James Anderson

James Anderson (1901 - 1987)

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James Anderson -  Engineer  -  1901 - 1987

James Anderson was the eldest son of Robert Anderson who founded  the  Newton Mearns garage in 1902.

James was a brilliant engineer and designed and adapted cars which were well ahead of their time. He is pictured here with his “Stirling Moss” Sunbeam Alpine in the little “Anderson Museum” in his garage at his home.

The car was sold to a collector for £5,000.

ja2In the 1920s and 30s James designed four experimental cars which were built in the garage workshop. These cars became known as the “Anderson Specials”. James became well known and respected and drove his cars in many competitive car rallies and hill climbs between the wars.

The last of these cars, “The Bug”, built in 1938 was capable of achieving 85 mph and 42 mpg. It incorporated four wheel drive, an under floor  flat eight cylinder engine, interconnected hydraulic suspension, inboard brakes and dry sump lubrication.  

These inventions were not introduced by car manufacturers generally until the 1960s. The Sports Car Magazine 1963 reported that  “The Bug was one of the most formidable trial cars ever seen in action.”   

“The Bug” is now on display in Kelvingrove Museum. Sadly the others were dismantled.

James Anderson’s inventive mind turned to munition production at the onset of the second world war. Under his leadership the garage workshop with its largely female, inexperienced  work force  developed an  unrivalled productivity which culminated in his being awarded the MBE.


Largely as a result of the experience gained from the need to improvise when working in munition production during the war, James Anderson invented the Vertimax lathe, the manufacturing rights of which he sold to churchill and Co. Ltd. of Birmingham. This machine came to be used world wide.



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