C.S. Rolls's veteran car heads Bonhams line-up for London to Brighton Run sale

London to Brighton Run Sale, Veteran Motor Cars and Related Automobilia
1 Nov 2013
London, New Bond Street

And a quadricycle returns to New Bond St for second sale in a century.

An historic 1902 Panhard Levassor 16HP four cylinder rear-entrance Tonneau with coach work by Labourdette of Paris estimated to sell for £550,000 to £650,000, at Bonhams annual London to Brighton Run veteran motorcar sale on November 1st, comes with a gilt edged motoring provenance. Motoring experts believe that this car may be the one that the founder of the Rolls-Royce marque based his own earliest cars.

The car was owned by Lord Llangattock of Hendre in Monmouthshire, the father of C.S. Rolls, who founded what is arguably the greatest car marque in the world – Rolls-Royce. Chances are that C.S. Rolls would have learned some of his love of motor cars as a passenger in this Panhard owned by his father. The car has been in the same family since 1935 and comes fresh to the market after almost 80 years.

Malcolm Barber, Bonhams Group CEO, who sourced this car, says: "Once in a while you find a car that really excites you, even after a lifetime of finding and selling automotive gems. This car has it all, history, looks, provenance. I have driven alongside it many times while on the London to Brighton Run. It still wears its C.S. Rolls brass supplier plates and has an entry for this years Run which takes place two days after our sale. Whoever buys it automatically becomes part of motoring history."

This sturdy four cylinder Brighton car with a body by the eminent French coachbuilder was an expensive motorcar in its day. There is a belief by many motoring pundits that C. S. Rolls based his early thoughts for his own marque on this machine.

As the car dates back to 1902 it means that it merits a relatively early start on the London to Brighton Run. It has taken part in every Run since 1958 according to the family and acquired by their grandfather in 1935.

Other cars in this history making sale include:

. 1903 Clement-Talbot, 18HP, Rear-Entrance Tonneau, Coachwork by Rothschild, estimated at £350,000-400,000

. Believed 1903 Lacoste et Battmann 12hp Twin-Cylinder Four-Seat Rear-Entrance Tonneau (In family ownership since 1908, estimate, £150,000-200,000

. 1901 Ariel 345cc Quadricycle, Frame no. 85, Engine no. 607, estimate £25,000-35,000. This wonderful machine was bought in a saleroom on New Bond Street 100 years ago and now comes home again to be sold once more in New Bond Street - this time at Bonhams' brand new HQ building.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com

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