*Rare Albion passenger car *Purchased by the current owner from the famous Sword Collection *Present family ownership since the 1960s *Last London to Brighton Run 2002
Once the largest commercial vehicle company in the British Empire, Albion was established in December 1899 in Finnieston Street, Glasgow by Arrol-Johnston émigrés T Blackwood Murray and Norman Fulton. The firm manufactured cars to begin with, concentrating on its commercial vehicle business from the end of 1913. Albion's motto 'Sure As The Sunrise', which reflected its reputation for dependability, inspired the distinctive design that featured on the radiator and badges of its many models. After its acquisition by Leyland in 1957, Albion's independence gradually diminished and by the mid-1990s the firm was making axles only. Today, the Biggar Albion Foundation, based in Lanarkshire, Scotland looks after The Albion Club and The Albion Archive.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the first Albion owed much to the Arrol-Johnston, being a similar tiller-steered dogcart powered by a horizontally-opposed twin-cylinder engine controlled by Murray's patented automatic governor. Mounted beneath the seat, the engine had bore/stroke dimensions of 4"x5" for a cubic capacity of 125.7ci (2,060cc) and was rated at 8hp by its maker. Drive was by a single chain and there were solid tyres, while centralised lubrication, operated by the driver while the vehicle was in motion, was a particularly advanced feature. Within a year or so, Albion had put a van body on one of its dogcarts, thereby taking the first step towards its ultimate success as a commercial vehicle manufacturer.
By July 1903, Albion had completed getting on for 160 of its 8hp and 10hp models, despite a modest workforce of only seven employees. At around the same time the company relocated to Scotstoun in western Glasgow where it would remain until commercial vehicle production ceased in 1972. For the 1905 season these relatively crude dogcarts were replaced with a more conventional front-engined motor car, albeit still a twin-cylinder design, and the range expanded to include a larger 24hp four-cylinder touring car and a smaller 15hp four. The commercial vehicles side of the business continued to develop and by 1912 only some 25% of Albion production was passenger cars. The decision was taken to concentrate on commercials thereafter, and Albion's last passenger car left the factory in November 1913.
This rare Albion dogcart was acquired by the current vendor's family in the 1960s from the famous Sword Collection and has completed numerous London to Brighton Runs since then, its last outing in the event being 2002. The car was dated as of 1901 manufacture by the VCC in December 1973 and comes with the related correspondence and Certificate of Dating (no. 1350). Its registration at that time was 'DS 20'. Noteworthy features include wooden carriage wheels and a single Polkey headlamp. Described as in generally good, running condition, the car comes with the aforementioned documentation and three expired MoT certificates dating from the 1970s/1980s.
Registration no. Not currently UK registered, formerly 'N1261' (see text) Chassis no. 4281 Engine no. 423
£400,000 - 500,000
€550,000 - 690,000
*Long history of participation in the London to Brighton
*Owned by numerous luminaries in the hobby *Comprehensively restored *In concours condition *Complete with entry to 2015 Run
Already a successful maker of bicycles and pneumatic tyres - he owned the Dunlop patents in France - Adolphe Clément diversified into automobile manufacture in 1899, taking an interest in the existing Gladiator concern. Rear-engined tricycles and quadricycles were made at the Gladiator works in Levallois-sur-Seine before Clément began building a conventional front-engined light car around 1901. Clément's early vehicles were powered by Aster, Panhard and De Dion engines, all three makes being at the forefront of automobile development.
By January 1903 Clément et Gladiator claimed to have an annual capacity of 1,200 cars but in October that year Adolphe Clément broke his connection with the company and set up a new factory in Levallois-Perret, manufacturing cars under the 'Clément-Bayard' name. At the beginning of that same year Clément had introduced the 2,121cc 12/16hp model which well deserved the adjective "magnificent" for it was one of the most advanced cars of its day, the 12/16 featured a pair-cast four-cylinder 'L-head' engine, four-speed transmission and a channel steel chassis at a time when many of its rivals still relied on the old-fashioned flitch-plated wooden frame. An ingenious pressurised lubrication system fed oil from the pump-fed cooling system to oil baths for the engine's big-end bearings.
This example returns to the UK from American ownership and has a long known British history. Its very earliest days were recorded in the program for the London to Brighton Run in 1934. In those days, perhaps because of the novelty of the cars and that each invariably had a recent tale of discovery before being put back on the road, many of those stories were detailed in the publication. For this car, two years are particularly useful. The aforementioned 1934 edition lists the owner as A.W.F. Smith, a pioneering collector of early motorcars and succinctly lists its history as:
'Originally in French ownership until brought to England early in 1905. Spent the last 24 years locked away in disused coach house, until purchased and run by A.R.Utley last year.'
This single annotation helpfully details its first years of existence, while interestingly in the 1938 edition, it is noted as having ;'original paintwork and upholstery', so the current fashion of originality is by no means a new one!
It is probably safe to assume that the registration number that it wore by this time 'N1261' was allocated to the Clement when it arrived in the UK and as such it would have been the 1,261st car registered with Manchester County Borough Council.
A.W.F. Smith would campaign the Clement successively on the London to Brighton Run from 1934-1938, after the war again it was on the run from 1946-1956, with the exception of 1947 when there was no event. Also in this period Smith is known to have joined the F.N.C.A.F. Les Teuf TeufClub in France and the car may well have been used on their events.
By 1957, Smith had acquired a large horsepower Daimler of the same year and this seems to have been his 'Brighton Runner' for the next decade. In 1951 it was presented to the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain and received dating as 1903, being the 17th car so certified.
Smith's extensive collection was dispersed in a legendary auction at Cross-in-Hand in Sussex in 1968. In those days a handful of lines sufficed to describe the cars that were offered, with a single sentence to sum the car up, which in this case it appears to do quite well: 'The car is original, reputedly down to the paintwork itself, and is in excellent condition'.
The combined total value of the sale that day was £77,000, a sum which equaled the record for an auction of its kind according to contemporary reports. To put the importance of the Clement in context, the hammer fell at £5,200, a considerable sum of the money and clearly reflecting its importance and intrinsic value. The buyer then was noted collector Neil Corner, who five months later would take the car on the London to Brighton, with friends and industry luminaries Patrick Lindsay and Colin Crabbe. From Corner, the Clement passed to A.M. Goodman and then to the present owner in 1977.
Over the course of nearly 4 decades of ownership the car has been used on the London to Brighton on a number of occasions, particularly in the early days of its custody. Maintained in the UK for some time, it received a new crankshaft and mechanical work in the 1980s.
In recent years the Clement has been exquisitely restored to a standard befitting the quality and refinement of the mechanical jewel it represents and sparkles cosmetically too! Offered for sale from long-term American ownership on the West Coast in California, approximately a decade ago it was comprehensively restored by noted Veteran and Edwardian 'Brass' experts Tired Iron Works. Attesting to its condition it was shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2006.
After his long association, he has decided to part with it, presenting an opportunity to acquire what must be one of the best recorded and active four cylinder veteran cars around and has the further benefit of an entry for this year's event. Please note this Lot is subject to 5% import tax if remaining in the UK.
Footnote please note that the registration number 'N1261' was still attached to the Clement when acquired. It is not known to the owner to have been re-appropriated and it may be possible to make an application to return this to the car.
UK import duty is now not applicable to this lot. It is UK registered 'N 1261' and is accompanied by a Swansea V5C.
*Pioneering American make *Formerly part of the Stormont Collection *Extensively refurbished *Last on the London to Brighton Run in 2012
'The Winton is generally regarded as America's premier make of petrol car,' noted The Autocar
in 1903 on encountering the first example of the two-speed,
chain-driven, 20hp model to be exhibited in Britain. Indeed, the Winton
had secured itself a unique place in American motoring history that year
by being the first automobile driven across the United States from
coast to coast. This unprecedented feat had been achieved by Dr H Nelson
Jackson and his chauffeur/mechanic Sewall K Crocker, who left San
Francisco on 23rd May and arrived in New York City on 26th July. Their
63-day journey took them through many communities that had never before
seen an automobile and involved crossing many miles of track-less
hinterland where streams had to be forded.
Built during 1904, the
final year that Winton offered a twin-cylinder model, chassis number
'3227' is similar to that transcontinental pioneer. Uniquely, it spent
around 70 years in the same ownership and only came to the market in
2006 for the first time since the mid-1930s following the death of its
devoted long-term owner, Robert N Stormont, a well-known figure in the
antique car world.
Robert Stormont first encountered the Winton
in the mid-1930s as a boy of 16 while exploring a former Budweiser
brewery in his hometown of Rockford, Illinois, which had been bought by
his father to accommodate his new laundry and dry cleaning business.
Left behind by its owner, the Winton was purchased for its scrap value
of $50, the money being borrowed from Robert's father. The car was then
restored by its teenaged owner as and when funds became available. At
this time the 'collector car' movement was in its infancy (the Antique
Automobile Club of America was founded at around this time, in November
1935) and Robert Stormont's was one of the very first Edwardian-era cars
to be preserved in the USA. Over the years the Winton and its owner
became well known on the antique car scene, participating regularly in
the USA's London-Brighton counterpart, the 125-mile New London to New
Brighton Antique Car Run. '3227' is believed to be one of only seven
1904 Wintons remaining out of the 600 that left the company's Cleveland,
Ohio factory that year, not all of which are running.
immediately preceding owner, well known Veteran-car enthusiast Don
Larkin, purchased the Winton at Bonhams & Butterfields' sale at the
Larz Anderson Museum in Brookline, Massachusetts in May 2006 (Lot 322).
While researching its history, Bonhams & Butterfields spoke with
various officers of 'Winton Worldwide' who confirmed that, while
restored, 'The Stormont Car' is widely known for its exceptional
originality and correctness and is accordingly very highly regarded.
Mr Stormont's passing, the car has undergone extensive mechanical
refurbishment. It has received new pistons, con-rods and a Phoenix
crankshaft to ensure smooth running of the engine, while the complex
carburettor and pneumatic system employed by Alexander Winton has been
modified to achieve a simpler and more reliable running procedure. The
vehicle also benefits from the fitting of a discrete but removable
electric starter. All removed parts are supplied with the vehicle and
can easily be reinstated, including the American whitewall tyres. Included in the sale is an original 1904 manual; a pair of very old
goggles; the car's original ID plate; sundry restoration receipts and
photographs; several New London to New Brighton Run programmes and
finisher's medals; and various clippings relating to this car in
particular and to Winton history in general. There is even a photograph
of the Winton when it was new in Rockford a century ago. Parts offered
with the car include extra hubcaps; engine castings; and surplus leather
from the upholstery restoration together with the original leather
pieces that were used for patterns. There is also an original tyre, and
the car's toolbox contains a copy owner's manual, a hubcap spanner and
Since the aforementioned refurbishment was
completed, the car has successfully finished a number of London to
Brighton Runs with five adults on board, its most recent outing being in
2011. The Winton was offered for sale at Bonhams' auction at
Mercedes-Benz World, Surrey in December 2012 (Lot 323) where it was
purchased by the current vendor. Now registered in the UK, the car has
been maintained and used sparingly on the owner's estate in
Gloucestershire and on local runs. This famous and well-documented
example of one of the USA's premier pioneering makes is offered with a
V5C registration document.