Formerly the property of the late John Cuthill Sword,1906 Martini 20/24-hp Roi-des-Belges Double Phaeton  Chassis no. 419 Engine no. 731

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Lot 149
Formerly the property of the late John Cuthill Sword, 1906 Martini 20/24-hp Roi-des-Belges Double Phaeton
Registration no. D-2404 Chassis no. 419 Engine no. 731

Sold for £ 32,200 (US$ 42,424) inc. premium
Formerly the property of the late John Cuthill Sword
1906 Martini 20/24-hp Roi-des-Belges Double Phaeton
Coachwork by W & F Thorn, Islington, London

Registration no. D-2404
Chassis no. 419
Engine no. 731
Makers of the famous Martini-Henry rifle (it featured on their radiator badge), Martini had built a stationary engine in the 1870s, and built their first car – a rear-engined twin-cylinder on Benz line - in 1897. In 1903 they began building four-cylinder cars based on the French Rochet-Schneider in a new factory at St-Blaise, in the canton of Neuchatel Switzerland. In October 1903 a 14-hp Martini driven by the celebrated Himalayan explorer Captain Henry Hugh Peter Deasy climbed the 1 in 4.5 gradient of the mountain railway up the Rochers de Naye near Montreux “in perfect security”. The cars were popular - 100 were built in 1903, 130 in 1904, when a 16-hp Martini driven by Max de Martini won the Coupe Rochet-Schneider - and the St-Blaise factory was taken over by a new English Martini company in 1906, when production totalled 220 cars.

The 20/24-hp was new that year, featuring a metallic clutch and direct drive top gear with chain final drive. It was powered by a pair-cast four-cylinder 100x130mm engine displacing 4085cc, and sold for £640 in chassis form. It was only on the market for a year before being replaced by a 24/32-hp with a slightly larger engine.

This splendid Edwardian tourer with its elegant Roi-des-Belges coachwork by leading London coachbuilders W & F Thorn was originally supplied by Brenchly Brothers & Holman of Folkestone and Ashford, Kent, to Colonel William Campbell, of East Hill, Ashford, Kent. It was registered D-2404 on 9 March 1906.

In 1908, noted Milligen, the car was presented by the book publishers Heinemann to the well-known author Arthur Mee, who had started his career in journalism at the age of sixteen in 1891 and become editor of the Nottingham Evening Post at twenty. Mee, then working for press baron Lord Northcliffe (the former Alfred Harmsworth), had bet Heinemann that he would make more than £10,000 in royalties on the Harmsworth History of the World partwork, and when this figure was passed just halfway through the series, “the handsomest cream motor car that you ever saw in your life” was delivered to the door of Mee’s office at Carmelite House in the Strand in payment of the wager.
Mee’s most famous works were The Children’s Encyclopaedia and the series of travel books published under the overall title of The King’s England. It would be pleasant to think that Mee researched that enduringly popular series at the wheel of this car, which has the unusual feature of a throttle that can be operated by either foot.

George Milligen acquired this Martini at the second Sword Sale in Scotland in March 1965 for £2,150 “because it was a Martini that I learnt to drive on”; writing at the time, that much-missed motoring historian the late Michael Sedgwick recalled that the Martini was “once owned by the present writer’s uncle and was a familiar sight in Maidstone in the 1930s”. Sedgwick’s uncle, Kingsley Barcham Green, had purchased the car around 1927-28 and drove it in veteran events such as the Kent Messenger Run in the early 1930s. A photograph of the infant Sedgwick with his uncle and aunt in the car appeared in Veteran & Vintage magazine in the 1950s.

Around 1947 the Martini was sold to “someone in the Henley-on-Thames area”, believed to have been the legendary scrap yard owner Harold Goodey of Twyford, who found many of the cars in the Sword Collection.

As an indication of George Milligen’s enduring interest in his collection, it should be noted that probably the last note made in any of his magnificent record books declares “restoration continuing March 2004”, the steering was overhauled, a new magneto fitted and the engine stripped, checked and re-assembled after he had inspected the crank and declared he was satisfied with it.
Formerly the property of the late John Cuthill Sword,1906 Martini 20/24-hp Roi-des-Belges Double Phaeton  Chassis no. 419 Engine no. 731
Formerly the property of the late John Cuthill Sword,1906 Martini 20/24-hp Roi-des-Belges Double Phaeton  Chassis no. 419 Engine no. 731
Formerly the property of the late John Cuthill Sword,1906 Martini 20/24-hp Roi-des-Belges Double Phaeton  Chassis no. 419 Engine no. 731
Formerly the property of the late John Cuthill Sword,1906 Martini 20/24-hp Roi-des-Belges Double Phaeton  Chassis no. 419 Engine no. 731
Formerly the property of the late John Cuthill Sword,1906 Martini 20/24-hp Roi-des-Belges Double Phaeton  Chassis no. 419 Engine no. 731
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Buyer's Premium Rates
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25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £2,500 up to and including £300,000;
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