Motor War Car

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Simms' Motor War Car at the Crystal Palace, London, April 1902.
Simms' 1902 Motor War Car.

Simms' Motor War Car was the first armoured car ever built.

It was designed by F.R. Simms and a single prototype was ordered in April 1899[1] It was built by Vickers, Sons & Maxim of Barrow on a special Coventry-built Daimler chassis[1] with a German-built Daimler motor.[1]

Because of difficulties, including a gearbox destroyed by a road accident, that arose during completion the prototype was not finished by Vickers until 1902[1] when the Boer War was over. The vehicle was an improvement over Simms' earlier design known as Motor Scout which was the first armed (but not armoured) vehicle powered by a petrol engine.

The vehicle had Vickers armour 6 mm thick and was powered by a four-cylinder 3.3-litre[1] 16 hp Cannstatt Daimler engine giving it a maximum speed of around 9 miles per hour (14.5 km/h). The armament, consisting of two Maxim guns, was carried in two turrets with 360° traverse. Some sources also mention a single QF 1 pounder pom-pom.[2][3]

Fully equipped it was 28 feet (8.5 m) overall with a beam of 8 feet (2.4 m), a ram at each end, two turrets and two guns and "capable of running on very rough surfaces".[1]

It had a crew of four. Simms' Motor War Car was presented at the Crystal Palace, London, in April 1902.[4]

Another armoured car of the period was the French Charron, Girardot et Voigt 1902, presented at the Salon de l'Automobile et du cycle in Brussels, on 8 March 1902.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Edward John Barrington Douglas-Scott-Montagu Baron Montagu of Beaulieu; Lord Montagu; David Burgess Wise (1995). Daimler Century: The Full History of Britain's Oldest Car Maker. Haynes Publications. ISBN 978-1-85260-494-3. 
  2. ^ Macksey, Kenneth (1980). The Guinness Book of Tank Facts and Feats. Guinness Superlatives Limited. p. 256. ISBN 0-85112-204-3. 
  3. ^ Tucker, Spencer (1999). The European Powers in the First World War. Routledge. p. 816. ISBN 0-8153-3351-X. 
  4. ^ Armoured Fighting Vehicules of the World, Duncan, p.3
  5. ^ Gougaud, Alain (1987). L'aube de la gloire: les autos mitrailleuses et les chars français pendant la Grande Guerre, histoire technique et militaire, arme blindée, cavalerie, chars, Musée des blindés. p. 11. ISBN 978-2-904255-02-1. 


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