USA Company

FLXIBLE – IS THAT SPELLING CORRECT?

In 1912, Hugo H. Young, an American motorcycle dealer from Mansfield, Ohio, developed and produced a prototype sidecar for motorcycles that would tilt with the natural lean of the cycle turning left and right. The invention was a flexible connection between the two units and not a rigid one as then used. The idea was patented and was the forerunner of the knee action in car suspensions.

The word ‘flexible’ being a common usage word could not be Trademarked, so in 1913 the “Flxible Sidecar Company” was formed. By 1914 Young had taken two partners Carl Dudre, and Charles F. Kettering, who was head of G.M. Research and inventor of the electric selfstarter and generator, the two cycle diesel engine, the Cadillac V16 engine and Duco Automotive Lacquer.

During the First World War Flxible’s entire production was utilised to build sidecars for Excelsior motorcycles for use by the Allied Armies. By 1919, the company was recognised as the world’s largest exclusive manufacturer of sidecars. After the War, the price of the Ford “T” model fell below the motorcycle and sidecar, so the Flxible Company decided to enter a new field of manufacturing — Motor Coach building

The first bus, a wooden framed, side loading, open tourer bodied coach, powered by Studebaker was built in 1924. Designs continued to change until 1937 when the first model Clipper was produced. It had a cab over front engine design with a wooden frame and streamlined style. After the Second World War, the Clipper became more streamlined with curved windscreens, sliding side windows, top-mounted air scoop for the new rear engine style, and had integral chassis and body construction with an all steel frame. This was the model used as a prototype for Australian manufacture when exported in 1948.

(information from the Flxible Historic Association.)


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