Swallow Sidecars was formed by William Lyons, in 1922 as a company to make sidecars for surplus Triumph motorcycles. In 1926 they expanded into a new location that allowed them to become the Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Company. This is the company that would grow to produce Jaguar Automobiles (S.S. Cars Ltd). By 1944 the Swallow Sidecar business was sold, and the parent company focused on producing cars. In the mid 1950’s the Swallow Sidecar company would produce the “Sprite” and “Scooter Box” to compete in the growing small motorcycle and scooter market. It seemed that they we right on track with these two products (along with a full range of motorcycle sidecars) But sometime in the late 1950’s the Swallow sidecar business closed up shop.
One very interesting tidbit is that the Swallow Coachbuilding company would produce a Scooter called the “Swallow Gadabout motor scooter” in the mid 1930’s - 1950.
This small ad appeared in Motor Cycling magazine:
(Ad courtesy of Doug Bingham)
And here are some terrific sidecar brochures that was issued by the Swallow company during the 1920’s and 1930’s:
(They are for Motorcycles, but well worth a look!)
The following article appeared in Motor Cycling September 26, 1957 on Page 666 (article courtesy of Doug Bingham)
Five passenger sidecars bearing the Swallow trade mark are listed for next season. Each is modern yet retains salient and long-established design features which, over the years, have lent distinct character to the range. Of the five a couple, the “Sprite” and “Vulcan II,” are quite new. These cater for two separate and extreme requirements: first, those of the man who needs comfortable transport for a growing family and, secondly, the wants of the scooter and lightweight motorcycle owner.
In this last-mentioned and increasingly big field, the new Swallow “Sprite” is likely to meet with a good reception. It is a single-seater model with a hinged canopy and a half-length door. The hardwood frame is steel panelled with24g material and the squab is designed to hinge forward giving access to a fully enclosed luggage compartment. Wide-area windows of .040-in. “Cobex” permit good visibility and as the dimensions in the specification panel indicate, the “Sprite” is quite suitable for an adult of average stature. This new body, available in a wide range of colour finishes, is carried on the single-tube SC chassis which incorporates an 8-in. diameter sprung wheel suitable for 3.50-in. section tyres.
Simple design in the SC chassis embodies a flange-type coupling with a rubber inset which it is claimed permits a degree of flexing without stress on the main members and also absorbs vibration. Matching up the the flanged joint is an adaptor, suitable for different pick-up points on a wide range of scooters and lightweights.
In the Swallow single-seater range the “Jet 80″ shown in glass-fibre form for the first time at Earls Court last year, commands the attention of all sporting riders. The “Jet 80″ body, which incorporates a fixed screen and a large rear-positioned locker is carried on the “Silk” chassis. During the 1957 season this chassis has been modified for use in conjunction with a 16-in. rim and 3.25-in. section tyre. The wheel, which is carried on a torsion-type rubber-bushed axle member, has a styled glass-fibre wing.
The remainder of the passenger range of sidecars are saloons, starting with the singleseater “Tudor,” a completely weather-proof yet light and airy “chair” with no fewer than five big area “Cobrex” lights and a toughened glass screen. The “Tudor” is a steel-panelled fixed-head model with a full-length door, a roll back canvas hood and large capacity locker with a hinged top.
These features are repeated in the “Comet” model, in in this case, there is accommodation for two medium-stature adults.
Hitherto Swallows have listed the “Viscount” as a full two-seater, but this model has been dropped and a restyled, more elegant model introduced. This is the “Vulcan II.” It is a substantially-built model with a hardwood frame panelled in 22g material. The “Viscount” razoredge nose is superseded and the frontal profile of the “Vulcan II” with the traditional Swallow fluting is altogether more pleasing. In conformity with the remainder of the saloon range “Vulcan II” specification details include a full-length door and hinging front seat squab for the convenience of the passenger getting into or out of the rear compartment. A well proportioned luggage boot with a let-down lid is accessible from the rear of the sidecar. Top protection is by means of a press-button-fastened canvas panel
To keep pace with the commercial potential of the scooter, Swallows introduced a “Scooter Box” last season and this carrier vehicle with inside dimensions of 50-in. by 16-in. by 18-in., is listed in conjunct6ion with the SC chassis.
Applicable only to the “Jet 80,” the current “Silk” chassis described earlier is shortly to be available with sidecar wheel brake equipment. Currently listed the “Pathfinder” and “Velvet” chassis are continued, both being suitable for use with the complete saloon range, or with the Box Carrier, which is a straightforward commercial proposition with a hinged lid capable of carrying up to 300 lb. dead weight.
The address of Swallow Coachbuilding Co. (1935), Ltd. is Albion Road, Birminham, 11.