Phoenix (British automobile company)

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Not to be confused with Phoenix Venture Holdings.

Phoenix was an English manufacturer of automobiles, motorcycles and tricars (motor tricycles) active from 1903-1926. It was founded by a Belgian, Joseph van Hooydonk, at his factory in Holloway Road, North London, and named after the Phoenix Cycle Club.

The company moved from its London base to Letchworth, Hertfordshire, in 1911, but failed to survive the 1920s going into liquidation in 1924 but assembling a few more cars in the following two years.[1]

The Letchworth factory went on to be used for car manufacture by Ascot and Arab.


Phoenix Trimo

The first product was a motor tricycle called the Trimo with an engine imported from the Belgian Minerva company. This was followed in 1905 by a single seat four wheeler the Quadcar with 6/7hp twin cylinder Fafnir engine.

Phoenix 8/10 of 1912

A proper four wheel car was introduced in 1908 as the 8/10 with 8hp engine and chain drive to a three speed transmission with further chain to the rear axle.

After the move to Letchworth a larger 11.9hp model with 1496 cc 4 cylinder engine, three speed transmission and worm final drive. It had the radiator behind the engine, Approximately seven cars a week were being made by a workforce of 150 at the outbreak of World War I.[2]

The 11.9 was re-introduced in 1919 still with the scuttle radiator but changing to a more conventional front radiator in 1921. For 1922 the 11.9 was replaced by the 12/25 with Meadows 1795 cc and four speed transmission.

A small number of six cylinder cars were made in 1925.


Model Years Cylinders Capacity Wheelbase[3] Length [3] Production (approx)
Trimo or 6 1904 single 699 cc
Quadcar 1905-1910 two 804 cc 72 in (1,829 mm) 106 in (2,692 mm)
8/10 1908-1913 two 1272 cc 84 in (2,134 mm) 124 in (3,150 mm)
10/12 1910-1911 two 1872 cc 96 in (2,438 mm) 136 in (3,454 mm)
12/5 or 12.9 1912 two 1872 cc 96 in (2,438 mm) 136 in (3,454 mm)
11.9 1913-1922 four 1496 cc 96 in (2,438 mm) or 114 in (2,896 mm) 135 in (3,429 mm) or 169 in (4,293 mm) 600
12/25 1925-1926 four 1795 cc 108 in (2,743 mm) 154 in (3,912 mm) 168
Six or 18/45 1925-1926 six 2692 cc 126 in (3,200 mm) 164 in (4,166 mm) 9

Other Phoenix car companies[edit]

The Phoenix name has been used by several British car makers including:

Phoenix Motor Works in Southport (1902-1904)

Phoenix Carriage Co in Birmingham (1905)

Phoenix Automotive of Moreton-in Marsh, Gloucestershire

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Phoenix at
  2. ^ Georgano, N. (2000). Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile. London: HMSO. ISBN 1-57958-293-1. 
  3. ^ a b Culshaw; Horrobin (1974). Complete Catalogue of British Cars. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-16689-2. 

External links[edit]