1915 SWIFT 15.9HP TOURER
Registration No. MI 333
Car No. 5986
Engine No. 5625
Brunswick green with crimson wheels and chassis
Engine: four-cylinder 80mm x 130mm bore & stroke, 2,614 cc, vertical bi-bloc, L-head, water-cooled, pressure lubrication, magneto ignition; Gearbox: 4-speed & reverse, cone clutch, shaft-drive to bevel back axle; Suspension: front, semi-elliptic leaf springs, rear, three-quarter elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: rear-wheel and transmission brakes. Sankey wheels. Right hand drive.
The Coventry-built cars that Swift produced belied the name and were durable and staid - with nary an innovation in sight. But this is not negative criticism, for these were the very qualities that the vast majority of the motorcar buying public valued. They neither wanted to be experimented upon nor could they see much merit in excessively powerful, potentially fast cars in a country where a universal 20 mph speed limit applied.
Swift had achieved better than average in results in standard touring car trials where the word reliability generally figured in the event's title. These competitions were not about excessive speed but rewarded cars that performed well in give and take motoring conditions, up and down dale, along the rolling English roads, and over many of the more sinuous Scottish ones as well. As late as 1916 Swift adverts were still drawing attention to a comment in the Daily News of 1908 regarding such events that said: 'The Swift might retire now and give someone else a chance.'
The 15.9 hp Swift, the horsepower designation reflecting its RAC rating, was introduced in 1914 and remained in production until war contracts brought an end to such activity. This car was exported when new to Ireland, being supplied by Bates & Sons, Automobile Engineers, Gorey, a small town in County Wexford about fifty miles south of Dublin, and it carries a Wexford registration. The engine and its ancillaries look to be completely correct, as does the bodywork, although there are quite a number of minor dings and dents evident, particularly in the mudguards. These are of the domed Frankonia style, and period adverts show that they were the standard fitting. There is a 'one man' hood, again as standard, a windscreen, and the button-back upholstery is well preserved. Undoubtedly the car's overall level of presentation can be improved, but it is a very sound touring model from a manufacturer that whilst not noted for building exciting cars is similarly not known to have made a bad one, and that, ultimately, is surely more important.