Light car

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The term light car is used in Great Britain since the early part of the 20th century for an automobile less than 1.5 litres (or about 90 cubic inches) engine capacity. In modern car classification this term would be roughly equivalent to a subcompact car. There are numerous light car clubs in Britain and Australia.

The current UK Driving Licence has the following definition : Light vehicles and quad bikes, Category B1 , You can drive motor vehicles with 4 wheels up to 400 kg unladen or 550 kg if they’re designed for carrying goods. [1]


A paragraph in the Autocar Handbook, sixth edition (1914) states:

"As a matter of fact no definition of a light car exists beyond the fact that the R.A.C. (Royal Automobile Club) has so far limited the size of engine for light cars in trails (an early form of rallying) to 1400cc".

It goes on to state:

" Nor indeed would it be very easy to devise a definition since there is between the light car and the large car no great gulf fixed, but merely a line of demarcation".

There was a specification for the light car promulgated in 1912 by the ACU. By which engine capacity was limited to 1500cc.

There used to be a magazine published in Great Britain by the Temple Press the publishers of the Autocar, magazine. Originally named The Light Car and Cyclecar, and later The Light Car. It was first published in October 1913; it was on sale every Friday and cost 3 old pennies, but it ceased publication many years ago. This magazine covered topics on the range of cars used by the average motorist. This indicates that the term "Light Car", was in popular use. There are various references to quotes from The Light Car and Cyclecar, on the Internet and in many publications.

Current usage[edit]

The term light car is used in Australia today, as is small car, and medium car, also large and luxury cars.

Japan has a "light car" category of cars for taxation purposes, which relate to very small city cars or kei cars.


  • Ageron - French auto produced between 1910 and 1914
  • Econoom - Dutch auto produced between 1913 and 1915

See also[edit]


External links[edit]