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Overview

In December 1912 J.F. Buckingham’s cyclecar was originally called the Chota (Hindustani for small). It had a 6/8hp 746cc single-cylinder ohv engine of Buckingham’s own design and manufacture, unusual at a time when most cyclecars used proprietary engines from firms like J.A.P. or Precision. Final drive was by belt. An extraordinary low-slung single seater with tapered wooden prow and the same engine was announced in May 1913; it was said to have been built for attacking Brooklands records, but was also offered for sale. During 1913 Buckingham added a 1492cc V-twin with slightly staggered cylinders, and in September he changed the Chota’s name to his own. By early 1914, 15 cars a week were being made at the Spon Street factory. Engines were also supplied to other cyclecar manufacturers, including Duo and H.C.E.

During World War I Buckingham achieved fame as the inventor of the incendiary bullet for anti-Zeppelin work. In 1920 he brought out his postwar cyclecar, with the prewar 2-cylinder engine, 2 speed gearbox and belt drive. The 2-seater body was by Charlesworth. Very few were made until the Alvis company started manufacture in their Holyhead Road factory. Transmission was now by conventional Moss 3-speed gearbox and shaft drive. However, like all cyclecars, the Buckingham suffered badly from the introduction of the Austin Seven, and Alvis discontinued it in 1923. Probably no more than 30 were made by Alvis.

Models produced by Chota

1912-1913

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