World War One and Later

Car production continued throughout much of the war, although some war work was undertaken, including the machining of shell cases. Briton also became the UK agent for the American Scripps-Booth light car, but the venture failed.

View the 1914 and
1915 models.

This notice was issued by the Company in 1919 to all test drivers. It gives the route over which the cars were tested.

They started from Lower Walsall Street works, went to the top of Tettenhall Rock, through Tettenhall Wood to Compton, up Finchfield Lane, along Broad Lane, and the Penn Road, and back to Lower Walsall Street.

This was a total of 7 miles "which should be performed on 1/2 gallon of petrol".

Courtesy of the late Charles Weight.


In 1917 and 1918 only small commercial vans and ambulances were produced. The models included the following:

5 cwt. 10/12hp. 2 cylinder, 98mm bore x 120 mm stroke, 1,000 r.p.m. Selling price 155 guineas.

7 cwt. 10/12hp. 4 cylinder, 68mm bore x 120 mm stroke, 1,000 r.p.m. Selling price 185 guineas.

15cwt. 10/12hp. 4 cylinder, 80mm bore x 120 mm stroke, 1,000 r.p.m. Selling price 220 guineas.

The company also made a 50cwt commercial vehicle powered by a Dorman engine. Only a five were built.

An advert from 1917.

An advert from 1917.

Briton 14 hp., 4 cylinder, 15 cwt., prototype Red Cross Ambulance.

This photo was taken outside the Briton factory.

Courtesy of the late Charles Weight.

Unfortunately the company found itself in trouble with the government because it had failed to meet all of its contractual obligations. As a result the government demanded financial compensation. This resulted in a call for shares of £50,000.

Production resumed in 1919 with the launch of the 10/12hp. car, powered by a 4 cylinder, 1,375c.c. engine with a 63mm bore and a 110mm stroke. It sold for 420 guineas. A total of 106 were produced in that year along with 549 of the 14/16hp. cars.

The company also raised £50,000 from an issue of shares. In 1920 three new models were designed including a Chapuius Dornier engined sports car, but never went into production.

During the year a total of 170 cars were built at the works; 163 of the 10/12hp. model and 7 of the 10hp. model. By this time the larger car manufacturers such as Austin and Morris had adopted mass production techniques and were selling their cars for as little as £100.

Briton could not compete in this market and was in deep financial trouble.

In December 1920 the Midland Bank took £50,000 of debenture stock, and during 1921 only sixty five 10/12hp. cars were built.


A wartime advert. Courtesy of the late Charles Weight.

In December of that year the bank appointed a receiver; Harold Jeddon, F.C.A., of Muras, Harries, Johnston & Company, chartered accountants.

A month later a liquidator was appointed, the value of the company being assessed at £30,500.

On 15th February, 1922 the buildings and contents were auctioned by Boswell & Tomlins at the Star and Garter Hotel.

The factory was sold to A. J. Stevens & Company (1914) Limited for £7,000.

An advert from 1920. Courtesy of the late Charles Weight.

The front of the sale catalogue.

Briton's chief tester, Mr. J. W. T. Trusselle, in a 1922 11.9hp. four cylinder, standard 2 seater.

Courtesy of the late Charles Weight.

Mr. Trusselle again, this time in a 1922 11.9hp. 2 seater, de luxe, with dual purpose head and side-lights, 3 wheel stud and dowel fittings, bull nosed radiator.

Mr. Trusselle later started a garage in Newhampton Road, Wolverhampton.

Courtesy of the late Charles Weight.

A 1922 four cylinder sports model with dickey and hood. Cut away for exhibition purposes.

Courtesy of the late Charles Weight.

Another employee, Mr. Jack Handley, the company's designer and draughtsman.

He is in his own 1929 15.9hp. Briton, produced at Chillington Fields.

Courtesy of the late Charles Weight.

Another view of Jack Handley's 15.9hp. car and his wife.

Courtesy of the late Charles Weight.


A final view of Jack Handley's 15.9hp. car and his wife.

Courtesy of the late Charles Weight.


Rebirth - by the late Charles G. Weight

It was at this time, in 1922, that my father, Charles A. Weight, took over The Briton Motor Co. and moved the machine shop (all the machines were belt driven from overhead pulleys and shafting driven by D.C. electric motors); some ten to fifteen 2 cylinder cars, now far out of date; and a large quantity of forgings, castings and finished components to his premises at Chillington Fields. A number of the workforce also moved the half mile to Chillington Fields.

 Mr. W. H. Bradford, the last Managing Director of
 the Briton Motor Co. He lived in Pennhouse Avenue.
Courtesy of the late Charles Weight.

Production continued until 1924 but only with the 4 cylinder 10/12hp. and the 14/16hp. models. Several improvements were required to match the competition. As car components became more costly and the company ran out of stocks, car production ceased in 1929, a total of about 600 cars having been made at Chillington Fields.

The Briton Motor Company, under my father, took on machining for other companies, which included Holt 2 and 5 ton Lower Rollers for the London agent, Tractor Traders Ltd., and tractor spare parts for local contractors.

In 1940 The Briton Motor Co. changed its name to Tractor Spares Limited, a company which survived the Second World War, slumps and recessions, became an international player and still exists today.

The Black Country Living Museum's 1914 Briton 10/12 hp. 4-cylinder, Special Car with a streamlined body has recently been restored. Read about the restoration and the people involved.

Into Preservation

As far as is known only 12 Briton cars still exist. They are as follows:




1909 10hp. 2-cylinder unknown
1910 10hp. Little Briton Matlock, Derbyshire
1910 10hp. Little Briton Palmerston, New Zealand
1910 10hp. Little Briton Hobsonville, New Zealand
1910 12hp. Little Briton Skipton, Yorkshire
1911 14hp. 4-cylinder Benalla, Victoria, Australia
1912 14hp. 4-cylinder Benalla, Victoria, Australia
1912 14hp. 4-cylinder Toorak, Victoria, Australia
1912 11.3hp. 4-cylinder Wolverhampton
1913 14/16hp. 4-cylinder Booragoon, Western Australia
1913 10hp. 4-cylinder Ash Martock, Somerset
1914 4-cylinder Black Country Living Museum, Dudley

I would like to thank the late Charles Weight, and David Evans of the Star, Starling, Stuart & Briton Register for their help in producing this section..

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