1931 Minerva AK Saloon/Tourer Project Registration no. JT 3062
Originally this car was fitted with a 40/50hp straight-eight sleeve-valve engine. The saloon body is chauffeur divided with two occasional seats, upholstered in leather to the front compartment and West of England cloth to the rear. It has most effective Clayton-Dewandre power assisted brakes, powerful Marchal headlamps, 'opera' type flashing indicators and an instrument panel petrol gauge system, which is hand pumped. The Minerva's early history is unknown prior to circa 1941 when it was purchased by a taxi firm in Reading and the original engine removed and scrapped. A Bedford 3.6-litre six-cylinder lorry engine was installed for reasons of economy, providing a most satisfactory performance. The Minerva remained in service as a taxi until around 1960 when, although still running well, it was taken to a scrap yard near Wokingham. The present owner spotted the car soon after its arrival in the yard and purchased it. Found to be in good condition, the engine was overhauled and the Minerva put back in use as everyday transport for the next eight years. It was found to be particularly useful for conveying a medical school rowing 'eight' to regular training sessions on the Thames, and to various rowing events. The car also enjoyed holiday trips to Cornwall and the North of England and on a few occasions attended Royal Ascot. The vendor advises us that the Minerva drove and handled extremely well, cruising at the legal limit with ease and comfort. Eventually, the Minerva was superseded by various sports cars although from time to time it was put back on the road. In the mid-1980s the decision was made to commission a torpedo-style touring body with a bridge retaining the two occasional seats. The saloon body was carefully removed and barn stored. Derek James was selected to construct a new body, which he did to high standards, employing traditional coachbuilding techniques for the ash-framed, aluminium-panelled structure. It was discovered that the engine mounts were identical to those used by Daimler for their 40/50hp straight-eight engine. One of these engines was sought (please see following lot) but, sadly, the project was never completed and the car was relegated to dry barn storage and remains in this unfinished condition. Few of Minerva's high quality behemoths survive and this example is eminently restorable either as a saloon or a tourer, being offered with both bodies and the Bedford engine. An old-style logbook comes with it.