Australian Electric Transport Museum
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Adelaide C type No 186
C type car traversing Shell Street, St Kilda on museum line.

Towards the end of World War I, the Municipal Tramways Trust found itself critically short of cars, so it commissioned twenty additional "California Combination" type cars (171-190), similar to the first cars used to open the Adelaide tramway system in 1909. Although simplified from an outdated design, these cars were quite fast as they were fitted with two 50 hp GE 202 motors rather than the 33 hp WH 204 motors fitted to earlier cars. Braking was magnetic track and hand-brake only. Air brakes were never fitted. In the early 1920s, they were sent out without timetables to compete with unlicensed private buses then appearing on the roads, the aim being to get ahead of the competition. Hectic races ensued. The cars became known as "Desert Gold" cars after a very successful New Zealand racehorse of the day. Success was sometimes shortlived on sections of single track, however, if they met a scheduled car travelling in the opposite direction. These cars were used on the Port Adelaide system from 1931 to 1935, but returned to the main system when it closed. They continued in use until 1954.

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