What happened to the Roamer?

An email from Stephen De’Ath, recalling a sensational sidecar outfit built by two of his now-deceased uncles in the 1950s, gets us delving into the Mortons Archive…

The outfit was owned by Stephen De’Ath’s late uncle Ron, but was sold on after he married.

Do any mature Old Bike Mart readers in North Essex remember a Rover flat-twin car engine-powered sidecar outfit called the Roamer that was built by brothers Leonard and Ronald De’Ath in the early 1950s?

After Stephen De’Ath posed the question about the machine his uncles built, we found two features about the amazing outfit in our archive, the first appearing in the June 10, 1954 issue of Motor Cycling, and the second in The Motor Cycle of April 21, 1955.


The huge combo was built in the garage of Len and Ron’s house at Stanway, near Colchester, and utilised a 1924 998cc Rover flat-twin car engine obtained from a local breaker’s yard. This lump was housed in an OEC hub-centre-steering frame with spring-loaded forward link suspension.

All three hubs housed hydraulically-operated, car-type brakes, and the interchangeable wheels were from an Austin A40 van. Engine transmission was by shaft to the home-made crown wheel and pinion assembly, with a reduction box on the back of the original gearbox to offset the drive, all thought out by Len.

Read more in February’s issue of OBM – out now!

Enjoy more Old Bike Mart reading in the monthly paper. Click here to subscribe.