The Shefflex company was founded in Sheffield, England in 1918, as an off shoot of the Sheffield Simplex Company. They built a small truck based on the Commer 1 1/2-2 ton truck.
The "Sheffield Simplex Company" was contracted by "Commer Commercial Cars" to build trucks during the 1st World War, as Commer were at full capacity, but when the war ended the crontract was terminated, but Simplex contained to market the surplus trucks built in Sheffield as Shefflex. The stock was sold on to a R A Johnstone, a motor dealer who then carried on building them till 1935, and introduced a new heavy model in 1930 as a 6x2 with a 5-ton payload. and a 6-ton Forward control version. Options of Dorman, Meadows and Petter engines being offered.
Sheffield Simplex CarsEdit
Sheffield-Simplex was a British car and motor cycle manufacturer opaerating from 1907 to 1920 based in Sheffield, Yorkshire and Kingston upon Thames, Surrey.
The company received financial backing from the coal magnate Earl Fitzwilliam. The first few cars were called Brotherhoods and were a continuation of the Brotherhood-Crocker cars made in London in which Earl Fitzwilliam had been an investor. Brotherhood sold the London site in 1905 and moved to Peterborough but could not get permission to build a car factory so the Earl suggested a move to Sheffield where he built a new factory in Tinsley.
In 1908 the first cars to bear the Sheffield-Simplex name appeared designed by Percy Richardson ex Daimler and Brotherhood. The LA1 had a six cylinder 6978 cc engine and three speed gearbox. It was joined in 1908 by the LA2 intended for lighter open bodies which did without a conventional gear system, having three crown wheel and pinion sets on the rear axle to give different ratios.
Four smaller cars joined the line up in 1910. The LA3 and long wheelbase LA4 were the babies of the family with a four cylinder engine of 2882 cc, while the LA5 and LA6 had six cylinder 4324 cc power units. These cars lasted only one year and in 1911 were replaced by the LA7 with a six cylinder 4740 cc engine allowing the company to boast that only one other British maker made only six cylinder cars. Sheffield-Simplex considered their only rival to be Rolls-Royce and even opened a London showroom in Conduit Street very close to theirs.
The LA7 was updated to LA7b specification in 1913 and this included electric starting and in 1914 the old LA1 and 2 models were finally dropped.
During World War 1 the company made armoured cars supplied to the Belgian and Russian armies, ABC Wasp and Dragonfly aircraft engines and munitions.
Car production recommenced in 1919 with the LA7b but now called the 30hp but few were sold and it was replaced by a new design, the 50, in 1920. This had a new engine of 7777 cc with each of its six cylinders separately cast. It appeared at the London Motor Show in that year fitted with a two seat body and again in 1921. It is quite probable that it was the only one made.
As well as cars the company built Ner-a Car motor cycles and in 1923 opened a factory in Kingston upon Thames. This unconventional machine was designed by American Carl Neracher and had a very low chassis dropping down between the wheels. Production continued until 1927.
The final years of car production are a mystery and it seems likely that few were made post World War 1 and final production might have been in Kingston. About 1500 cars were made in the company's history.
- A-Z of Cars of the 1920s. Nick Baldwin.1994. Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-53-2
- Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile. editor N. Georgano. HMSO, London. 2000. ISBN 1-57958-293-1
- The World Encyclopedia of Trucks, by Peter J. Davies
NOE:This is the 500th Article created on the Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki