1927 Royal Ruby Tricycle Replica

Make: Royal Ruby
Model: Tricycle Replica
Year: 1927
Registration Number: JKH 969
Chassis Number: 720
Engine Number: A06/635
MOT Test Expiry: Exempt
Sold For: £4510
Road Tax Exempt

Lot No: 242

History has it that the first tricycle appeared in Germany in 1680. In July 1789, the Journal de Paris published the difference between a bicycle and a tricycle and in England, the first documented tricycle was in 1818. 1877 saw the arrival of the ‘Coventry Rotary’, one of the earliest rotary chain driven examples that was the brain-child of Mr James Starley; just seven years later, 120 different models of genteel multi-wheeled cycles, produced by around twenty manufacturers, were on offer to the tricycle-mad, middle-classes of Britain. ‘The Long Steam Tricycle’ is generally considered to be the first motorised tricycle that still exists, built by the eponymous George. A. Long in around 1880, although there is evidence of another steam version built for the French army as early as 1769. Probably the most famous was the 1897 De Dion-Bouton, which set the bar high for competitors of the era. The early twentieth century saw a vast array of motorised tricycles appearing from all over the world; Ariel, Brough Superior, Harley-Davidson and Royal Ruby were amongst the British companies offering such models.

Reputedly the only vehicle ever made in Bolton, Lancashire, the Royal Ruby was the brainchild of a young engineer, Maurice Edwards, who came up with the design for a cyclecar in 1927. He approached Albert Horrocks, the owner of MotorMart, who was already assembling motorcycles, having bought the name ‘Royal Ruby’ from the defunct Altringham company.  Horrocks financed the prototype but was not impressed by the financial viability at a time when the Austin 7 was dominating the market. Edwards went away and started his own business building the Tricycle under the name ‘MEB’. Douglas Hawkes and Gwenda Stewart set some 750cc records with an MEB at Montlhery but production was very slight and had ceased by 1933.

This Royal Ruby replica was built at the request of a Bolton’s MP from plans found in the town library and is registered by DVLA as a 'Royal Ruby’. However, it is powered by a (new-when-fitted) Citroen 2CV engine unit driving the rear wheel by belt and chain, and is formed by parts from other vehicles, such as Austin 7 front wheels and suspension, and components from a BSA for its rear suspension and wheel. Built to a high quality and with a new fabricated body, the project was completed in the first few years of the new Millennium and in 2007 it was purchased by the current custodian, who spotted it for sale in Solihull. The ‘Royal Ruby’ has clearly been well cared for and maintained to a high standard for the last nine years, and has proved to be a reliable and interesting exhibit at local events. Attracting attention wherever it travels, the pretty Trike is offered with a V5C registration certificate.

Definitely one for the classic motorist who dares to be different. 

Auction Date: 8 September 2016