McCandless Mule Car

Location: Ulster Transport Museum / Rail & Road Galleries / Car Gallery

Where can you see this car on display?

In the ‘Driven’ Exhibition in the Dalchoolin Galleries at the Ulster Transport Museum, Cultra.

Which collection is this car part of?

Road Transport.

Why is this car so important?

The McCandless Mule was a ‘Go Anywhere’ concept vehicle from the early 1950s. It was designed by local inventor Rex McCandless, who is probably best remembered for designing the “featherbed” Norton motorcycle frame.

The four-wheel-drive Mule combined light weight with low cost construction and ease of maintenance.

The rear-mounted Norton twin cylinder motorcycle engine drives all four wheels through a four speed gearbox and chain transmission. Even the diamond pattern seating arrangement is unusual with the driver occupying a central position, permitting balanced loading whether fully or partly occupied. It was designed to carry four soldiers and their equipment. Due to its low weight of 800lbs (363kg), in the unlikely event of it becoming bogged down, it could be man-handled out of trouble.

Only two vehicles were built.

What should you look out for when you see this car?

Look out for the central spine chassis that runs up the middle of the floor. This houses the chains that take the power to the wheels.