Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 22nd October 2018

The car industry is always changing, with all kinds of manufacturers rising up and disappearing. There’s always been a lot of room for creativity, and one of the earliest manufacturers that tried something different was Streamline Cars Ltd. Founded by Sir Charles Burney in 1927, the company designed motors with aerodynamic appearances. We’re looking into the history of the company.


Charles Burney had made a name for himself as an aerodynamic inventor, developing the R100 and R101 airships. He took his experience and set up Streamline Cars Ltd as a way to produce unique vehicles that had advanced rear engines.

The first car made use of an Alvis front-wheel-drive chassis and featured independent suspension, hydraulic brakes and heater. It served as the inspiration for the company’s most well-known model called the Burney R-100.

The R-100 had a streamlined body that was just under 20 feet. The aerodynamic shape was striking. The underside was covered with sheet metal to accentuate the car’s fluidity.  The R-100 was an important breakthrough for the future of space efficiency. It utilised a seven-seat interior and featured plenty of headroom.

A short lived manufacturer

Every car that was manufactured came out at a price of £1500, with a blue one being purchased by the Prince of Wales in 1930. Public reaction was favourable, with a lack of noise and excellent performance cited as positives.

Between 1929 and 1931 only 12 Streamlines were built. Crossley Motors took out a licence to build the Streamline, generating 25 more vehicles, but very few have survived. The final versions were considered to be unreliable and Streamline Cars closed in 1936.

It’s a shame the company shut down because the vehicles were incredibly advanced for the time. Charles Burney had a forward thinking mentality which enabled him to develop cars that acted as blueprints for future models.

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