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Auction news, Motor Mouth articles 2012

Motoring history under the hammer

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TWO cars with contrasting but fascinating histories – the world’s oldest surviving Vauxhall and a runabout that was once owned by David Cameron – are coming up for sale in November.

The Vauxhall is a real little gem: it is a 1903 5hp two-seater which was ordered new by Vauxhall’s managing director Percy Kidner, who obviously got a decent bit of discount as records show he paid ‘director’s price’ for it.

The car is a standard model, liveried in cream with red lining, and equipped with a pair of Dietz sidelamps and an acetylene headlamp with generator. A comprehensive history file includes invoices and repair notes.

It is the first time in 108 years that the car has been offered for sale on the open market and it is described as being a landmark car in the history of one of England’s premier motor car manufacturers.

The little Vauxhall is expected to make between £60,000 and £80,000 when it goes under the hammer at Bonhams in London next Friday, 2nd November – and the buyer will also have official entry to the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run two days later.

Among the other rarities featuring in the same sale is a 1904 Wilson-Pilcher 12/16hp four-cylinder four-seat Phaeton, thought to be the sole surviving example of its type and owned by its creator’s family from new. It has been displayed in many museums including the Tank Museum in Dorset, is a veteran entrant in the London-Brighton event and could make £220,000.

The London-Brighton is the world’s oldest motoring event, dating back 116 years. This year it will feature 500 pre-1905 veteran vehicles which will endeavour to make it all the way from Hyde Park to Brighton.

The run is part of a weekend celebration of motoring that includes the Future Car Challenge for low energy use vehicles and the Regent Street Motor Show, celebrating the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries of motoring.

From the sublime to the rather less so, a fully restored 1971 Fiat 500 L, once owned by Prime Minister David Cameron, is estimated to make £8,000 to £12,000 when it is offered for sale by Silverstone Auctions at the Footman James Classic Motor Show at the NEC in Birmingham on 17th November.

The little Fiat was bought by the PM-to-be in 1998 as a surprise birthday present for his wife Samantha, and the couple only covered around 1,000 miles in the 10 years that they owned it. Obviously not the most welcome of surprises, then.

Auction house spokesman Nick Whale said: “No matter what your political persuasion, this is one cool car. It’s not every day that you get the chance to bid for a car that was once owned by a global figure.”

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