1904 James & Browne 9hp Tonneau,
Lot 305
1904 James & Browne 9hp Twin Cylinder Rear Entrance Tonneau 126
Sold for £111,500 (US$ 171,879) inc. premium

Lot Details
1904 James & Browne 9hp Twin Cylinder Rear Entrance Tonneau 126 1904 James & Browne 9hp Twin Cylinder Rear Entrance Tonneau 126 1904 James & Browne 9hp Tonneau, 1904 James & Browne 9hp Tonneau, 1904 James & Browne 9hp Tonneau, 1904 James & Browne 9hp Tonneau, 1904 James & Browne 9hp Tonneau,
1904 James & Browne 9hp Twin Cylinder Rear Entrance Tonneau
Registration no. Y 182
Chassis no. 126
Engine no. 30

Footnotes

  • “Turn the petrol on, tickle the carburettor, wind the handle six times, switch on the ignition, wind the handle once more and she will burst into life” – and she did! Hardly surprising as the utterer of these words and the winder of the handle was the grandson of the builder of the car over one hundred years ago – and furthermore it has been in his family for the last 44 years.

    Y 182 has a truly remarkable and continuous history. Lt. Col. T B Browne established James & Browne as early as 1896 trading from a Head Office and Showroom at 395 Oxford Street, London, building cars and commercial vehicles at their factory at Youngs Corner, King Street, Hammersmith, West London, from 1901 until 1909. Mr Ernest Proctor, grandfather of the present owner of Y 182, was employed by James & Browne as an engineer at Hammersmith until 1908. Production was by no means prolific but the cars were well engineered, if not totally conventional. Indeed the James & Browne twin cylinder motor cars were highly individual with their horizontal twin cylinder, water-cooled engines, featuring bore and stroke of 4 ins x 6 ins, atmospheric inlet valves and mechanically operated exhaust valves. Cooling was thermo-syphon and the cylinders, although parallel, were widely spaced in the engine compartment. The James & Browne drove through two gearboxes, one catering for 1st, 3rd and reverse gears, linked by a sliding shaft to the second gearbox operating 2nd and 4th. Final drive was by twin side-mounted chains, the foot brake operating on the transmission and the handbrake on the rear wheels. This design was certainly introduced by James & Browne as early as 1902, as evidenced by the other known surviving James & Browne, regularly fielded on the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run by the students of Imperial College, London.

    Y 182 was a special order from the Rev. Dr. John Darlington, vicar of St Mark’s Church, Kennington in London from 1897 – 1947. Dr Darlington owned a country house in Curry Rivel in Somerset and was married to Lilian, daughter of the Dean of Westminster. Dr Darlington was an influential figure in church circles and from a privileged background. As a pioneer motorist he had previously owned a Peugeot which his diary records let him down badly. His friend owned ‘a reliable two-cylinder James & Browne’ and in 1905 he visited the James & Browne showrooms in Oxford Street asking to buy a car ‘like the one his friend owned’. Lt. Col. Browne recalls that he had to politely advise Dr. Darlington that the 9hp twin-cylinder model had become obsolete in 1903 and he offered Darlington an 18hp four-cylinder model instead. Darlington was adamant that he wanted the two-cylinder car and so it was arranged that a special order 9hp two-cylinder car be assembled for this important customer.

    The current owner’s grandfather, Mr Ernest Proctor, was given the job of assembling this hybrid car using engine no.30, possibly dating from 1901 or 1902, a 1904 chassis and a body which had been destined for a 1903 four-cylinder car. By 1905 Darlington’s diaries suggest that the car had been registered as Y 184 (its first registration number) and it was delivered to Kennington Vicarage on 10th March 1906. On 23rd April that year a young chauffeur, Mr Lucas, delivered the car from London to Curry Rivel in Somerset, staying some time after delivery to teach Dr. Darlington the basics of driving and maintenance. These were obviously lessons well learned as Dr. Darlington and his eldest son John drove this car on a 2,000 mile tour of Europe in 1913. Dr. Darlington was later to purchase an Armstrong-Siddeley and John Darlington Junior got the old J&B going again in 1925, at about which time it was stored in the old stables at Curry Rivel.

    Meanwhile Chauffeur Lucas and Ernest Proctor had set up a motor business in partnership in Egham, Surrey. While holidaying in Somerset in 1938 Lucas looked up the Darlington family. Dr. Darlington was still there and so was the James & Browne in the stable. The car was given to Mr Lucas who took it to his Egham garage where he and Ernest Proctor restored it – what more qualified team could there have been? The original Y 184 number had been transferred to Dr. Darlington’s new Armstrong-Siddeley and application to Somerset County Council enabled a new number, Y 182, to be issued.

    Suitably restored, Y 182 was entered in the 1948 R.A.C. London to Brighton Run, starting an uninterrupted consecutive 37 years of taking part and successfully completing that event. The present owner’s father, Mr Sidney Proctor, joined his father and Lucas for many of the earlier runs which were usually met at Brighton by Lt. Col. Browne. Lucas was to continue driving this car until 1963 when it was bought by Sidney Proctor, the son of its builder. The car has remained in the Proctor family ever since. During this ownership a remarkable file has been amassed following considerable research, including obtaining copies of extracts from Dr. Darlington’s Motor Log Book from his family. A wealth of such information accompanies the car including a photograph of young Bernard Montgomery, nephew of Dr. Darlington and later appointed to the dizzy ranks of Field Marshall, riding in this car in his youth. During the 1990’s the family tradition of participating in this car in the London to Brighton Run continued, Y 182 successfully completing the Centenary Run in 1996. To date Y 182 has entered no less than 46 Brightons, successfully completing 42 – what a remarkable history and well worthy of recording here.

    Y 182 is handsomely presented in blue livery with blue upholstery and generously equipped with its original acetylene Salisbury Flare headlamps and Rushmore ‘Automatic Shaking Grate’ generator and Salisbury sidelamps, all engraved with Darlington’s monogram. The car carries an AA Jubilee Badge 1905–1955 and, although not illustrated, comes with a hood and windscreen. The rear entrance tonneau coachwork comfortably accommodates two in the front seats and three or more in the rear and, we are told, vigorously tackles the LBVCR hills with a full complement of passengers.

    Y 182 is currently licenced and MoT tested and comes with a Swansea V5C registration document as well as substantial history files, notes and copies of period photographs. It comes also with Veteran Car Club Dating Certificate no.113.

    It should be noted that this car was manufactured probably in late 1905 or early 1906. The car has however completed sufficient London to Brighton Veteran Car Runs under its 1904 dating to qualify it ‘in spades’ for Grandfather Rights for continued use in this prestigious event.
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