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Weymann

Charles Terres Weymann was a Franco-American pioneer aviator, in the Great War, a test pilot for Nieuport. He stayed in France after the Armistice and in 1921 built his first fabric-covered car body in Paris. Its flexible structure was based on aircraft construction principles. The flexibility of the light ash framework mounted on rubber bushes, bolted together by steel plates instead of timber joints, gave a quieter ride and a more resilient structure. The soft fabric bodies often gave the cars a 'padded-out' look. In 1923 Weymann set up a London office to license coachbuilders in the UK to build Weymann system bodies, licences sold by Rotax. Early licensees included Harrington, Plaxton, Gurney Nutting, Martin Walter and Mann Egerton, among over 120 others worldwide. In 1925 Weymann's Motor Bodies Ltd was set up in Putney, in the old Cunard works, to build Weymann bodies. A H (Bert) Walker came from the Paris works to manage the UK operation, before moving to the USA in 1928 as chief designer. E G Izod was managing director in Britain before he too moved to the USA as MD. In 1928 Weymann's moved from Putney to the old Bl?riot works in Addlestone. The angularity of the Weymann system and the limited number of matt colours on fabric bodies had less public appeal once cellulose paint in a wide range of glossy colours was seen on curvaceous pressed steel bodies. Many owners wanted a steel body to replace a rotting fabric-bodied car, which would often then be recycled with a 'replica' body. The French operation launched a 'semi-rigid' metal panelled body, first seen in 1929 on a Bugatti Royale, but these were expensive and did nothing to save Weymann in France, which collapsed in 1930, followed by the US operation in 1931. The UK branch survived by moving away from car bodies, from 1929 building bus bodywork. In 1932 Charles Weymann resigned from the UK board to pursue other interests. A new firm, Metropolitan Cammell-Weymann Motor Bodies Ltd (MCW) to market bus bodies by both firms. In 1963 Metropolitan Cammell took over Weymann completely. In 1966 the Weymann Addlestone works closed and all products were then named MCW.
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