The End of the Napier Marque
As opposed to the rush of technical developments in the first decade of the 20th Century a stagnation set in during the second. There were fewer major technical improvements made to the existing models other than increasing the bore to give larger capacity.
One of the notable achievements was the Alpine Tour 30-35 HP car built in 1913 which Napiers publicised in an attempt to show that Napiers could do the same as other makes. With the advent of WWI in 1914 cars were produced in limited quantities for military use. Instead the factory produced a considerable number of Ambulances and Trucks mostly based on the 16-20 HP series.
During the War production from the Napier factory turned to the production of aero engines. Dissatisfied with the quality of the engines the Company self-financed the design and development of the Lion engine which only saw use towards the end of the war. However in the Post-War period and the next decades it took over Napiers sales. The last car left the works in 1924 bringing to an end 25 years of vehicle manufacture.
There were attempts in the early 1930’s to revive Napier vehicle production. The Company negotiated with and nearly bought the failing Bentley business only to be ‘gazumped’ by Rolls-Royce. At the same period the Company was approached to produce a mechanical horse which was referred disparigingly by some as the ‘Mountain Goat’. Despite successful trials the Napier Board decided to sell the design to Scammell who went on to produce thousands of these vehicles!