Boyd Carpenter

 

The Relay Grand Prix – 1931

Francis Boyd-Carpenter, born in Cairo in 1903, was first apprenticed to the Locomotive works in
Sheffield and later served a three year premium apprenticeship with Thorneycroft’s in Southampton
Formed in 1926, Boyd-Carpenter and Thompson Limited traded from the former Gordon England
service garage at 47,West End Lane, Kilburn NW6. Francis H. Boyd-Carpenter had been an employee
of Gordon England, another Austin Seven specialist body builder, involved in the production of their
popular Brooklands Sports model and racing his own Austins at the Brooklands circuit. Initially the
company provided servicing, repair and specialist tuning of Austin Sevens but in about 1927 they
started production of their own design of bodywork for the Austin Seven chassis – the Boyd-
Carpenter Specials. The firm was very active in motor racing gaining many successes, their most
famous cars being Mrs Jo-Jo which was a low, streamlined car used for circuit racing and Mr Jo-Jo, a
specially tuned Gordon England Cup model used for long distance record attempts. In 1930 the firm
changed its name to Boyd-Carpenter and Company Limited but continued building cars. It is believed
32 cars were built on the A7 chassis, a few more on Wolseley Hornet and Standard Nine chassis and
one or two special-bodied Morris Eights. Francis was an innovative engineer, patenting a gear lever
conversion for the Austin Seven and, in conjunction with Laystall’s, a disc-web crankshaft. Too big to
fit a Seven crankcase it was in two halves, so simplifying installation.
In about 1937 Francis decided there would be more profit in aviation and after putting his
engineering sister in charge of the BC operation, became a director of another company also based
in Kilburn, LA Rumbold and Co., which produced seats and other components for the aviation
industry. That company was taken over in about 1960 folowing the death of Loiuis Rumbold by the
Bristol Street Group. Francis, who owned a wide variety of cars throughout his life; many Sevens, A
Rhode, Gwynne Eights, Eric-Campbells and ABCs, finally retired from business in aircraft seating to
run a nursery-garden business in Somerset, dying in 1984.
Of the 32 Boyd-Carpenter Specials built, 5 or 6 are thought to still exist today.

Notes compiled on information from Sir Henry Boyd-Carpenter, Gerry Flockhart, Motor Sport magazine and
A7CA archive records. Sincere thanks to Francis’s family for the kind loan of their B-C material and support in
this project .
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