The first Bean was a resurrection of the pre-World War I Perry car, which had been taken over by A. Harper, Sons & Bean Ltd. Rated at 11.9 RAC horsepower, the 1147-cc 4-cylinder engine was linked to a separate 3-speed gearbox. The car in chassis form initially cost £400, but this was reduced to £245. A four-seat open body was £80. Production was divided between two plants, the one in Dudley producing bodies, and Coseley being responsible for assembly. Production of the model peaked at 80 a week in 1922, with about 10,000 being made in total.
1923 saw the launch of the 14, a much-improved model with a 2.3-litre engine in unit with a four-speed gearbox. About 4000 of all the variants were made up to 1929.
In 1926, following financial problems, the company was rescued by steel supplier Hadfields Limited from Sheffield, and a new model, the 18/50, was introduced with a 2.7-litre six-cylinder Meadows overhead valve engine. However, this car was to only last a year, with 500 being made. In chassis form it cost £365.
From 1927, all cars were known as Hadfield Beans, and the 14 was updated to become the 2300 cc 14/40. This used the Bean engine again.
The last car model was the 14/45 launched in 1928 and a further upgrade of the old 14 by using a Ricardo cylinder head design. It also now had four-wheel brakes and a worm drive rear axle. A sport model, the 14/70, was also available featuring a Dewandre brake servo.
No more cars were made from 1929, but the company continued to produce commercial vehicles for two years, and after that concentrated on making components.
Australian expeditionary Francis Birtles made a number of epic and record breaking journeys in Bean Cars, including being the first person to drive from England to Australia in 1927.
The Tipton factory was also responsible for making Captain George Eyston's world-land-speed-record car Thunderbolt, which took the record in 1937.
As a final flourish they purchased the Reliant car company in the early 1990s.
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