1912 - 1920
The Taunton was named after a man, not a place. John Bernard Taunton designed a cyclecar with 8hp 4-cylinder monobloc engine in 1912, but quickly turned to a more ambitious car, with 2358cc 14.4hp 4-cylinder engine with overhead inlet and side exhaust valves. It had a 3-speed gearbox and underslung worm drive, giving a low appearance. Taunton had good connections, for he secured the bank note maker Sir Evelyn de la Rue as chairman and backer, while shareholders included the Marques of Anglesey, the Earl of Lytton, the Duke of Rutland and his daughter Lady Diana Manners.
The cyclecar and four prototypes with 2- or 4-speed seater bodies were made in a small workshop in Twickenham, but Taunton hoped to have the cars built in the Paisley factory then recently vacated by Arrol-Johnston. This fell through and he looked abroad and settled on the factory near Liege, where the Hermes car had a potential capacity of 1500 cars a year. Only two Tauntons had been made and were on their way to England when the German army invaded Belgium and took over the factory. The car was advertised after the war, but the only postwar Taunton was a 1914 model updated with disc wheels and a more modern body.
Source: Nick Georgano / The Beaulieu Encyclopaedia of the Automobile