Thursday 3 January 2008, by Roy Gasson
35hp Alpine car at the top of Stelvio Pass
After Edge’s decision to withdraw from competition in 1908 Napier’s sales did lose some of the impetus and he and Napier parted ways in 1912 with Edge giving up his sole sales rights which where taken over by Napier’s them selves with the New Company D Napier & Sons Ltd at the existing Edge premises in New Burlington Street London
The factory was producing the same series of cars eventually the 30hp becoming the 35hp, 40hp becoming the 45hp, the 60 becoming the 65hp the 90hp still available for the ultimate motorist. The numbers of 6 cylinder cars were considerably surpassed by the quantity production of 4 cylinder cars as 15hp soon to become the 16-20hp car Other manufacturers had entered the market place with good standard of car and sales became more difficult and lacking the enterprise of Edge, sales were faltering.
At this period Napier’s and other British manufacturers turned to the Colonies and many cars were sold in particular to Australia and to a degree Canada. The models were designated as “ Colonial Models” with higher ground clearance and stronger springing and axles. Many Napier’s have been discovered and restored in Australia where the dry climate preserved cars.
Generally speaking no major technical improvements were made to the existing models other than increasing the bore to give larger capacity and other refinements etc. So stagnation in overall technical developments against the rush at the beginning of the first decade of the 20th Century.
One of the notable achievement was the Alpine Tour Car a 30-35hp in 1913 which Napier’s publicised in an attempt to show that Napier’s could do the same as other makers.
The War came in 1914 and although cars in limited quantities were produced in 1914-5 for military use the factory turned out a considerable number of Ambulances and Trucks mostly based on the 16-20 hp series.
The factory then started development of Aero Engines which only saw usage towards the end of the war.