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Overview

1905 - 1915

Legros & Knowles was formed in 1904 by Lucien Legros and Guy Knowles, initially specialising in gear cutting and repairs.  The first two cars they made were called Legros & Knowles, and were exhibited as such at the 1904 Olympia Show.  With 20hp 4-cylinder engines they were clumsy and slow, and earned from those who worked on them the epithet 'The Old Buggerinas'.  Knowles invited his school friend Ivon de Havilland to design a new car to be called the Iris.  The name was taken from Greek mythology, Iris being the speedy messenger of the Gods. 

In 1906 came a 7320cc 6-cylinder Iris; like the fours it had pair-cast cylinders, but in place of the drip feed lubrication it had a gear-driven force feed system.  The six was short lived, probably suffering from the crankshaft vibration which afflicted so many of the early 6-cylinder engines.

Iris Cars Ltd had originally been a sales company for cars made by Legros & Knowles, but in 1908 it collapsed, and a new Iris Cars Ltd. was formed in 1909 to acquire both businesses, It was backed by American-born George Augustus Mower who owned a number of companies.  Iris was allocated a stand at the 1919 Olympia Show, but they never took this up.  One car was completed, assembled from prewar parts, but that was all, despite the make's presence in various Buyers' Guide up to 1925.

Source: Nick Georgano / the Beaulieu Encyclopaedia of the Automobile 

Models produced by Iris

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