1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108
Lot 48
1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau
Sold for £141,500 (US$ 176,194) inc. premium

Lot Details
1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108 1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 6-1108
1903 Gladiator 10hp 2-cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau
Registration no. CE 1229
Chassis no. 6-1108
*Rare French make
*Present ownership since 1990
*Mechanically overhauled by Hofmann's
*24 London-Brighton Runs successfully completed since 1991
*A strong performer

Footnotes

  • A relatively short-lived French marque, Gladiator produced motor cars from around 1896 to 1920, latterly as a division of Vinot et Deguingand. Société Gladiator had been founded in 1891 in Pré St Gervais by Paul Aucoq and Alexandre Darracq to manufacture bicycles, and a few years later was taken over by a British consortium headed by Harvey du Cros. The latter had recently bought Adolphe Clément's bicycle interests and the newly formed Clément-Gladiator-Humber company soon expanded its activities to include tricycles, quadricycles, motorcycles and automobiles. The first Gladiator cars were rear-engined, single-cylinder voiturettes boasting tubular steel frames and handlebar steering. They were also sold under the Clément-Gladiator name, Adolphe Clément being a prominent board member, as was the notorious fraudster Harry J Lawson.

    By 1899, front-engined, Aster-powered models equipped with wheel steering had superseded the originals. Gladiator's biggest market was the UK, which was taking 80% of production by 1903, at that time running at more than 1,000 cars annually. Somewhat confusingly, similar cars bearing the names 'Clément-Gladiator' and 'Gladiator' were being made in the same factory, the essential difference being that the former had shaft drive while the latter were chain driven.

    In Britain, Gladiators were distributed by the Motor Vehicle Company Ltd, which had been founded in 1899 by du Cros and S F Edge. Australian-born Selwyn Edge was a prominent figure on the emerging motoring scene in Britain and is associated with a number of makes including Napier (of which he was a director), Clément-Panhard and AC, owning the latter for most of the 1920s. He was also a pioneering racing driver, winning the Gordon Bennett Cup in 1902 at the wheel of a Napier and setting a new 24-hour record at the newly opened Brooklands track in 1907 that would stand for 18 years. Ever mindful of the value of publicity, Edge entered his protégé, Dorothy Levitt, in various events in 1903 including the Southport Speed Trials, in which her Gladiator won its class. Levitt would go on to become the most famous and successful lady racing driver of her day, gaining the sobriquet 'Fastest Girl on Earth' when she set a new Ladies' World Land Speed Record in 1905.

    Adolphe Clément resigned from Clément-Gladiator in October 1903, though the cars continued to bear his name for the next few years, and in 1909 the firm was sold to Vinot et Deguingand, which transferred production to its factory in Puteaux. From then onwards the two ranges became ever more similar until in 1920 the decision was taken to drop the Gladiator name.

    The 1903 Gladiator offered here is powered by a twin-cylinder Aster Type 25N engine displacing 1,701cc (rated at 10 horsepower), which drives via a three-speeds-and-reverse gearbox 'CE 1229' comes with two old-style logbooks for the period 1934 to 1966, during which it had only four owners. These logbooks show that the Gladiator was registered during most of that time, apart from the war years. The car comes with a current V5C registration document in addition to the old-style logbooks.

    From 1951 the Gladiator was owned by Fred Watson until it was sold by his family to the present owners in 1990. During this time it was used extensively on Brighton Runs and other Veteran Car Club activities.

    When acquired by the present owners, the car was given a major mechanical overhaul of all engine parts and running gear by Hofmann's of Henley (receipts available), while a decade later the wooden rear wheels were rebuilt. Red with varnished wooden panels (since the 1950s), the coachwork is original and appears has not been restored in the past 30-or-more years. We are advised that it needs only minor cosmetic work, unless a modern paintwork finish is desired. There are four seats, plus an extra rear seat (included but currently removed).

    During the present ownership the car has been used successfully on almost every London to Brighton Run from 1991 to 2016. Regularly serviced, initially by Hofmann's and subsequently by Priory Vintage Car Company, the car has performed reliably, with only one unscheduled stop on the 25 Brighton Runs undertaken during this period. A strong performer, particularly on the steep hills, the Gladiator completed 24 Runs during this time, with only one non-finish, regularly being one of the first 10 or 20 cars to reach Madeira Drive.
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