By order of the Executors of the late Peter Smith-Stafford 1925 Beverley-Barnes 30/90hp 4,826cc Five Seat Tourer Registration no. SV 7250 Chassis no. 205 Engine no. 205
Rarest of all quality high-powered touring cars of the 1920s was the Anglo-Belgian Beverley-Barnes, built in Barnes, South West London, in a factory beside the Beverley Brook. Principals of the company were all Belgian Monsieur Dolphens, Monsieur Flamand and Count Lenaerts. Dolphens was the engineer with Flamand and Lenaerts the financiers. The company specialised in precision engineering and during the First World War built under licence the French Le Rhone air-cooled rotary aero engines for the Royal Flying Corps. The vast two acre factory incorporated all aspects of engineering and in the immediate post-war years the company were engaged in the manufacture of parts for the motor industry, supplying the infant Bentley Motors Ltd. with machining facilities. Other notable customers were Beardmore of Glasgow and Lagonda of Staines, while the company supplied also the diesel auxiliary starter motor for the dirigible Airship R101. In 1923 the company embarked upon motor car manufacture in their own right under the Beverley-Barnes name. Dolphens spearheaded this ambitious enterprise, however in a production period ending in 1930/1931 only a handful of cars were built estimated numbers range from fifteen to twenty five cars in total. All Beverley-Barnes cars featured mightily impressive straight eight cylinder overhead camshaft engines with aluminium pistons. It is thought that these cars were developed ready to go into manufacture should the other engineering activities of the company fall into decline. The company exhibited some of its limited production at international motor exhibitions, possibly as a promotion exercise for its other precision engineering facilities. In October 1924 the company built its first 30/90hp model, featuring a straight eight engine of 4,826cc, offering a top speed in excess of 70mph. Power was transmitted through a four-speed gearbox and promotional literature referred to a chassis of exceptional width with very low centre of gravity. Braking was assisted by a Dewandre servo-vacuum control. 90bhp was developed at 2,700rpm. Prices were not inexpensive, ranging from £1,150 for the Sports model to £1,350 for the Saloon. Here was a car in a class of its own, offering engineering finesse and quality. Had the company tooled up for series production there is little doubt that these cars would have found a ready market.
Although the detailed history of this car is not fully recorded, it is believed to have been exhibited at the Geneva Salon in 1926, carrying at the time Le Mans-style sports coachwork by Gangloff of Geneva. The car is believed later to have been shipped to Argentina from where it was re-imported to the U.K. by Colin Crabbe of Antique Automobiles Ltd. It was subsequently sold to the late Roy Middleton, well-known veteran and vintage car exponent of Potters Bar, Hertfordshire who carried out the major restoration. It later passed in 1988 to his chum and fellow veteran car enthusiast, Jack Woolley of Worcestershire, from whom Peter Smith-Stafford acquired the car in 2006. Smith-Stafford had been a long-time Beverley-Barnes aficionado and his father before him indeed he already owned what is believed to be the only other surviving Beverley-Barnes. Prior to his recent death Peter Smith-Stafford was finally able to enjoy Beverley-Barnes motoring in this car, his other car having been the subject of an on-going restoration lasting several decades.
This car is now smartly presented in red and black livery and features replica five-seater open tourer coachwork, the original Gangloff coachwork having long since disappeared, perhaps during its time in Argentina. The car does however carry a coachwork plate from Carrosserie Georges Gangloff SA of Geneva, bearing body number 2351. The coachwork is upholstered in black leather and driving equipment includes handsome Carl Zeiss headlamps, radiator calormeter, twin driving mirrors, a swivel windscreen-mounted spot lamp, rear luggage carrier, two-piece opening windscreen and twin side-mounted spare wheels. The comprehensive dashboard incorporates an oil level indicator, timepiece, ammeter, revolution counter, 0-140mph speedometer and an oil pressure gauge. Although not currently licenced this rare motor car is Swansea registered and comes with appropriate documentation. It is some time since the car has been driven and it will require the usual careful recommissioning and safety checks, however we recently started the car and can only report that the turbine-like, eight-cylinder, 5-litre engine unit sounds truly magnificent. Here is an opportunity to acquire a British-built motor car of undoubted rarity and quality with performance-a-plenty for the long distance motor tour.