Saturday, February 6, 2016

Neil and the Bean

In the first half of the 20th century Neil Phelan's father, Roy, operated a general store in the small town of Mitiamo north of Bendigo in Victoria. Their home was right next door. (I've written about the store, Mitiamo and the family a number of times in this blog and the links are in the tags on the right.) The store had been previously operated by Neil's grandparents, Charles and Euphemia Sims who lived nearby.

Quite a few family snaps were taken in the backyard of the Phelan home and the store and it's interesting to see what is in the background of the photos. In this case I'm looking at a particular car. Neil was photographed in their car, a Bean, in about 1925. He's wearing a pair of sunglasses that must have belonged to uncle Chas Sims I think - he was a bit of a lad. The Bean was owned by his grandfather Sims who bought it new.

Young Neil Phelan in his family's Bean car, c1925.
The Bean and Neil Phelan c1925
The Bean vehicles were manufactured in England. This one could be either the model 11.9 four-seater that started rolling off the production line in 1922 or a Fourteen Tourer, that was produced in 1924. I'm thinking it's the latter but I'm happy to be told one way or the other.
Company catalogue
From the 1919 Bean catalogue.
Neil Phelan, backyard of the Phelan home in Mitiamo c1925.
The Bean car is in the background.
A restored Bean 11.9, England.
A restored Bean Fourteen Tourer, England
This post has been in response to the Sepia Saturday theme photo for this week, a film crew on an Australian beach. I've chose to match the element of people wearing sunglasses.


  1. Sunglasses have always looked smart, but now, more than ever, they are not only smart-looking, but necessary for the health of our eyes when we're out in the sun. I like the cars, by the way.

  2. I wonder why they named a car the Bean? Neil looks like a mischievous little fellow.

  3. I've never heard of a "Bean" - it's an attractive car. But I would love to have a car with a horn (klaxon ?) like that. The car, and the horn, must have made quite an impression in Mitiamo in 1925.

  4. I love the tangent of the Bean vehicle and sunglasses. I'd never heard of the Bean, and it looks like a great car!

  5. Another great post! I have a photo of my grandparents with a Bean. However, I had never heard of the Bean until now. It is great that you have been able to find the technical specifications and price!

  6. What a great name for a car - so friendly! Neil and the Bean is a great title and it’s a charming shot of the two of them.

  7. Young Neil surely was wearing someone else's sunglasses. He looks adorable. My grandfather's old Buick looked like a jellybean, and that's how we used to refer to it.

  8. A frame made of "thoroughly seasoned hardwood" is interesting when we think of modern cars all steel and aluminum. The Bean looks like it had many adventures and little Neil looks right at home in the driver's seat with his sunglasses.

  9. Wonderful photos and perfect for the theme of sunglasses! It's fun to read about when vintage cars were once new and became an important addition to a family's life. The last photo of Neil is a real winner!

  10. I wonder what ever happened to the Bean. Can you imagine someone naming a car that in today's market. I guess it's not too different from a Bug!

  11. I'm telling you he was star material! Could have played opposite Shirley Temple.


I love to read your comments. Thankyou for your interest.



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