Siddleys,Daimlers etc... would have had ignition keys by 1925 at the latest. I can't find any specific pictures without serious digging into my library.

William
10-26-2004, 03:19 PM
Potentially, these cars had keys that only activated the ignition system-at which point you had to press the starter button to turn over the engine (or use the handle out front). In other words, you didn't crank over the engine on the key.

-Wm.

Patton
10-26-2004, 05:12 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Potentially, these cars had keys that only activated the ignition system-at which point you had to press the starter button to turn over the engine (or use the handle out front). In other words, you didn't crank over the engine on the key.

-Wm.

[/ QUOTE ]

My 1957 Healey (and all of the other big Healeys AFAIK) is still that way!

Geo Hahn
10-26-2004, 06:32 PM
[ QUOTE ]
...I'm a playwright. One who's hoping that some British car in 1920 required a key of some kind to operate it!

[/ QUOTE ]

Let me guess -- the play is an English drawing room mystery with a plot device that depends on a key being required to start a car of the period?

Keoke
10-27-2004, 03:41 AM
NO /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/nonono.gifPatton, not BJ8's they start on the Key. Miss the button ,but the Daimler has one. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif-Keoke

OneQuestion
10-27-2004, 10:54 PM
Your comments, suggestions, and knowledge are much appreciated.