Grose

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The Grose was an English automobile built between 1898 and 1901.

Mr. Joseph G. Grose, who began work as a leather currier in Ambush Street, St. James' End, Northampton. He took an interest in cycle racing and held several national records before becoming a cycle repairer and maker. In 1897 he invented the Grose patent gear case made of leather that covered the cycle's driving mechanism to protect ladies skirts from catching in the chain. This sold in large numbers and was so successful that the Grose Gear Case Company Ltd. was formed in July, 1897 to manufacture it. The case was later used to cover the drive chain of early motor cars.

He was sufficiently successful to be able in 1897 to run the first motor car in the town, a Coventry Motette.[1] Following this he bought six Benz engines and fitted them to his own chassis and sold them as the Grose-Benz. In February, 1900 the Company's name was changed to Grose Ltd and the gearcase business was sold and the factory in Pike Lane, Northampton was adapted to manufacture "Grose" Steel Studded Non-Skid Tyres, which Joseph Grose had invented for his newly built motor cars.

The business continued to expand moving into motorcycle sales and repairs, coachbuilding, commercial vehicle building and operating. A fleet of taxi-cabs was purchased in 1908 and operated from Pike Lane, the first motor taxi-cabs in Northampton. In 1912, Grose Ltd. registered a subsidiary company, Northampton Motor Omnibus Co. Ltd. operating local routes until 1928. Many of their buses had Grose-built bodies.

As well as producing some individual car bodies the company specialised in short production runs of standard designs. The first designs were for a two seat and dickey sports body and were first fitted to the Alvis 12/40 and 12/50 models.[2]

In the 1930s Grose was listed as an approved coachbuilder by several major manufacturers including Rover with the Kingsley drophead coupe and Vauxhall. In 1935 the Riley Motor Company was added with two drophead designs called the Burcote and the Horton. The names were taken from Nortamtonshire villages.

In the late 1920s, Joseph Grose's children entered the business with Will Grose as Managing Director, Frank Grose as Sales Director and Kate as Company Secretary. Joseph died in 1939 and his children continued to run the Company.

The company took a stand at the London Motor show for many years with their final appearance in 1936.[2]

Car body making continued until 1939 and commercial bodies until 1959.[1]

Grose continued in Northampton as car dealers, latterly Vauxhall agents, into the 21st century.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Georgano, N. (2000). Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile. London: HMSO. ISBN 1-57958-293-1. 
  2. ^ a b Nick Walker. A-Z of British Coachbuilders. Bay View Books 1997. ISBN 1-870979-93-1