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1914 Grant Model M Roadster

Engine Type

It is a single block engine, detachable head, four cylinder, 1500cc engine which is quite gutsy for the very small size of the car. Valves are extraordinarily large, cooling is thermosyphon. Lubrication is all splash fed.

Details of fuel & ignition system

The fuel tank on this little roadster sits under the dash and is gravity fed to a Solex (non original) carburettor. Ignition is via a "Swiss" brand magneto which is the original brand magneto the car left the factory with. Swiss magneto later became Swiss American, and then later again, just American. Throttle is via a small lever on the steering column. Advance retard for the ignition is also from a small lever on the steering column.


The car has two forward speeds, (high and low) and reverse. It has a sliding gears transmission incorporated in a transaxle with the differential. The cone leather faced clutch is in the engine flywheel.

How did you acquire the vehicle?

The car became available after over fifty years of sitting not running in the garage of Llorelle Colley, (the daughter of Hunter Thomas who restored the car) which was only three kilometres from our home. With my mechanic husband, and his well earned reputation of never failing in making cars go again, I figured it would be a great challenge and a wonderful thing to get it back on the road after so many decades silent. The deal was done and we brought the little car home. After three years of repair work we successfully drove it for the first time in January, 2020. We have worked on and repaired every single part of the car except the upholstery and bodywork. I made and fitted a new canvas hood and hood bag and I received a genuine oil box as a gift from the only other Grant Model M Roadster owner in Australia, Alex Selley in W.A. It was the only part missing from the engine and as there are only fifteen of this model car left in the world, I am extremely grateful to Alex for his generosity in gifting me the part.

Brief known history of the vehicle

The car was bought as a pile of rusted parts by Hunter Thomas of Georgetown, NSW, from Tea Gardens, NSW in November 1961 and restored in 1962. It is believed that the car was once used as a race car by mischievous local youths in its early days. In 1974 it was awarded "Popular Choice" at the Hunter District Vintage Car Club Easter Rally and has been exhibited in the Newcastle Show and Newcastle Mattara Car Show in 1964.

What do you like & dislike about your car?

It's cute! This is a fun little town car that is interesting and challenging to drive as it's so different to our other, more standard, veteran cars I am used to driving. It's a real people magnet due to its tiny size and unique look. It climbs hills brilliantly, rarely losing speed, and is a very comfortable ride due to its three spring suspension- two full elliptic at the front and one transverse leaf at the rear. It helps not to be too large as the cabin is tiny. Being great friends with your passenger also helps! There's next to no room for any luggage so this can be a downside. Unfortunately the car was restored with incorrect wheels and tyre size. They are currently too small and so the car sits too squat on the road. With correct tyre and wheel size (28 x 3" beaded edge), the car would motor along at a taller and speedier rate.

Fun facts or any other details you’d like to include?

The Grant Model M Roadster was only built in 1914 with a production run of about 3000 cars. About fifteen survive around the world today, two (and one under restoration) are in Australia. Almost all of them are in museums or not on the road. When the roadster was first produced it had a price tag of $495 which at the time was an intentionally lower price (by $5) than a T-Ford and marketed as a sports car. The original colour scheme of the Grant Model M was an all black body on a "rich red" chassis. Unfortunately, to the Grant Motor Company's dislike, the car developed a reputation of being a cycle car, which it isn't, and so in 1915 the company brought out the Grant Six, a much larger capacity car with a conventional tourer body and the little Grant roadster was discontinued. James Grant from the USA has just produced a book (December 2020) on the surviving Grants of all models around the world.

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