Edwin Bird - Aug '08
I had one of these cars in the early 1970s , a dark green
colour. I can confirm every thing that I have read here, especially
about the brakes and the self ejecting exhuast pipe. I would
like to add that the wiper in this model was less than reliable,
and it leaked rather bad. What a little gem! Happy days!
Mike Ayriss - July '08
I am the archivist for the Nobel Register, the Register is
not a club and it does have membership but we do endeavour
to record all known cars and bring together information to
help owners with restoration of these special vehicles.
We have at this time in excess of 70 cars recorded throughout
the world and actively seek your help to record even more.
I would be very pleased to make contact with any former car
owners with information, photographs and stories. I would
be even more pleased if I could make contact with any employees
from the factory.
Mrs H. Laurie - June '08
M y husband owned a Nobel car in 1969, we had many happy years
in it until the kids got to big for the back seat. I have
a lovely photo of the car - black and white, will put it on
internet if anyone interested?
Derth Decker - May '08
Interesting stuff. Anybody who knows what happened to York
Nobel? The manufacturer/license holder?
Keith Wagstaff - Feb '08
I have owned a Nobel 200 "A model" for 14 years
, and ran the Nobel register for about six years.
I started restoring it in the mid nineties, but sadly after
stripping the engine, it was found to be beyond repair, after
five years of fruitless searching for a replacement all the
restored parts were boxed up and stored away.
I hope to restore it in the future and still take great interest
in the Nobel, I am interested in any photographs both old
and new and collect reg and chassis numbers of surviving vehicles.
Vikki Holt - Mar '07
My mother used to own a car like this, when I think back the
sound comes to mind.... Bang..put, put, put...
The 3 stroke engine, loved this little car. Wish I had one
I now live in Canada, just happened across this while looking
for something on the internet.
Thanks for the memory
Ken Watson - Feb '07
Marvellous to see this after all these years!
In 1965 I bought one of these from my cousin for £20-00.
He trailed it from Leicester to Warwick , about twenty miles
,for the price of a gallon of petrol.
It came with a box of bits, and the address of a chap who
had some spares. I needed two pairs of front brake shoes and
a pair of steering king-pin bushes, which he still had. We
tidied out my Dad's garage and pushed the car in, then drained
the fuel and rolled it on its side on some sacks to get at
the underside. There was a quite substantial chassis and a
plywood floor about half an inch thick. We wire brushed and
red oxided what we could reach. The new brake shoes were fitted
and the new king-pin bushes inserted , then laboriously opened
out to the size of the king-pins, using emery cloth wrapped
round a piece of broom stick! She passed the MOT first go,
and the world was her oyster! The foot brake operated only
on the front wheels, by cables. The hand brake had its ratchet
missing, if it ever had one, but we managed to fix it so it
held on. The front suspension was a single leaf spring clamped
to the centre of the chassis, with the front hub steering
units bolted on the outer ends, and telescopic dampers. The
rear suspension was provided by the engine unit mounted on
a horizontal pivot at its front to the chassis frame as a
radius arm, with a telescopic damper.
The two-stroke engine/gearbox unit , according to my cousin,
was the same as that fitted in the Messerschmitt bubble car,
with four forward gears selected by a gearstick with a rod
connecting rearwards to the gearbox. Reverse was obtained
by switching the ignition off, then pushing the ignition lock
barrel in past the normal position, and then turning the key
to restart. The clever bit was that the engine then ran backwards,
because there were two sets of contact breakers! One worked
for forward , the other for reverse. You then had four gears
in reverse, which I can testify was very exciting! Apparently,
to tax these little three wheel cars as a "motorcycle",
which was allowed, there should be no reverse. (Presumably
you were meant to get out and push!)To this end there was
concealed under the dashboard, an isolating switch to prevent
the engine being started in reverse.(What, me,officer?Going
backwards?) Sixty miles per hour was possible, but you had
to be brave or bonkers!the steering was very basic, like a
go-cart, the wheels turning further than the steering wheel
. Just great fun, bought to an end when my job took me abroad.
My Dad sold her for forty pounds, and he saw it once or twice
before it finally vanished from view.
Thanks a lot for giving me this bit of nostalgia
Kevin Downs - Jan'07
I was the proud owner of a couple of Nobels in the 60's. The
first was usually called "the boat". Bought sort
of "new" was a 4 wheeled open top version chassis
no. 8. Been stood around for a few years so needed battery
and some wood wanted replacing. Body was mostley ali - no
fibre glass. Modified it to 3 wheeler and registered it in
1964 - it had 5 miles on the clock! ABH22B. Having only one
seat meant I could learn to drive unaccompanied on my 16th
birthday. Passed my test in it - examiner had to sit on a
cushion. Had to do the reversing bit (including starting the
engine backwards.) As it was a "car" test I acutally
received my car driving licence before I was 17 but was not
valid until my birthday. Wish I had a picture of it. Had no
doors and had to fit hood etc as it was bought without. The
windsreen mounts came loose and had to remove so bought another
for spares a year later for £25, £5 less than
the first but quite poor condition. Also had lots of problems
with exhaust falling off. Didn't help that used to drive down
the road turn the ignition off, and switch on again in reverse
just as the engine was stopping reulting in a huge "bang"
I think the chassis no of the spare was No.80. It had spot
weld rear light mounts instead of self tapping screws.Anyone
got any pictures of the "boat" noble" - was
always being stopped by police who would always "does
Also had a saloon Nobel - luxury not having to dry the seat
or wipe the snow off The saloon reg was YXK283 - had lots
of problems with jumping out of 4th gear
Frank Livesey - Sep '06
As I recall it had a sachs 200cc engine and as many reverse
gears as it had forward gears.
David Sheliga - Aug '06
I restored a Nobel 200 in the erly 1980s in Durrington in
Wiltshire. It was finished in white over red. Registration
354 XMM. The footbrakes operated by cable on the front wheeels
and needed regular adjustment for them to be affective. One
night, despite the gloworm like headlights , I drove it into
Salisbury and when I came back to the car the nephew of York
Nobel was waiting for me, as he had heard about the car but
never seen one. What a coincidence!
I sold the car at the 1986 Bristol Classic car show (an epic
drive of 55 miles) and despite going to numerous car shows
have never seen it since. Where is it now?
Steve Hatcher - May '06
I had the identical car. It was a 191cc motorcycle engine.
On mine the exhaust pipe would drop off and the cabin would
fill with 2 stroke fumes. It had very poor brakes as I found
out to my cost when I hit a Ford Anglia at an intersection.
I pushed the broken wing into the passenger compartment to
get home. When I turned the lights on the one inside the car
worked and blinded me all the way home.
It was quite the car!!!
Ian Baxter - April '06
I used to have one sachs 2 stroke engine with a reverse polarity
ignition switch so you had the same speed backwards,,, good
for faster reverse parking, it was white and blue and I sold
it to a friend for £15.00 when I was 16 years old, wish
I still had it.
Mr M. Plant - April '06
I purchased Nobel 200 model ‘A’ (indicators at
the front) in March 2005, with no registration, chassis or
body numbers and no documentation present. The dealer recalls
buying it from a guy in Wolverhampton and believes he purchased
it locally. I assume it has been partially dismantled at some
time, the engine is a seized, Sachs 175 replacement dated
1954 that is damaged where it mounts the rear axel, one third
of the front left wheel rim is bent with the alloy portion
of the hub nibbled around the edge.
This example has acquired a few eccentricities including
a latch inside the passenger door to secure the lock handle,
an aerodynamic ornament bolted to the bonnet and windscreen
wiper arms expertly folded to shorten their arc. The body
has been repainted orange (the majority of which has now deteriorated)
and there is damage to the rear, a result of a possible impact
with evidence of a previous repair, including a portion of
bumper partially filled with grey filler. I’d be glad
to hear from anyone who may recognize this description so
I can establish periods in this cars life, you can contact
me via email: nobelsurvey- at- hotmail.com or post a reply
Joe Gillespie - April '06
My father and I built a Nobel 200 - exactly like this one.
It came in a hessian bag of nuts and bolts and we put it together
in the back garden. I remember getting stuck in snow one day
and we got out, picked it up and carried it home. Having to
restart the engine to go backwards was a pain, but you could
go backward in fourth and make the claim "my car could
beat your car backwards". My father added a faux grille
(gold expanded mesh) so it was slightly different from others.
Harry McCormick - Feb '06
Hi, My father of same name had a nobel 200( or was it called
a 2000 ?) in the mid 60's. I remember the distinct noise of
the engine and often saw it out of the car more times than
it was in.
My brothers used to have weightlifting competitions to see
who could lift the front of the car the highest. In the summer
we used to bake in it all the glass and fibre glass. At night
it was strange to see the front of the car from inside as
the storage area where the bonnet should be light up when
we met oncoming cars !!!
Oh I would love to get a spin in one of those cars now !!!
Mr R. Cooper - July '05
I still have a York Nobel bubble car which I bought in 1970
to use as a runnerbout to and from work for a grand price
of £25. The original price at the 1959 Motor Show was
£398, and they were also made in kit form. I still have
the original log book and I am the 9th owner.
The engine is a SACHS 200L-AZL-R. I believe they were originally
designed by Fuldamobil a German firm that existed between
1950 - 1960 they licenced a number of constructors and called
the "Bambi" in Chile, the Han Vahaar in India and
the Nobel in Britain whos managing director was Mr Cyril Lord
of carpets fame.
When I bought the car it had been sprayed a bright yellow,
instead of the official livery of Ivory and Blue. Some time
ago my garage was broken into whilst I was working abroad
and the car vandalized. It is now my next project to refurbish
it again. I have found the original paint under the yellow
and my intention is to bring it back to its original livery.
Mr. Chris Woodley - July '05
I also had a Nobel, mine was a three wheeler with a Sachs
engine driving the single rear wheel via a chain. The Sachs
engine was fitted with a 'Dynamotor' which acted as a starter
motor, and then changed to a generator when the engine was
running. This Dynamotor, also had the ability to start the
engine backwards thereby giving you a reverse gear.
To get the engine to start in reverse you had to push the
key in and then turn it. A large relay box in the engine compartment
switched over all the polarities so that the starter would
run backwards,and also the enable the generator to still charge
the battery with the engine running backwards.
The engine had two sets of points, one for forwards running
and the second for backwards running. The 4 speed gearbox
was based on a motorcyle box and the floor mounted gearshift
lever would always return to the central position (just like
a motorcycle gear change). It was normally pushed forward
for 1st then back from central position for 2nd, back again
from central position for 3rd and the same for 4th. There
was a small trigger on the gearshift which enabled you to
go into Neutral between any gear. With the engine able to
run forwards as well as backwards you had effectively 4 forward
and 4 reverse gears.
I really loved this little car, but unfortunately it was
destroyed by a side impact collision when a 'drunk' driver
who was speeding crashed into the drivers side. It was immediately
declared a write-off by the insurers. It was a very reliable
little car, and broke down only once when the chain broke
around midnight on my way home from a dance with 3 passengers,
(it really was a bit unstable with 2 in the back and 2 in
the front). My only regret is that I don't have any pictures
of the little car.
Mr.W. Nettleton - June 05
I bought a S/H Noble for my wife around the same time that
you bought yours. It was a great little vehicle and we had
lots of fun with it after I had stripped it and reconditioned
it. The engine was a Sach 200cc 2 stroke scooter/motor cycle
unit with a paddle gear change lever. Reverse was obtained
by means of a simple electrical switch arrangement (to retime
the engine). The engine would then start, and run, quite happily
in a reverse direction. Note that this gave you four gears
in reverse which could be quite exilerating if you had the
nerve. From your description of the reversing mechanism on
your vehicle, I suspect that your engine was a four stroke
unit. I have no idea who the engine would be made by. I have
a few funny stories about my wifes adventures in the car.
Regards Walt Nettleton.
Roy Fuller - April '05
Very interesting. Can I buy one anywhere nowadays?
I had a Bond Minicar back in the 1960's and nostalgia is getting
the better of me. I know they were all not a patch on today's
modern motor cars, but I think that's half the attraction.
Please get in touch if you have a respectable and usable three
Nick Russell - September '04
Around 1973 a friend and I swapped a set of bicycle gears
for a non roadworthy Nobel that had been sitting on another
friends driveway for months.
We got the thing running - it was a 200cc two stroke - the
engine of which (by my recollection) actually ran backwards
or forwards depending on which direction you wanted to go.
Ours was a three wheeler and was great fun off road - must
have been a death trap on the road.
The brakes were useless, we had to crash it into a hedge
when we wanted to stop. There was also a wiring fault so that
the starter motor was running all the time, so if you stalled
it it immediately burst into life again.
We also had a Norman Nippy moped without an engine which
we used to tow behind the Nobel - just for fun.
Eventually we sold it through the Exchange & Mart and
actually made a profit.
A Stimpson - August '04
I' ve just bought one of these cars on ebay. Needs a little
tidying up but it's a little honey. there's not a lot of 'em
left, I'd welcome any articles and pics for reference.
Hernan Enriquez - July 2004
I remember seeing these cars when I was a teenager in Chile
around 1963. I am thrilled to find them on the web. I live
in the US where nobody I know has ever heard of one.
Ellen Elder - April 04:
Apropos Shorts making motor cars, I was interested to read
recently that Harland & Wolff built aeroplanes at the
Aldergrove aerodrome during the lst world war. One which was
test-flown by the American test pilot C.B. Prodger was at
the time one of the largest ever built. It could carry enough
fuel to keep it going for 15 hours at a stretch and had a
speed of 100 mph. The span of the wings was 126 feet and the
plane was originally intended to take part in the bombing
of Berlin but as it was now December 1918, it was a little
late. It was decided to utilise the plane in connection with
the Indian mail service. The article goes on to say that "One
can easily conceive of the time when the aeroplane will be
a powerful rival to the railway train and the motor car in
the conveyance of passengers.....during the past 18months
and in adapting their great resources to the requirements
of this industry, Messrs Harland & Wolff have proved that
the initiative and enterprise which ha!
ve won worldwide renown for their Queen's Island works can
ensure an equal measure of success when directed into new
channels of activity".
KEITH WAGSTAFF - feb 08
I have owned a nobel 200 "A model" for 14 years
, and ran the Nobel register for about six years.
I started restoring it in the mid nineties , but sadly after
stripping the engine , it was found to be beyond repair ,
after five years of fruitless searching for a replacement
all the restored parts were boxed up and stored away.
i hope to restore it in the future.
i still take great interest in the nobel, and collect reg
and chassis numbers of surviving vehicles and i am interested
in any photographs both old and new.
A Nobel car seen here preserved in the
Ulster Folk and Transport Museum at Cultra