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Legions of the Lost—Power Pak Mo-ped

by Mark Daniels


Power Pak Mo-ped
Power Pak Mo-ped

Trying to research enough general background for some of our obscure machine articles can often prove difficult enough in itself, so tracking down one of the rare examples really helps with the analysis.  Beyond this, when some of these vehicles become so obscure that they barely even existed in the first place—things can become pretty tricky!  In most cases these are going to be prototype show models that never actually made it into production, and where there are believed to be no known survivors, that rather rules out any prospect of a road test!

That doesn’t mean however, that we can’t produce a feature—it just demands a different type of presentation.

The machines covered in this planned series of articles may presently be assumed to be extinct—but it doesn’t mean some of them couldn’t be brought back.  Unlike biological organisms, a machine can be recreated if the component parts can be identified, and your name needn’t be Baron Von Frankenstein to build a replica!

So with the stage set, what better machine to start with than that perennial puzzle: the Power Pak Mo-ped. Announced to the press in late 1955, the grandiose plans of 1,000 bikes a week mysteriously seemed to evaporate into thin air...

Power-Pak 49cc clip-on cyclemotors were introduced to the motor cycling press in April 1950; price listed for sale at £25, and offered by Sinclair Goddard & Co. Ltd, 162 Queensway, Bayswater, London SW2.

Considering the cyclemotor remained on sale for a decade, apart from the published adverts and literature, it’s quite remarkable that practically nothing is known about the people that actually produced the kits!

1955 Power Pak Mo-ped article
Presentation of the Mo-ped in Motor Cycling on October 27th, 1955

First announcements of the cyclemotor referred to both Power Pak Engineering Co Ltd, and presented Sinclair Goddard as "sole concessionaires" and "distributors", suggesting this arm of the business might have been created for marketing the kit, and possibly wasn’t the actual manufacturer.

Sited just down the road from Whiteleys department store, the 162 Queensway, Bayswater address is now a DIY Tool Store, and the area is mainly given over to retail and housing.

In Sinclair Goddard’s day it’s likely that the ground floor was arranged as a showroom with offices, and probably some workshop facilities for light servicing.  Given this site is little more than a relatively small shop with flats above and behind, it would seem rather unlikely that the premises were used for the actual manufacture of engines, so it appears the cyclemotor kits were being made somewhere other than Sinclair Goddard’s registered address.

When you take one of the units apart there’s no question regarding the nationality of its primary components, British manufactured bearings, Heplex piston, Wipac magneto set, Amal carburettor—it’s clearly of UK origination.

The original direct-drive cyclemotor continued up to 1953, at which point it was re-titled as the ‘Standard’, and was joined by a new ‘Synchromatic’ clutched version priced at £27–6s–0d.

1954 listed a ‘New Standard’, with the price dramatically reduced to £19–19s–0d, while the Synchromatic continued at the same cost.

For the 1955 season the New Standard was marked up to £24–2s–0d, while the Synchromatic again remained at the same price, but presentations in The Motor Cycle and Motor Cycling editions of October 27th suggested an ambitious change was in the wind.

1955 Power Pak Mo-ped article
Announcement of the Mo-ped in
The Motor Cycle on October 27th, 1955

Various press releases described and presented a new Power Pak Mo-ped wearing a motor taxation disc and registration number PAK 162, which seemed a little strange since the PAK series wasn’t even issued at this time.

Completing a search of the Bradford B vehicle files at Wakefield reveals that PAK 162 was allotted to an Austin motorcar at Whittly Hill Garage on 29th April 1958—so this serial appears to have been ‘mocked’ up on the Power Pak Mo-ped model in 1955.

The timing of announcements at the end of October was in preparation for the Earls Court motor cycle show from 12th to 19th November (except Sunday 13th), 10:00am to 9:30pm, 3/- admission, children half price (except on the first Saturday).

The new ‘Power Pak Mo-ped’ exhibited on stand 19 at Earls Court, also seemingly wearing a motor tax disc, displayed London issued registration mark KLR 612, which rather oddly was a serial dating from 1949, so it’s suspected this might have been an earlier Power Pak registration that was ‘attached’ to the machine.  All London registration records are listed as ‘destroyed’, so there’s no prospect of further researching this number by an archive search.

The display machine was equipped with further accessories, a pillion seat mounted on the rear carrier, and footrests bolted to the rear wheel spindle.

A price of £54–17s–0d was given for a Standard Mo-ped, and £64–15s–0d against a De Luxe version, though quite what might be intended to comprise "included fittings" or "further accessories" wasn’t exactly clear.

Described as a "streamlined facia unit", the handlebar nacelle mounted an illuminated 40mph Smiths speedometer, ignition key-switch, and illuminated position switches for controlling the lights and traffic indicators.

The nacelle casing bore a striking similarity to the Power Pak cyclemotor petrol tank, and would appear to have comprised an adaptation of its pressed components.

1955 Power Pak Mo-ped article
Casalini frame in Moto Revue

The Power Pak Mo-ped’s frame ‘carry handle’ is a very typical continental feature and rather gives the game away that the cycle chassis was unlikely to hail from any British manufacture ... it wasn’t!  The frame, assembled complete with the fork set was offered for sale as a proprietary kit by Italian manufacturer Casalini, and presented in a 1952 edition of Moto Revue.

Mystery has long surrounded quite what motor was actually represented by the little dark blob under the Power Pak Mo-ped’s frame?  This murky silhouette didn’t seem to match the established Power Pak cyclemotor, but historically available archive pictures were either vague or obscured, until the relatively recent reproduction of a previously unseen photograph in a foreign publication of a left hand side view of the Power Pak Mo-ped confirmed the revelation of an Itom Tourist cyclemotor engine.

The Itom Tourist cyclemotor kit was listed in the UK from 1953 to 1961 and imported by Itom concessionaires: Adimar, 222 Brixton Road, London SW9—so there’s no obvious connection there.

The Power Pak Mo-ped trafficator set appears to only have indicators at the back, mounted from the rear number plate bracket, either side of the stop/tail lamp unit.  It would seem unlikely for this system to be powered from the engine magneto set, so presumably it operated from some dry cell battery.  Since the lower panniers were featured as ‘detachable’, it would seem unlikely to locate any power supply there, so it is concluded this battery would be housed within the nacelle casing.

Cutting from the ‘Trader’

When the Power Pak Mo-ped was announced in 1955, The Motor Cycle credited Sinclair Goddard of 162 Queensway, Bayswater, London W2, but its rival magazine Motor Cycling reported Power-Pak Engineering Co. Ltd, of Coventry, and further related "production of 1,000 machines a week is envisaged, thanks to the acquisition of a large and modern factory in Coventry".

This Coventry address can be qualified from an earlier announcement in Motor Cycle and Cycle Trader edition 20th August 1955, that dealers should send small repairs (bearings, magneto & carburetter service etc.) to 162 Queensway, and larger jobs to Longford Works, Black Horse Road, Longford, Coventry, so this might seem to be the ‘new premises’ also referred to in pre-Earls Court Show Power Pak Mo-ped advertisements.

No one really knows quite what or who Sinclair Goddard may have been, since this appears as no more than a faceless, shadowy name, connected with nothing but the cyclemotor and associated accessories.  There appear no other references to this company, either before or after the cyclemotor, and no association with any other product.

Just the tiniest clue about who may have been behind Power Pak can be found in Motor Cycle and Cycle Trader edition of 26th November 1955, presenting a picture of "Designer Harold Easton and the new Power Pak Mo-ped", and it’s notable that the young lady pictured with him also appeared in a number of the publicity pictures, wearing the same clothes, so we can probably conclude these shots were all taken on the same day.

You have to further dig back to a Motor Cycling edition of 14th Dec 1950, where an article on Power Pak reports in the text "Mr. H. Easton as Managing Director of the concern which now manufactures this little unit in London".

It seemed that Mr Easton wore a few hats, and was fairly influential around the company...

Cutting from the ‘Trader’
News item in the ‘Trader’ gives the Coventry address

There are also period text entries referring to Bruno Fargion moving from Sinclair Goddard (Power-Pak) to Dunkley as engine designer of their two-speed, four-stroke motor series.  Since the first 46cc Mercury Mercette version of the Dunkley engine also appeared at the very same Earls Court Show as the Power-Pak Mo-ped, it might seem that Mr Fargion had probably gone to Dunkley before 1955.

It would therefore appear unlikely that Bruno Fargion had anything to do with the Power Pak Mo-ped, so presumably his term with Sinclair Goddard must have concerned the Power-Pak cyclemotor engine.  The timings of these movements are such to suggest that Bruno Fargion was probably responsible for the Power-Pak Synchromatic clutch model design, though whether his term went any further back to the original cyclemotor engine design is unclear at this time.

Power Pak Mo-ped pictures variously appeared of what may appear to have been two prototype machines, both displaying tax discs, one wearing registration PAK 162, and a second showing serial KLR 612.  That no pictures ever appeared showing both these bikes together, leads to the question as to whether there actually was any more than just the one model.

Power Pak Mo-ped
Power Pak Mo-ped at Earls Court

We know that the later issued 1958 PAK number was ‘mocked’ up, and unlikely that the earlier issued 1949 KLR serial ever genuinely related to the moped, so one has to wonder if Mr Easton actually registered this prototype at all in 1955?  It’s maybe more than circumstantial that the numbers KLR 612 and PAK 162 carry four common digits ... possibly there was some ‘transposition’ of the adhesive letters and numbers, and there was only ever the single prototype model?

Subsequent to its Earls Court Show debut on 12th November 1955, the Power Pak Mo-ped further appeared in 1956 trade listings, though only posted at a single model price of £56–12s–6d (presumably for the ‘Standard’), but there is no evidence that any production models were ever made or sold.  There were no further references to the Power Pak Mo-ped, though quite why the project failed has never been clear.

There wouldn’t seem to have been any sales cost issue, since the basic Power Pak Mo-ped was competitively priced, with only the Norman Cyclemate and the Mobylette Standard being listed cheaper.  It appears most likely that in attending the Earls Court Show in 1955, Mr Easton noted the increasing selection of newer geared and chain driven mopeds presented by other manufacturers, then probably appreciated limited prospects for his new roller direct-drive ‘Mo-Ped’, and that adding another such machine to the Power Pak cyclemotor range was going to be pretty pointless.

The Power Pak cyclemotors continued in 1956 trade listings, both with their prices increased: the New Standard to £28–7s–10d, and Synchromatic to £33–11s–0d.

Both variations of the cyclemotor continued to appear on trade listings up to and through the 1961 season, but failed to return for 1962.

The Itom Tourist cyclemotor also remained on trade listings up to the end of 1961.


Next: the second feature returns to business as usual, back to road tests … except this contains somewhat unusual content!

Actual motor wheel engines comprise a fairly small and select group of the cyclemotor genus, obviously the Cyclemaster, and BSA Winged Wheel, the Velmo, perhaps the Sinamec, maybe the stillborn TI Power Wheel concept model.  You might even care to count the Honda P50 within this band, but there really don’t seem many ready examples where the hub is part of the motor kit ... but an Italian motor wheel?

Even if we tell you that it’s 28cc, most people are probably still going to be stumped as to what this might be or when it was made?

There would seem no limitation to the distance that IceniCAM might travel to road test three of these Italian motor wheel cyclemotors in After the Gold Rush.

Seriously, to have gone any further—then we’d have to be leaving the planet!


[Text © 2012 M Daniels.  Period documents from IceniCAM Information Service.]


Making Legions of the Lost—Power Pak Mo-ped

Power Pak Mo-Ped anvert

We last produced an article on the Power Pak Mo-Ped over 12 years ago, and to be strictly accurate, on-going research had never really stopped even after that publication way back in December 2000.  The Power Pak Mo-Ped has long remained one of cyclemotoring’s greatest mysteries, and we feel that the Legions of the Lost analysis has probably now resolved more of the unknown elements than any previous presentations, but after over half a century, does this finally lay its wandering spirit to rest, or just raise more questions for future investigation?  Either way, this latest production is certainly a big step forward.

According to the computer record, this latest Power Pak Mo-Ped file was first initiated in 2007, though somehow felt as if it might have been around longer than that?  Five years may seem like a long time to reach actual production, but we’ve presented a lot of other material since then, and we spent a long time sitting on the main Power Pak material while waiting and hoping for some further research breakthrough that never really seemed to come.

In the end, we decided it was time to present the feature anyway, and it came down to fine sifting every known Power Pak reference over the 10-year period the company was trading, to turn up a few tiny details that had never been presented before—the Bayswater shop, further analysis of the Power Pak Mo-Ped, Mr Harold Easton’s position in the company, and address of the mysterious Coventry factory that never seemed to come to fruition.

It was quite remarkable how little was known about Power Pak beyond the established published material.  It just seemed that anyone presenting anything on Power Pak and Sinclair Goddard had taken the easy route and simply referenced the already known basic history, and never really gone to the additional trouble of finding anything new to add.

That’s always the lazy option, but what’s the point when it’s all been done before?

Anyone who follows our features will know that IceniCAM always tries that bit harder, and goes the extra mile to give a little bit more.

With Sinclair Goddard and Power Pak, we think we’ve probably wrung as much out of all the available research that anyone’s likely to get.  By publishing our Power Pak Mo-Ped article, the further hope is that someone else might pick up our challenge and chip in some new information with some fresh new leads.

Analysis and positive identification of the Power Pak Mo-Ped basic components could raise the possibility that someone might now be able to accumulate the components to reproduce a Power Pak Mo-Ped again—how cool would that be to take to show or ride on a run?

You’d think that our Legions of the Lost pilot might not have generated any actual cost to produce, since it didn’t involve any road test or photoshoot, but not so!  Lifting the vehicle file record for PAK 162 from Bradford Archives cost £12, and the feature was kindly sponsored by Les Gobbett of the Leicester Enthusiasts.

We hold more archive research files on other ‘lost’ machines that are expected to appear in further series features from time-to-time in the future, though we can’t yet suggest when another may be completed.  We’ve got to recover from the research stress of the Power Pak Mo-Ped before we even start thinking about the next presentation.


Feedback

For your information, my name is Suzanne Easton and I am the daughter of Harold Easton, who was the inventor of the Power Pak motor.  In fact, in the British Pathé short video of Peter Lee Warner departing in 1953, it is my mother bringing him the jug of water.

My father and Bruno were best friends and I remember the office in Queensway as we lived quite close, in Porchester Terrace.

Regards,
Suzanne Easton


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