Frankfurt-based Adler were bicycle manufacturers in the nineteenth century, turning later to the production of motorcycles, cars and the typewriters with which the Adler name is most commonly associated today. A highly respected firm in its native Germany, Adler was already manufacturing automobile components for others when it introduced its first motor car a Renault-influenced, De Dion Bouton-powered voiturette in 1900. Within a few years the company was making its own single and twin cylinder engines although by 1910 the Adler range was powered exclusively by four-cylinder units.
The Edwardian Adler was conventional in all major respects although generally featured only a hand-operated throttle which is surprisingly easy to acclimatise to. The Kleinwagen (little car), introduced in 1911, was a successful attempt to bridge the gap between the rather fragile contemporary cyclecars and Adler's own 1.8-litre 12hp model. The Kleinwagen was powered by a four-cylinder, side-valve engine with bore and stroke of 65mm x 98mm, displacing 1,292cc. Spark was by magneto, a Zenith carburettor was adopted and a water pump fitted, while other chassis features included a three-speed gearbox with right-hand gate change, shaft and bevel final drive, transmission foot brake, rear wheel hand-brake and semi-elliptic suspension front and rear. Weight was just 10cwt and contemporary road test figures spoke of 50mph and 38mpg. Certainly when we drove this car on estate roads it demonstrated very lively performance, despite not having been driven for some twenty-five years or so. The British importers were Morgan & Co. of Leighton Buzzard, whose main business was coachbuilding. It is said that the Kleinwagen was generally re-bodied by Morgan for sale in the U.K. as the original German coachwork fell short in the styling department. This car may well be one such car re-bodied by Morgan prior to sale in the U.K.
A supplier's plaque advises that this car was supplied by Chilvers Motor Garage Co. of Lockwood Road, Huddersfield, and the car was first registered in that town. In the 1950s this car was owned by VCC North-Eastern Section member, G.H. Taylor, a former Brooklands driver, and then passed into the ownership of Herman Horsfield of Halifax well known for executing replica Barker barrel-sided coachwork on vintage Rolls-Royce chassis. During the 1950s, 60s and 70s this car was actively rallied, as witnessed by the plethora of rally plaques displayed on the dashboard and within the car. Notably it took part in the VCC Silver Jubilee Event in 1955, the Austin Golden Jubilee Rally that year, the very first VCC Scottish Rally in 1959 and rallied also on the Isle of Man and in the Norwegian Fjords.
The car is equipped with acetylene headlamps with running board generator, oil side lamps and a double twist bulb horn. Fans of the film 'Genevieve' will understand why the car carries a brass plaque identifying itself as 'Larry'. The coachwork is presented in cream livery with red coachlining, has excellent deep-buttoned black leather upholstery and a good practical hood. Additional warning of approach is effected by a period exhaust whistle. Prospective buyers of this car should note the quality of Adler engineering throughout.
CX 1414 is offered with a Swansea V5C registration document, VCC Dating Certificate no.489, noting no major modifications, a number of old MoT certificates and rally numbers from events in the 1970s.
The car was acquired by Jack Tattersall at Bonhams London sale in December 2008, having stood unused for about twenty five years. We were able to start and drive this car on a recent visit on estate roads. It was particularly agile on that occasion although will need all the usual checks and careful recommissioning before active use on the road. This car will, in our opinion, make a most practical and easily manageable car for VCC rallies.