Frisky Henry Meadows (Vehicles) Limited
The company Henry Meadows (Vehicles) Limited began in 1957 in Wolverhampton with the production of automobiles . In 1958 it was renamed Frisky Cars Limited , 1961 the move to Sandwich , and in 1963 a renamed Frisky Spares and Services Limited, combined with a move to Queenborough .In 1964 production ceased.
The short-lived Frisky was much more than a mere 'bubble' car, but rather less than an out and out tiny sports car like the Berkeley; in character, in style and in behaviour it was very definitely a minimum-sized sporting car. It had its origins in 1956, announcement in 1957, first production at the beginning of 1958, and there was a spectacular (EIOO,OOO) bankruptcy in 1959. The original Frisky was a gull-winged prototype (with styling by Michelotti) conceived by Captain Raymond Flower, who had considerable business interests in the Middle East, and was to be made by Meadows (the former proprietary engine builders) in Wolverhampton. The gull-wing car was first revealed in the spring of 1957, but the official announcement of October 1957 showed that the gull-wing idea had been scrapped as being too heavy and impractical for a glass-fibre bodyshell; instead the Frisky was to be offered with a two-door open sports body, or with a hardtop coupe
(which did not, in fact, become available for another year). — little more than nine feet long The Frisky was tiny— and was based on a tubular chassis frame layout in which the twin-cylinder air-cooled Villiers motorcycle
engine and gearbox were behind the seats but ahead of the back axle. There was Dubonnet front suspension, and final drive was by chain. It was minimal sports car Meadows Frisky Sport, with designer Gordon Bedson at wheelthe Frisky Sport cost E484 at a time when motoring in every way including the price the equivalent Berkeley was priced at E500, and when an Austin A35 saloon (for instance) cost E570. The problem was that when the Sprite was announced in 1958 its considerably more, but for considerably more car.
price was E6S7 Henry Meadows looked after final assembly, though their neighbours Guy Motors (commercial vehicle manufacturers) built the bodies at first. The Frisky had a certain cheeky charm, but had very restricted performance, and the markedly crab-tracked chassis (the rear track was only 2ft. 8in.) and lack of differential meant that its behaviour needed learning. In many ways it was a crude little machine (there was no heating of any type, and to engage reverse the engine had to be stopped and then restarted, running in the reverse direction), with problems which the low price could not excuse. In spite of commercial upheavals — Raymond Flower became Chairman and Managing Director of a new company, based on Meadows, even while production was— and a great deal of publicity, the Frisky Sport did not succeed. Frisky beginning
Cars Ltd. went bankrupt in the summer of 1959, owing at least EIOO,OOO. The cars were taken up by revised companies, but they then concentrated on slow three-wheeler mini-cars, which were no more successful than before. The last Frisky of any type was built in 1962.
The first model from 1957 was a small coupe . It had a two-cylinder - built-in motor of Villiers with 324 cc displacement and 15 to 16 PS in the rear, and a rear narrow gauge. Between 1957 and 1958 there was also the model sports with 15 to 18 hp as a coupe and open two-seater. The Sprint from 1958 to 1959 had a three-cylinder engine from Excelsior with 492 cc, 30-34 hp, and was available only as an open two-seater.
Between 1959 and 1961 there was the model Family Three , a tricycle , in which the single wheel was behind. The engine was mounted in mid-engine construction behind the front seats and in front of the rear wheel. Outside the engine were two emergency seats. There are single-cylinder and two-cylinder engines of Excelsior and Villiers Ltd cm³ with 197 and used 244 cc. The model Prince from 1960 was similar, but had larger engines with 324 cc to 328 cc and 11 to 15 hp.
Engine and transmission: Two-cylinders, in-line, and air-cooled, mounted transversely across the car, two-stroke operation, by Villiers. Bore, stroke and capacity 57 x 63.5mm., 324cc. Maximum power 16bhp (net) at 5500rpm.; maximum torque 181b.ft. at 4000rpm. Four-speed manual gearbox in unit with engine. Final drive by chain, to chain sprocket final drive.
Chassis: Mid-engine, rear drive. Separate ladder-style chassis frame, with tubular side and bracing members. Independent front suspension of Dubonnet type' with leading arms and rubber blocks in torsion. Worm type steering. Rear suspension of live axle by coil springs and radius arms. Four-wheel drum brakes.
Bodywork: Separate two-seat body, in open sports or closed two-seater COupe styles, by Michelotti. Bodies built from glass-fibre, with steel reinforcements, initially by Guy Motors, later by Meadows. Length 9ft. 4. Sin.; width 4ft. 7. Sin.; height 4ft. line
Unladen weight 7551b.
Performance: Maximum speed 56mph. 0-50mph 33.1sec. (0-60mph not Possible). Standing 1/4-mile 27.2sec. Typical fuel consumption (two-stroke mixture) 56mpg.
Car manufacturer of Great Britain from 1957 to 1961.