Edgar Jessop plus next issue preview
Readers who have so far avoided the onset of CRAFT (Can’t Remember A Flaming Thing) will recall that far back in OBA’s pre-teens, issue 9 to be exact, mention was made of the ill-conceived and ephemeral Spagabago, a product of the Medicine Hat-based Spagf
The company’s records show scant reference to this abomination, and with good reason, but there is even less historical data on another product from the company, the similar but different CubbySpag – a type of leisure cottage on wheels.
The similarity between the two creations is obvious, and in fact they were penned by the same designer/ architect, one Herbert Shoeleather, a full blood Passamaquoddy warrior who spoke no English and survived on a diet of beaver. Whereas the Spagabago was aimed at the adventure-minded family group, the CubbySpag had as its target audience single gentlemen, tramps, recluses, loners and other eccentrics, of whom there were more than one may imagine. The CubbySpag was created around the chassis of the highly unsuccessful Spagforth Light Scrubber, of which fewer than two were built. The power unit was the venerable Spagforth Super Stoat, the same engine that blew up under Edgar Jessop when well in the lead of the 1933 Dandenong TT. This single cylinder side valve engine had first seen service in the brutal Spagslicer lawn mower, and later in the Spagobrick non-light aircraft. The Spagforth sales team pestered burghers throughout Canada with the pitch that this vehicle could remove unsightly and malodorous vagrants from city streets, thereby raising property values and leading to a windfall in rates revenue. And while this highly creative approach found traction amongst the various council treasurers, the argument collapsed, along with forward orders, the moment the CubbySpag underwent field testing. A major design flaw was uncovered in that the devise had no efficient means of steering; the driver forced to stand at the front window holding the curtains apart with one hand while operating the tiller with the other. Braking was another area of suspect design and execution, the sole means of retarding progress lay in the dropping of a lead-filled box (seen below the vehicle) onto the road surface whereby, it was claimed, the friction would bring the CubbySpag to a standstill, eventually. The real sales killer however came in the form of insurance, since the CubbySpag was forced to pay not only motor vehicle insurance (as well as registration and road worthiness certification), but council rates, home and contents insurance, flood cover, fusion cover, and if required, landlord insurance. There was also the rather delicate question of waste (both human and other) disposal. The logistics proved insurmountable even for the giant Spagforth Group, and after being mothballed for decades, the prototype CubbySpag was donated to the Olympic Federation, where it eventually became the model for the athletes’ village accommodation at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The prototype Cubbyspag undergoing trials for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
ABOVE Edgar Jessop’s personal Spagabago – one of the first motorhomes used by an elite rider at GP events.