Manufacturing Starts at Acton
Only a handful of British manufacturers existed at the end of the 19th Century however this all changed from 1900 onwards with Napiers proving to be one of the more successful British manufacturers both in quality and quantity.
The progression of improvements to the Napier motor car were enormous in a very short space of time. In 1900 cars could travel at up to a possible average 12 mph but with frequent stops. By 1904 they were capable of covering long distances without stopping and speeds in competitions approaching 100 mph. The level of technical improvements achieved by the motor industry in such a short period has never been equalled since.
In 1903 D Napier & Son was in the happy situation of having demand for cars far exceeding their capacity at the Lambeth Works. Montague Napier purchased a new 4 acre site in Acton Vale in West London.
Having discussed the way forward with Napier, Edge was convinced that a 6-cylinder engine was the way forward. Whilst D Napier & Son was not the first to produce a 6-cylinder engine, it was the first to put one into continuous production at the new Works. The car was first introduced to the public in October 1903 and made available for the 1904 season.
Napier later moved forward with 6-cylinder production soon having a 30hp, 40hp and 60hp model, and later even a 90hp 11 litre car. These cars were purchased by many of the new motorists as well as many dignitaries including as the Prime Minister. The Nizam of Hyderabad purchased 6 cars after a good lunch with Edge and built his “Palace on Wheels” on some of the chassis’. Some of these cars are still in the Nizam’s family possession.
Edge then decided to sell cars in the USA and set up Napier Motor Company of America assembling cars sent over from Acton in a factory near Boston. This was not the most successful of Edge’s ventures however few cars were sold with the Napier of America Logo.