Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Robert Owen Harper

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October 1923. Models, prices and specifications.

Robert Owen Harper (1884- ) of Newton and Bennett

of Avro Works, Newton Heath, Manchester.

c1884 Born in Birmingham the son of Robert Harper, a Commercial Traveller, and his wife Sara

1908 R. O. Harper was works manager to Newton and Bennett

1911 Living at 14 Woodland Terrace, Higher Broughton, Manchester: Sara Anne Harper (age 67 born Staffs), Widow. With her son Robert Owen Harper (age 27 born Birmingham), Engineer - Motor Car Manufacturer and Dealer. One servant.[1]

1914 Designer of the 12hp Newton car[2]

1923 Designed the Harper light car and supervised its production. Concessionaires were R. H. Castle and Co. Made by A. V. Roe and Co

'The Harper Runabout was designed by Robert Owen Harper of Stretford, Manchester, in 1921. Harper had previously worked for Newton Bennett as a car designer. The Runabout was intended to be a cheap vehicle that cost little to run. It was powered by a 197-cc Villiers motorcycle engine, which allowed the Runabout to cover 90 miles on one gallon of fuel. The Harper was priced at £100. Between 1922 and 1926 about 500 Runabouts were built in the Avro aircraft factory at Newton Heath, Manchester. One of the customers for the Runabout seems to have been the Manchester Police, with at least one of the three-wheelers being used to aid crowd control at a flying event at Hough End Fields in the 1920s.'[3]

See Also


Sources of Information

  • A-Z of Cars of the 1920s by Nick Baldwin. 1994. ISBN 1 870979 53 2