Head of Department
Sold for £147,100 inc. premium
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Head of Department
Once the largest commercial vehicle company in the British Empire, Albion was established in December 1899 in Finnieston Street, Glasgow by Arrol-Johnston émigrés T Blackwood Murray and Norman Fulton. The firm manufactured cars to begin with, concentrating on its commercial vehicle business from the end of 1913. Albion's motto 'Sure As The Sunrise', which reflected its reputation for dependability, inspired the distinctive design that featured on the radiator and badges of its many models. After its acquisition by Leyland in 1957, Albion's independence gradually diminished and by the mid-1990s the firm was making axles only. Today, the Biggar Albion Foundation, based in Lanarkshire, Scotland looks after The Albion Club and The Albion Archive.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the first Albion owed much to the Arrol-Johnston, being a similar tiller-steered dogcart powered by a horizontally-opposed twin-cylinder engine controlled by Murray's patented automatic governor. Mounted beneath the seat, the engine had bore/stroke dimensions of 4"x5" for a cubic capacity of 125.7ci (2,060cc) and was rated at 8hp by its maker. Drive was by a single chain and there were solid tyres, while centralised lubrication, operated by the driver while the vehicle was in motion, was a particularly advanced feature. Within a year or so, Albion had put a van body on one of its dogcarts, thereby taking the first step towards its ultimate success as a commercial vehicle manufacturer.
By July 1903, Albion had completed getting on for 160 of its 8hp and 10hp models, despite a modest workforce of only seven employees. At around the same time the company relocated to Scotstoun in western Glasgow where it would remain until commercial vehicle production ceased in 1972. For the 1905 season these relatively crude dogcarts were replaced with a more conventional front-engined motor car, albeit still a twin-cylinder design, and the range expanded to include a larger 24hp four-cylinder touring car and a smaller 15hp four. The commercial vehicles side of the business continued to develop and by 1912 only some 25% of Albion production was passenger cars. The decision was taken to concentrate on commercials thereafter, and Albion's last passenger car left the factory in November 1913.
This rare Albion dogcart was acquired by the current vendor's family in the 1960s from the famous Sword Collection and has completed numerous London to Brighton Runs since then, its last outing in the event being 2002. The car was dated as of 1901 manufacture by the VCC in December 1973 and comes with the related correspondence and Certificate of Dating (no. 1350). Its registration at that time was 'DS 20'. Noteworthy features include wooden carriage wheels and a single Polkey headlamp. Described as in generally good, running condition, the car comes with the aforementioned documentation and three expired MoT certificates dating from the 1970s/1980s.