Barrington Brougham (aka the Baroque Bobbin)


Barrington Industries rose to fame (then later of course, notoriety) when they exploded onto the personal transportation scene with an astonishing range of luxury vehicles. Unique in design, whimsical in nature and of course hopelessly impractical were the by-words for the company.

A classic example is shown here: properly called the Brougham, almost everyone except the most snobbish of owners affectionately termed it “the bobbin” for reasons too obvious to mention. A single 15′ drive tyre was powered by their small “Pinto” range engine housed within the large hub. Steering was achieved by a duo of counterweights suspended on the inside of the wheel, moved remotely by the driver’s joystick-type control. Overall the bobbin was reasonably manoeuvrable, although fierce acceleration or braking would cause the counterweights to swing longitudinally, causing a see-sawing motion, much to the discomfort of the hapless passengers.

Lavish versions were provided with hand-tooled leather upholstery, gold-plated “fetchings, gauds and fallals” (as was stated in the brochure) and a prime rare Antillean Mahogany drive spindle. Purists argued that the slight “flex” in the wood when compared to the cheaper metal spindle gave an improved ride and a smoother driving experience.

It was a matter of pride amongst many senior staff in the armed forces to use their bobbins on tours and inspections. Special armour plating was fitted to the side of the drive wheel and in many cases provided a reassuring level of protection against enemy small-arms fire. Provided of course that the bullets were only coming from the one direction! Barrington’s solution was inspired: later models incorporated an equivalent number of forward and reverse gears, and a simple swivel mechanism for the driver’s seat. Et voila, within a few seconds the right-hand-drive bobbin became left-hand-drive, and the smiling general could retreat to his bunker in safety.

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