Opperman Motocart at Rushden 08P5010231

A restored 3 wheeled Opperman Motocart at Rushden Transport Cavalcade in 2008

The Opperman Motocart was built by S.E. Opperman of Hertfordshire, England in the 1940s.


The S. E. Opperman Ltd. companies head office, was listed as Stuart Works, Stirling Corner, Boreham Wood, Hertfordshire, in a advert from the time. They were announcing their Opperman Motocart as a satisfactory tool with an economic performance that would tackle all reasonable work it was required to carry out. As a quote from the brochure proudly proclaims:

Materials of the finest quality, much scientific research and high class engineering design have gone into the manufacture of every Opperman Motocart.

Design / specEdit

Opperman Motor cart engine - IMG 0892

Engine and Drive to front wheel mounted on side of front fork

The vehicle had four forward gears and a reverse, and was fitted with a Opperman patented "improved control lever" which enabled the vehicle to be driven whilst the driver was either standing on the platform or walking alongside, making it extremely useful if there was a desire to move it over short distances with frequent stops.

  • The engine was a petrol, single cylinder, four stroke, air cooled type, with a petrol tank capacity of 3 gallons (13 litres).
  • The optimum load carrying capacity for the Motocart was 30 cwts (3380 lbs) (about 1 1/2 ton), but this depended entirely on the type and condition of the ground over which the vehicle travelled. For soft, boggy ground the load had to be considerably reduced.
  • Overall dimensions were 13 ft 11" in length and 6 ft 7" in width, with a turning circle of 27 ft 5 ".
  • Cost was not listed but some parts options were. For example, a chassis similar to the one drawn on the front cover of the brochure would cost approximately £105 to assemble, and a complete gear box assembly would set you back £74-7-6.


The engine was built by Douglas, and was a Douglas SV63 a 630 cc unit of 6 1/2 hp. The engine used had non-standard lower cowling and triple vee belt pulley to allow the engine to fit tightly to the front driving wheel whilst maintaining the correct volume of air to pass over the cylinder cooling fins. This also meant that the engine had to be started on the “wrong” side from standard.[2]

Body stylesEdit

Opperman Motocart brochure - IMG 3177 edited

American distributors Brochure / spec sheet

A advert (right) by the American importer list a selection of body options;

  • Model FB - Fixed body with removable sides
  • Model GD - Gravity Tipping with rear dropping to the floor.
  • Model HD - Hydraulic with Manual (hand) or Engine operated pump. Removable sides. (A manual screw tipping option also offered)
  • Model RD - Hydraulic tipping refuse collection body (enclosed)
  • Model LL - Low loader body (bed slung between the wheels)


The Motocart was a petrol driven post-war vehicle, ideally suited for use in Parks & Estate maintenance when fitted with the body as shoen in the photo above. Similar trucks had been built for a few years by several firms, including home-based manufacturers such is the firm of W. Goodyear & Sons Ltd. of Dudley, manufacturer of trucks and trolleys of all kinds.

The advert below, taken from E. Blocksidge's 1925 Dudley Almanack, provides illustrations of many examples, including the delightfully-named "Greenbat" electric truck.


Opperman Motocart sn ? - reg 422 UXK at Belvoir 09 - IMG 9364

A restored Motocart with load at Belvoir Castle Steam Festival 2009

A few examples exist in the UK. (see photo above and right)

One appeared at the 12th annual National Heritage Engine Rally held at the Stuart Reserve in Australia in April 2009.[3] The National rally is organised by the National Historic Machinery association of Australia, and is held in a different state each year, in conjunction with local preservation organisations.
List of known survivors

List of Preserved Opperman Motorcarts
view  talk  edit

Make + Model No. Reg No.
(if known)
Serial No. Build-Date Engine-Type/Make Owner
(if known)
Photo Were seen/Featured in Other info
Opperman Motorcart 422 UXK  ?  ?  ? Owner ? Opperman Motocart sn ? - reg 422 UXK at Belvoir 09 - IMG 9364 At Belvoir Castle Steam Festival A regular on the show circuit
Opperman Motorcart - 6S/5278  ?  ? IL'SON CRUSHERS Opperman Motorcart - sn 6S-5278 at Wollaton park 2011 - IMG 0891 At Wollaton Park Rally Part of the Road building crews kit
Opperman Motorcart GCG 692  ?  ?  ? Owner ? Image needed LHB

At 'add event here'
add your vehicle here reg no sn year engine type/make owner ? Image needed LHB

seen at body ?
Image needed LHB

Please add any tractor with known reg or serial no. with Photo if possible.
Create a page (link) for an individual tractor by linking the reg or serial number using reg number or serial number in the relevant column. Then once saved click the red link to start the new page and add info on that tractor.

See alsoEdit

Collecting related

References / sources Edit

  1. Blackcountry Bugle article
  2. Article on Douglas engines in Opperman Motocarts
  3. Murray Bridge new (Australia)

External linksEdit

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