This roadworthy sofa on wheels from 1899 weighed just 350 kilos

This two-seater Mors carriage from 1899 was manufactured by Societe d’Electricite et d’ Automobiles Mors, of Grenelle, France. The company’s four-seater carriages were quite popular in England but this baby had little in common with them. Its 4 hp two-cylinder boxer engine was placed transversely in the front while the bigger Mors cars had theirs at the back.

Although each cylinder of the engine had radial cooling discs or fins, they were also water-cooled with a radiator placed in the front. The functioning of the radiator is rather quaintly explained in a contemporary journal: “The heated water, ere it returns to the storage tank, is made to pass through a series of ribbed condensing tubes arranged in the fore part of the carriage.”

The car had three forward gears and one reverse, and while the bigger Mors cars used belt drive, in this one it “has been discarded in favour of gear wheels.” A foot pedal actuated a “band-brake on the differential shaft, while a hand lever at the side controlled brakes on the rear wheel hubs.”

Pneumatic tyres on wooden wheels kept the ride soft, and the whole “neatly upholstered” package weighed just 350 kg.

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