1924 Bean 12hp Tourer

The Bean car project was an ambitious attempt by a major engineering company to bring a Ford Model T competitor to the British car buyer. In early days it succeeded, but ultimately would fail as it became unable to produce proven new models.

The first Bean had a 1796cc, four-cylinder, engine with cast iron cylinder head and aluminium crankcase and separate three-speed gearbox, and became known as the ‘12’. Production targets were wildly optimistic and by 1920 only some 2,000 of the ‘12’ had been manufactured, but by 1921 – with an increasingly outdated car and sales below expectations – the company went into receivership.

A year later, and with extra finance, Bean was back in production. In 1923 a larger ‘14’ with 2384cc engine and four-speed gearbox was introduced and a smaller version became the new Bean ‘12’ the following year. The four seater touring body was distinguished by its uniform curved front and rear doors intended to achieve efficient quantity production through rationalisation and so speed up the manufacturing process.

The ‘12’ was to cease production in 1927 with some 3,000 vehicles produced. By then the company had suffered further financial problems and had been purchased by the Sheffield steel company, Hadfields. Car manufacture finally ended in 1929 and a new company Beans Industries returned to making castings. Except… in 1937 the Tipton factory was to make Capt. George Eyston’s ‘Thunderbolt’ world speed record breaking car.

Despite its sad story the Bean is nevertheless a classic part of British motoring history and had it not been for a series of untimely events and ill-run finances, the Bean may well have become the product of one Britain’s major motor manufacturers.

This car is one of only a few Beans to survive and even fewer of the scaled down 12hp (Notice those common front and rear doors). The car is on loan by one of the Collection staff.


Manufacturer: A Harper Sons and Bean, Tipton, Staffs

Model: Bean 12HP Tourer

Engine: 1796cc four-cylinder

Top Speed: 45mph

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