Historic Truck Brands
Bean Cars was a brand of motor vehicles made in England by A Harper Sons & Bean, Ltd.
The company had been a supplier of car parts and in 1911 the company installed drop hammers to increase production and in 1912 the company opened a new forging plant.
In First World War Bean prospered from military contracts to supply shrapnel and shell cases. The company’s factories were expanded in order increase production. By 1916 Bean was making about 21,000 shells a week.
The manufacturing rights for the pre-war Perry car were for sale, so in January 1919 Bean bought them. The company began making cars in 1919.
The first model had a 1.8-litre, four-cylinder engine linked to a three-speed gearbox. It was a revival of the pre-war Perry 11.9, and was rated at 11.9 RAC horsepower.
The car sold well, particularly in Australia. The best known Bean Down Under is ‘Sundowner’: a 1925, 14hp, four-cylinder Bean 14 car driven by Frances Birtles on his epic journeys, including a record breaking Melbourne to Darwin run in 1926 and an Australia to England run in 1927. This Bean is housed in the National Museum Australia in Canberra.
Bean suffered financial difficulties and the steel-maker Hadfields Limited took it over in 1926.
The original truck was based on a Bean car, but in 1927 the company launched a larger model with a commercial chassis and a capacity of 1.5 tons.
The launch of an under-developed new model in 1928 worsened sales, and the company stopped making cars in 1929. Hadfields continued Bean commercial vehicle production as ‘Bean New Era’ models, until June 1931.
Bean returned to being a components supplier. Beans Industries Ltd continued in the general engineering field until it was taken over by British Leyland in 1958.