On 24 July 1931 a 22hp Burney Streamline, registration GP 7802, was lent to the Prince of Wales until his own Burney was delivered. Our Slider image is from an October 1931 French magazine where his own car, with blue bodywork, is shown with the registration RX 7014. The caption states that his car was brought to France during his visit in August of that year.
The car was built by Streamline Cars Ltd and was designed by Sir Dennistoun Burney, famous for designing the R100 airship for Vickers. From 1927, thirteen cars were made at Maidenhead. Each was different, as they were intended as showcases for his patents rather than for serious production.
The cars had independent suspension, hydraulic brakes, a heater and all seating within the wheelbase. They were rear-engined with twin radiators. The first car used an Alvis front-wheel-drive chassis effectively turned back-to-front but adapted so the new front wheels steered. Later cars used Beverley straight 8, Lycoming and Armstrong Siddeley engines.
The streamlined bodywork carried the spare wheel inside one of the rear doors – as can be seen in the left-hand picture. The same space in the opposite door was occupied either by a second spare wheel or a cocktail cabinet.
Each car was priced at around £1,500. The Prince of Wales’s car was perhaps the most famous, but another was exhibited at the Detroit Car Show.
A contemporary report was impressed by the lack of mechanical noise from the driver’s seat and an excellent ride, but the rear-mounted engine caused alarming instability in wet or windy weather.
Crossley Motors took out a licence to build the Streamline, producing a further 25 vehicles, of which two survive.
Picture courtesy of the Richard Roberts Archive