First held in 1896 to celebrate the passing of the Locomotives on the Highway act that lifted the British speed limit from 4mph to 14mph, the London to Brighton rally is the oldest automobile event in England and possibly the world. Celebrating the 120th anniversary of the original event the 2016 run sees participants cover 60 miles from Hyde Park in the capital to Madeira Drive in Brighton, the even is only open to cars the VSCC (Vintage Car Club) has certified as built before 1905. Despite the entry requirements and sometimes dicey late autumn weather there are often more than 400 entries that take anything from three to nine hours to complete the route. Bonhams have offered a veteran car sale since 2004, and more recently become the official London to Brighton auction and while this has been the most boutique of the Bonhams sales, they have been relatively successful and offer a large amount of motoring memorabilia alongside the motorcars. While most of these cars have a limited amount of power and are often mechanically idiosyncratic offering an experience rather than a simple ownership, they do offer the ultimate in experience and authenticity.
Year – Sold/ Offered (%) – Gross Total US$ – High Sale US$
2017 $3,063,776 25/26 (96%) $428,229 1903 Panhard-Levassor Model B 10HP
2016 $1,537,594 10/14 (71%) $340,429 1904 Renault Type N-B
2015 $2,082,144 9/12 (75%) $637,980 1903 Clement AC4R
2014 $2,986,536 16/23 (69%) $622,806 1904 CGV 6.25L Type H1
2013 $2,927,118 13/14 (92%) $967,455 1903 Clement CT4K
2012 $2,576,026 14/14 (100%) $361,486 1904 Delaugere 24HP Tonneau
2011 $966,297 8/8 (100%) $250,433 1898 Fisson 8HP
2010 $1,452,952 11/11 (100%) $521,882 1903 Sunbeam 10HP Tonneau
2009 $968,340 9/10 (90%) $226,533 1901 Argyll 5HP Tonneau
2008 $1,319,522 12/15 (80%) $243,716 1902 Clement 9HP Tonneau 2007 $1,964,279 9/10 (90%) $358,278 1904 Talbot CT2K
2017s sale is lead by a fabulous example of the Panhard-Levassor, to quote Bonhams “A very important early car from one of France’s premier makes”, noted to be powerful enough, highly original and very well restored. Overall the 1903 Model B 10HP Rear Entrance Tonneau is a very useable example of the storied marque and ready for use in the London to Brighton run, as such the 350 – 400k Pounds ($462 – 528k US) estimate is actually relatively good value and well worth the money for what would be an ideal London to Brighton entry.
Two very interesting cars on offer at 200 – 350k Pounds ($264 – 330k) are the 1902 Westfield Model G 4 seat Tonneau, a very rare example of a Massachusetts based brand that was only in production from 1901 to 1903. A very nice example of a car with a powerful overhead cam twin cylinder engine car that may well be the only example of the marque extant, it is an interesting example ready to give joy to any owner. The other car in this strata with much of interest is the 1894 Santler 3.5hp Dogcart that presents as the oldest British motorcar extant. The chassis was believed to be built just two years after Benz built his so called “first” motorcar and at various times was fitted with a steam engine, gas engine and most recently a Benz 3.5hp engine although the vagaries of the British laws meant it was mainly stored rather than used. This lack of use meant it actually survived rather than destroyed and its survival must be celebrated although it is fair to consider that its natural home is a museum rather than a private collection.
The other two fascinating cars on offer include the 1898 Germain 6HP a fascinating car that was a Panhard-Levassor built under license in Belgium. Actually the first so built this car was retained by Germain until 1964 thus guaranteeing it exists in original condition. Although it requires recommissioning, the 150 – 220k Pound ($198 – 290k US) estimate seems reasonable for such a car. At the other end is a 1894 Salvesen Steam Car that is a very cool “home built” car with a steam engine at the same price as the Germain. All of these cars will require a lot more owner input than any modern car but will repay that input with rich rewards indeed and there won’t be anything like the feeling of reaching Brighton. Another fun sale for Bonhams and I wish them every success.
RESULTS – $3,063,776
Bonhams really knocked it out of the park with this sale in 2017 especially considering none of these cars were truly stellar examples, rather they were very good collectible examples of cars that come complete with the opportunity to use them in the L2B run. Leading the way was one of the grand pre 1904 Panhard-Levassors with a relatively acceptable 7% below low estimate, 327k Pounds ($428k US) price tag against a slightly bullish estimate. Otherwise there was the 1899 Vivinus at 59k Pounds ($77k US) which was 134% over a fairly cheap estimate, the 1901 Singer Tricycle sold for 87% over estimate at 65k Pounds ($86k US) and the 1901 Royal Enfield and 1900 De Dion Bouton sold for 69% and 48% over estimate respectively. Three of the star cars also sold well although within sight of their slightly bullish estimate, the 1903 Darracq Model H, 1901 Darracq Model C and 1902 Westfield 13HP at 27, 28 and 15% over their high estimates.
Few cars sold under estimate and they were the 1903 Eldredge 8HP at 18% below estimate, 1898 Daley at 15% below and a 1902 De Dion Bouton Type L at 12% below. A few high value examples did sell in a mid estimate range, the 1902 Adler Two Cylinder, 1896 Salvesen Steam Cart and the 1901 Schaudel. Indeed just one lot failed to sell and that was the unique but difficult to understand 1894 Santler at a relatively acceptable 200 – 250k Pounds although the issue with this lot is it is the oldest car built in the UK and is closer to a museum exhibit than an actual car per se. As such it requires a full inspection of its provenance and history to place it within its perspective and this may have limited buyers. Bonhams can and should be very pleased with this sale.
Key – Lot # – Year – Make – Model – VIN/ Chassis # – Low/ High estimate (GBP) – Low/High estimate (EURO) – Low/High estimate (US$) – N/R = No reserve
201 1901 Royal Enfield 4½HP Forecar Quadracycle 16403 £25,000 £30,000/ £50,600 €56,903 $66,332 69%
Green light car. RHD. Edward Boyd Hargreaves, UK (1), unknown, Richard Hodgson, ’54, A E Reynolds, F. H Babcock, unknown, Cingoli sidecar museum, Italy, vendor ’07. Restored ’50s, unknown condition, requires recommissioning. V5.
202 1901 Darracq 6½HP Model C 2 seater 945 £40,000 £45,000/ £57,500 €64,663 $75,377 28%
Maroon over Black. Parts acquired from Depanoto, France, original chassis and engine etc, recreated gearbox and axle, rebuilt over 20 years, generally good condition. V5C and VCC dating certificate.
203 1901 International Charette 6HP Four seat Tonneau 140 £60,000 £80,000/ £66,460 €74,739 $87,123 Mid
Green. Very well known by the Veteran Car Club, accepted from the ’30s, used in the London-Brighton Run continuously since the 1930s, restored ’00s, very well maintained and improved. V5 and VCC certs.
204 1903 Oldsmobile 4½HP Model R Curved Dash Runabout 1803 £35,000 £45,000/ £43,700 €49,144 $57,287 Mid
Dark Green over Black. RHD. Ex. Pierce A Miller Carriage Collection, well optioned example, via Bonhams Scottsdale ’13 to vendor, mechanically recondition but still highly original. London to Brighton ’15, V5C and VCC dating.
205 1902 Westfield 13HP Model G 4 seat Tonneau 316 £200,000 £250,000/ £287,100 €322,863 $376,362 15%
Grey over Red leather. RHD. Remington 2.5 litre OHC engine as original, unknown car, ex Barney Pollar collection, part restored by a previous owner, restoration finished ’90s, concours award winner, vendor ’06, driven 3000 miles, very well maintained, highly usable example. V5C and VCC dating certificate.
206 1903 Darracq Model H 12HP Twin cylinder Rear Entrance Tonneau 3753 £120,000 £160,000/ £203,100 €228,400 $266,246 27%
Dark Blue over Burgundy leather. RHD. Unknown car, C. Gillam, UK ’35, unknown, John Hay ’35, Charabanc bodywork fitted, Robert Jardine ’93, restoration begun, vendor ’99, restoration completed with replica of its original four-seat rear-entrance body. Original and good performing. V5C and VCC dating.
207 1900 De Dion Bouton Quadricycle 9885 £30,000 £35,000 N/R/ £51,750 €58,196 $67,840 48%
Black bycicle style light car. ex. Monsieur Delobelle to unnamed auction, via Bruno Vendiesse to unnamed vendor ’86, totally original. Dated to approx. 1900. Requires a restoration.
208 1903 Stevens-Duryea Model L Runabout 354 £55,000 £65,000/ £58,620 €65,922 $76,845 Mid
Burgundy over Black. via Philip de Vos to Europe ’81, full cape cart top type, no docs but believed ’03/04. Requires restoration.
209 1902 De Dion Bouton Type L 6HP Vis-a-Vis 8494 £55,000 £70,000 N/R/ £48,300 €54,317 $63,317 -12%
Red over Black. Very late example. Very authentic. ex. Philippe Charbonneaux and Monsieur Philippe Michel, Vendor ’10, recommissioning is advised. V5C and VCC dating certificate.
210 1899 Vivinus 3½HP 2 seat Voiturette 85 £20,000 £25,000/ £58,620 €65,922 $76,845 134%
Green over Black light car. Very good original car. Belgian discovery ’86, Roger de Vlieghere, good and complete order, in need of refurbishment. No docs.
211 1901 Hurtu Type H 4½ HP Rear Entrance Tonneau 2091 £65,000 £80,000 N/R/ £63,100 €70,960 $82,718 3%
Deep Red over Flat Black. RHD. Hurtu’s 4½hp De Dion Bouton engine. 3 speed manual. Factory convertible bodywork still fitted. Vendor since’ 61. Very good condition. V5C and VCC dating. Extremely pretty.
212 1898 Leon Bollee 3HP Tandem 2 seater 954 £45,000 £55,000/ £56,350 €63,369 $73,870 2%
Blue over Red. Ex. Monsieur P. Touzet and Jules Bruyere, not used for many years and recommissioning required. Authentic.
214 1904 La Libellule V Twin Tricar 1358 £20,000 £25,000 N/R/ £32,200 €36,211 $42,211 29%
Red over Black Tricycle. Ex Clermont family, France, vendor since ’61, restored ’80s. Docs.
215 1898 Germain 6HP Twin Cylinder Open Drive Limousine 1 £150,000 £220,000 N/R/ £225,500 €253,590 $295,610 2%
Gold, Blue and Red over Black. RHD. First Panhard-Levassor made under license by Ateliers Germain, retained by Germain until ’64, Eugène Segers, Belgium (1), vendor ’80s (2), restored, requires recommissioning.
216 1902 Toledo Junior Steam Car N/A £25,000 £30,000 N/R/ £26,450 €29,745 $34,674 Mid
Black and Red over Black. Ex. Thomas C. Marshall Jr., Robert Nydam and Ralph Dunwoodie, USA, Ken Ducommen, BC, Canada ’88, vendor ’90s, older restoration, requires recommissioning and boiler certification. V5 and VCC dating.
217 1902 Ader Two Cylinder V-Twin 4 seater V6/123 £85,000 £100,000/ £89,420 €100,559 $117,221 Mid
Royal Blue over Black. RHD. Discovered ’60s by Pierre Schimp, restored with a Charabanc style body, vendor. Used in London-Brighton run. Refurbished.
218 1896 Salvesen Steam Cart SA1 £150,000 £200,000/ £158,300 €178,019 $207,517 Mid
Yellow steam car. RHD. Unique vehicle built by the Salvesen family and used by them for many years, Ex. Sword Collection and George Milligen, via Bonhams Goodwood Revival ’04, restored and used in the London-Brighton run each year. V5C and VCC dating.
219 1898 Daley Quadricycle 9175 £35,000 £45,000/ £29,900 €33,625 $39,196 -15%
Red and Black over Red cyclecar. Ex. John Barker, mechanically rebuilt and used on London-Brighton, later in unknown museum, via Bonhams Veteran ’11 to unknown. Engine rebuilt again. Sole survivor of the marque. V5C and VCC dating.
220 1904 Humber 8.5HP Two Seater 2411 £50,000 £60,000/ £61,980 €69,701 $81,250 3%
Dark Blue and White over Black. RHD. Isle of Wight car, 1 owner from ’50, restored many many years ago, stored from ’01, via Bonhams ’00, unnamed US collection, restored by Jay Steele. Recently recommissioned. EU taxes not paid.
221 1903 Panhard-Levassor Model B 10HP Rear Entrance Tonneau 6090 £350,000 £400,000/ £326,666 €367,358 $428,229 -7%
Red and Black over Tan leather. 2.4 litre 4 cylinder. 4 speed manual. History known from ’52 when noted it had been discovered as ‘a complete wreck’ outside a garage in Barnsley by Mr D J Clayton, restored, later with Reginald Lewis, later still in USA, Soames Langton ’90, Mark Tidy, Michael Sheppard, vendor ’01, rebuilt ’04. VCC dating and V5C.
222 1894 Santler 3½HP Dogcart 1036 £200,000 £250,000/ Not Sold N/A
Chassis built c1887, run as early as 1889 with a steam engine and two seat bodywork, stored due to British laws that required a minimum 3 seats, twin-cylinder horizontal gas engine installed, engine removed and stored once more, shown in 1911, stored until discovered by John Mills ’30s (1), Alec Hodsdon ’50s (2?), restored, fitted with a Benz 3½hp single-cylinder water-cooled engine, Sir John Briscoe (3), various, Dr. Alan Sutton, restored, varnished wood bodywork fitted, unknown ’01, via unnamed auction ’15 to vendor. Wonderful oportunity to acquire the oldest British automobile extant.
223 1901 Schaudel 10HP Twin Cylinder Rear Entrance Tonneau 2 £130,000 £160,000/ £147,100 €165,424 $192,835 Mid
Burgundy over Black. RHD. Carrosserie Edmond Leffroy Rear Entrance Tonneau bodywork, Ex. Musée Bonnal à Bègles, Bordeaux, France, later to Jean Barthé, Colin Moon, John Brown, restored, via Brooks Beaulieu ’99 to vendor. featured in various movies and used in VCC events. Mechanically rebuilt, very authentic. 1 of 2 survivors. V5 and VCC dating.
224 1904 Humber Olympia Forecar 139476 £35,000 £40,000/ £34,500 €38,798 $45,226 -1%
Sky Blue over Blue. Tandem forecar. Well stored and requires recommissioning. VCC Dating Certificate and V5C.
225 1901 Singer Motorwheel Tricycle N/A £25,000 £35,000/ £65,340 €73,479 $85,655 87%
Black tricycle. via UK auction ’09 to vendor. Unrestored. Totally original. Very rare. VCC dating.
226 1904 De Dion Bouton Type Y 6HP 2 seat 16532 £60,000 £80,000/ £57,500 €64,663 $75,377 -4%
Maroon and Cream over Black. RHD. Unnamed ’80s, successful completed several London to Brighton Veteran Car Runs. via Bonhams Olympia ’07 to vendor. V5, Belgian title and VCC dating.
227 1903 Eldredge 8HP Runabout 71622 £45,000 £55,000/ £37,083 €41,702 $48,612 -18%
Black and Red over Black. Ex Sam Scherr and Richard C Paine Jr collections, via Bonhams Paine ’08 to UK vendor. Well maintained, V5C and VCC dating.
All information is copyright Auto Auctions Monthly except images which are copyright of Artcurial, Bonhams, Gooding & co., Mecum, RM/ Sothebys, Russo & Steele and Worldwide Auctioneers. All figures are US$ and gross unless specifically stated. All figures are accurate in the home currency for the sale, any figures in other currencies are calculated based on the exchange rate for the date of sale accessed from FxTop.com. Percentages as given are calculated as the % below low estimate or above estimate as noted. All information given for recreational use only and cannot be personally guaranteed for accuracy by the author.