Developing from a Motor Cycle manufacturer,
the Clyno Engineering Company (1922) Ltd, founded
by Frank Smith, became the surprise success
of British car manufacturing in the 1920s becoming
the country's third largest car manufacturer.
Based in Pelham Street, Wolverhampton, England
they made in excess of 40,000 cars between 1922
The name came from the inclined belt pulleys
developed for industrial use and later applied
to motor cycles. The pulleys had been made by
the Smith brothers in 1909 by the Clyno Engineering
Company based in Thrapston, Northamptonshire,
and in 1910 complete motor cycles were starting
to be made using Stevens engines. Stevens went
into voluntary liquidation in late 1910 and
the Smith brothers agreed to buy their factory
in Pelham Street,Wolverhampton. In 1912 they
expanded into the factory that had been used
to build Humber bicycles. The First World War
brought many orders for a combination machine
with Vickers machine gun. With the growth in
car sales motor cycle production ceased in 1923.
The first car, and mainstay throughout their
existence, the 10.8, designed by AG Booth had
a 1368 cc 4 cylinder side valve Coventry Climax
model F engine fitted a Cox Atmos carburettor
and a 3 speed gearbox. Initially no differential
was fitted but this was soon added. From 1926
four wheel brakes were standardised. It was
renowned for its reliability and economy. About
35000 are thought to have been made including
some sports versions and de luxe Royal models.
A slightly bigger model, the 13 (later 12/28),
but still with the same 8 feet 9 inch wheelbase
was introduced in 1924 using Clyno's own engine
which had a 69 mm bore, 3 mm more than the 10.8
but the same 100 m stroke. About 8000 were made.
A new factory in Bushbury on the northern outskirts
of Wolverhampton was added in 1927 and with
it two new models. The 12/35 had the engine
bored out to 69.5 mm to increase the capacity
to 1593 cc, presumably to cater for heavier
coachwork, although most of these chassis seem
to have carried fabric bodies.
The last car was the small fabric bodied Nine
with a 951 cc engine. The Century (later nicknamed
the Cemetery) version was an attempt at a £100
car but quality was starting to suffer and the
depression of the late 1920s saw a sales slump
with severe competition coming from the Austin
7 and Morris Minor.
In an apparent attempt to move up market a
prototype straight 8 was made but never went
The main distributors had been the Rootes Brothers
who at one time tried to buy the company. But,
from 1928 they decided to concentrate on Hillman
and this hastened the demise of Clyno.
In 1929 Clyno went bankrupt and the assets
were purchased by Birmingham based R H Collier.
- Engine - side-valve V-Twin four-stroke
- Capacity - 744cc
- Carburettor - Amac
- Transmission - all-chain with three-speed
countershaft gearbox and clutch
- Lubrication - semi-automatic
- Top speed - 55mph