The Patrick Collection 1904/5 Wolseley 12hp Twin-Cylinder Four-Seat Rear-Entrance Tonneau Registration no. FF 13 Chassis no. 1052 Engine no. 234/12
No British motor manufacturer at the turn of the century had more power, wealth or technological expertise behind it than Wolseley and the reputation enjoyed by their products was backed by the use of the very finest materials in their construction. Pioneer motorist, A.B. Filson-Young, noted in his 1904 book, The Complete Motorist, that Wolseley cars were 'typical throughout of English rather than of Continental engineering practice. They have earned golden opinions for their power, simplicity, and freedom from breakdown, while almost alone among motor cars constructed by makers of repute, they represent the really practical touring car which is sold at something like a moderate price.'
The Wolseley Tool & Motor Car Company had been absorbed into the mighty Vickers, Sons & Maxim empire in 1901 and their gifted senior engineer, Herbert Austin, was an advocate of the transverse horizontal engine as featured in this car. The 12hp Wolseley, introduced in December 1903 and replacing the 10hp model, featured a twin-cylinder engine, forward mounted and set between the bonnet sides which are the cooling elements for the radiator. The engine featured detachable cylinder heads containing the vertical valves (atmospheric inlets) and cast iron cylinder liners fitting into the aluminium crank chamber and water jacket. With bore and stroke recorded at 4½in x 5in the engine displaced 2.6-litres. Drive was through a cone clutch and inverted tooth Renold silent chain to a three-speed gearbox with final drive by side chains. The chassis frame was pressed from the highest quality Vickers steel and the car was famed for its 'excellence both in design and workmanship.' Production in this form continued until late 1905.
Chassis no. 1052 is first recorded in the Shop Order Book on 21st October 1904 where it is noted it was to be built for stock (Shop order no. 15042). The tonneau coachwork was fitted in January 1905 and finished in green and yellow livery and the recorded date of despatch from the factory was 24th February 1905, following final inspection the previous day. Factory fitted equipment included Michelin tyres on the front and De Nevers on the rear, Wolseley coil, self-locking change speed lever, brass fittings, plain bearings to back wheels, 10 tooth sprocket and flat steering wheel. It was destined for Wolseley Agent, Sir H.B. Robertson of Corwen, for his customer Lt.Col. Frank Kane of Fronheulog, Llandderfel, Corwen, and first registered in Merioneth on 2nd March 1905, the FF 13 registration number almost certainly being transferred from the Colonel's previous car. (The registration number is noted in the Factory Order Book). The Colonel is known to have owned the car until 1913.
An old buff log book tells us that the car was owned by Spark & Co. Ltd of Oxted, Surrey in 1931 and in 1946, while in the ownership of one F.L. Wiginton in Surrey, the car became known to The Veteran Car Club. It was dated in 1948 and a 1904 date was awarded (Certificate no. 98). The log book tells us that the car was regularly licensed in the 1960s. FF 13 was subsequently owned by noted collector and veteran motorist Roger Gates in 1970 and later by collector/ace restorer Tony Smallbone. It was acquired by the Patrick Collection some 25 years ago. The car has taken part in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run in the present ownership, failing to finish in 1990 because of two punctures but achieved a complete run in 1991. On these occasions the car was driven under its official 1904 dating and under current LBVCR rules would retain eligibility for the London to Brighton Run under 'grandfather rights' should a 1905 dating be determined in the future.
FF 13 is presented in maroon livery with black leather mudguards and is equipped with Kings Own oil side-lamps, a Halckel bulb horn, rear view mirror, P&H self contained acetylene headlamps and a Stepney wheel. It is furnished with black leather upholstery, some of which may well be original, and enjoys the benefit of a hood. Dashboard equipment includes a vertical tube fuel gauge and no less than ten oilers for the driver's careful attention, as well as the Wolseley switch and coil box as specified in the original order.
This highly original and relatively quick English veteran is offered with old and new type registration documents, current license and MoT, starting and running instructions, copy of a period handbook, a photocopy of a duplicate dating certificate and a British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certified Copy of a Factory Record.
The balance of the Patrick Collection Part III, some 18 motor cars including a 1913 Austin 10hp Coquette, 1931 Invicta S-Type Low Chassis, and Cpl. Jones's 1935 Ford Model BB Butcher's Van from the TV-Series Dad's Army, will be offered by Bonhams at the December Sale on 3 December, 2012.