1902 Wolseley 10hp Twin-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 168

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Lot 712
1902 Wolseley 10hp Twin-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau
Registration no. IT 1 (Eire) Chassis no. 168

Sold for £ 161,000 (US$ 209,464) inc. premium
1902 Wolseley 10hp Twin-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau
Registration no. IT 1 (Eire)
Chassis no. 168


  • 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 10hp model featured the distinctive wrap-around radiator used by Wolseley until 1905 and the engine drove through a four-speed gearbox with final drive by side chains.

    This impressive veteran motor car was purchased on 23rd May 1902 by Mr Caleb S. Laird of Drumshanbo in County Leitrim, Eire. It was subsequently registered under the Motor Car Act of 1903 and the distinctive registration number IT 1 would be the first number issued by Leitrim County Council. Caleb Laird was a pioneer motorist in Ireland, owning also in 1903 a Darracq motor car. One can only imagine that Laird would have driven in this Wolseley to watch the spectacular Gordon Bennett Race of 1903.

    This car has been in the Lucey family ownership for many years and was an undoubted favourite of Denis Lucey, being the oldest Wolseley in his collection. It is presented in green livery with Old Gold lining. It is thought that the livery is substantially original as there is a record of 12 coats of varnish having been applied during the Lucey ownership to restore the deep rich sparkle of the original paint and to preserve Caleb Laird’s monogram, still clearly visible on both sides of the tonneau. The tonneau body is upholstered in green leather and enjoys the benefit of a practical windscreen and a pole-mounted canopy (not illustrated). The mudguards are of the then fashionable patent leather variety. Driving equipment includes a centre-mounted Acetyloid gas headlamp to a design by C. H. Worsnop of Halifax, England, H&B oil side lamps, an oil rear lamp, brass rear view mirror and a dashboard-mounted watch-holder containing period watch. Dashboard fittings include a Peto & Radford coil box and two oil tanks with no less than 12 drip-feed oil dispensers for the careful motorist to monitor. The car sits on 920 x 120mm tyres, this large wheel diameter assisting in providing a highly respectable turn of speed when on ‘full song’.

    Only five 10hp Wolseleys from 1902 are listed in the current Veteran Car Club Member’s Car List and interestingly, the Worby Beaumont car, the ‘flagship’ veteran owned by the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain, bears Car no.175 and was most probably under construction in the Wolseley factory alongside this very car.

    In recent years this car has been sparingly used but took part in the inaugural Pioneer Run for veteran cars held in Dublin two years ago. British veteran cars of such unquestioned originality and provenance are almost as rare as the proverbial hen’s teeth. Practical four-seaters with respectable weather equipment are still scarcer.

    This car is of course highly eligible for the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run and its 1902 dating importantly assures the new owner of a relatively early starting position and a clearer road to Brighton.

Saleroom notices

  • This car has no registration documents and is not currently registered in Ireland.
1902 Wolseley 10hp Twin-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 168
1902 Wolseley 10hp Twin-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 168
1902 Wolseley 10hp Twin-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 168
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