The Edith

While it would appear that the micro car of the 50s was a European thing, there was an early attempt to build a micro car in Australia. The December 1956 issue of the Australian magazine Modern Motor contained a road test on a prototype three wheeler, which was about to be marketed as the Edith. It was built by Gray & Harper motor engineers of Melbourne, and was powered by a two stroke single cylinder 197cc Villiers motorcycle engine. This gave a cruising speed of about 30 mph (48 k/hr) with a top speed of about 40 mph (64 k/hr), although the road tester noted “40 mph feels a bit strenuous”

The Edith was constructed of tubular steel, with the skin welded directly to it and in every respect appeared very basic – although it did boast rack and pinion steering. One interesting “feature” was the starter – a folding kick start that protruded from the side of the vehicle just behind the driver. The thought of stalling in heavy traffic would seem a little perilous.

It is not clear how well the Edith sold. Apparently the first batch of eight vehicles were about to be released at a price of 450 pounds ($22,000 in todays money) That appears a lot when a reasonable second hand car could be bought for a similar sum. Overall only about 12 vehicles were made and there is no record of why it was called the Edith.

The remains of one can be seen in the Birdwood Mill National Motor Museum in Adelaide, as can be seen in this Youtube video: