Have you heard of the 1930 Burney Streamline? No? Well, it is almost 90 years old so we guess we can forgive you. It was created by former British naval officer Sir Denniston Burney who built the R100; that was a 3,900 horsepower Rolls-Royce engined airship which flew 15,000 air-miles during WWI and successfully journeyed to Canada and back to Britain. Very impressive — his car must have been pretty good too, right? Hmm, read on...

Sure, it boasted an independent suspension, hydraulic brakes and could accommodate seven passengers and it deserves credit for that. In fact, in some respects it was ahead of its time — but being too far ahead often doesn’t go down well, and the Streamline didn’t... It had a massive engine that sat way past the rear axle which didn’t just make it look like it’d go nose up with the lightest prod of the throttle, but incorporating an aerodynamic design that reduced weight on the tyres as it gained speed meant that it actually did...

With hardly any force on the front and by hanging the heavy 80bhp inline-eight cylinder at the very end meant that it didn’t take much for the front wheels to catch air. It also featured several aircraft design principles including an aluminium frame; was Denniston building a car or another airship?

The intention was to create a roomy, flat and quiet cabin by having the noisy OHC engine housed at the very back but the downside was that the car handled terribly and was dangerous to drive. In fact, the only way you’d have been safe is if the engine was ditched completely — and this isn’t as bizarre as it sounds considering it had a tendency to overheat and catch fire...

It’s easy to laugh at (not least when it resembles a hugely proportioned Beetle but not nearly as cute; it looks like the sort of car which would hunt you in your nightmares!) but we can’t be too hard on it seeing as it was made during the Great Depression — an era, lest we forget — where transportation wasn’t a right, it was a luxury reserved for the privileged.

Alas, Denniston knew he was in trouble with this one and wisely only built 12 out of which 10 burnt to the ground...

 

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