Collection Item

Harper Runabout

The Harper Runabout was manufactured by aircraft company A V Roe Ltd.

The Harper Runabout was designed by R. O. Harper, formerly a works manager for the small car manufacturer Newton & Bennett. The production of the Harper by A. V. Roe Ltd. is an excellent example of the way in which aircraft companies had to diversify their production at the end of the First World War when the demand for aircraft dropped overnight. The vehicle’s body is constructed of plywood strengthened by substantial metal casings. Its initial retail price was set at £100.

In order to prove the Runabout’s strengths Harper entered two of his vehicles in the gruelling Scottish 6-day trial in 1922, although neither car was able to officially complete the event, they impressed many with their performance on steep gradients and in poor weather conditions. There is only one record of a Harper Runabout appearing at Brooklands, following the 1924 JCC Endurance Trial an informal handicap race was hastily organised whilst the competitors awaited the results. The start line featured a Harper Runabout amongst Austin Sevens, a Grand Prix Mercedes and Brocklebank’s famous Peugeot. Although the Harper could never hope to be competitive it was clocked as high as 42.5 mph on the circuit.

Collection Data

Date Built




  • Engine: 269cc
  • Top Speed: 42.5 mph
  • Manufacturer: A V Roe Ltd.
  • Model: Harper Runabout

Races & Record

1922, Scottish 6-day trial