The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 112
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT, 1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports
Registration no. GX 2281 Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14

€ 240,000 - 340,000
US$ 280,000 - 400,000
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT
1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports
Registration no. GX 2281
Chassis no. 14
Engine no. 14
‘The name of Alta may not have the aura of ERA, Maserati, Bugatti or Alfa Romeo, but nonetheless it holds an important niche in the history of British motor racing and was the result of the endeavours of one man.’ - Denis Jenkinson, Motor Sport.

The late Geoffrey Taylor was a small specialist manufacturer with a difference. Where others concocted hybrids from proprietary bits and pieces, he not only designed but also made every part of the Alta sports and competition models, even down to superchargers. The little Alta factory near the Kingston by-pass (only demolished in the early 1960s) was largely put up with his own hands. Alta design features included cast-iron wet liners, twin overhead camshafts with vertical shaft/skew gear drive, hemispherical combustion chambers and Nitralloy steel crankshafts. Light weight and low build were two of Taylor’s objectives, so the frame was under-slung and even the little 1100s wore 13” brake drums.

Though blown and un-blown 1,100s, 1500s and 2-litres were catalogued up to the outbreak of WW2, only very few cars were made: a fair estimate is four single-seater racers, six offset single-seater racers and 19 sports types. Post-WW2, engines were supplied to HWM and to Connaught, whose B-Type famously driven to victory by Tony Brooks in the 1955 Syracuse Grand Prix was Alta-powered.

Taylor’s prototype, registered ‘PK 4053’, was kept by him and used for publicity, development and competitions. ‘PK 4053’ still exists and was sold by Bonhams at Goodwood on 24th June 2005 (Lot 656). The first production Alta - car number ‘11’ - was sold to a Mr Last from Littlehampton in 1931 and was later recorded as ‘completely smashed and written off’. Alta number ‘12’ was delivered to Viscount Curzon, later to become The Rt Hon The Earl Howe CBE, DL, JP, who was patron of the Alta register. Number ‘13’ was an engine supplied to Ron Horton for his Horton Special. Fitted with an Amherst Villiers supercharger, this engine brought Alta its first major competition success when the Horton Special set a class record at Shelsey Walsh in 1932. Three more cars were completed and sold that year including number ‘14’, which we offer here. The third production Alta car, ‘14’ was purchased by a Mr J Ludovic Ford and is the actual car that raced at Le Mans and in the Ards TT in 1932. It is the only complete and original Alta 1,100cc two-seater sports-racer still in existence.

There were only another dozen-or-so cars built, but Taylor also completed another four engines. The first eight 1,100cc engines had camshaft drive by skew gears; number ‘14’ is believed to be the only car to still have it, later versions having changed first to spur gears and then to chain drive.

This car was specifically commissioned to race at the 1932 Le Mans 24 Hours by Ludovic Ford, who was entered with one N H Baumer as co-driver. Unfortunately, the team’s mechanics put oil instead of grease in the clutch thrust race and the car was forced to retire in the first hour suffering from incurable clutch slip. Crewed by Messrs Ford and Baumer, the Alta competed in the Ards TT in Ulster later in the year, where it crashed and was forced to retire. The engine still bears the RAC stamp given to it at this race.

In 1933 the car was sold to a Mr R F Fowell who used it regularly for 25 years, and his correspondence on file confirms this. The Alta next passed to a Mr T C Jackson (in 1958) and thence to a Mr N Harley before being acquired by Keith Eames in 1970. Mr Eames kept the car for the next 27 years. In a letter published in Motor Sport (June 1972 edition) Keith Eames recorded details of it specification, which included an engine block, crankcase and sump in magnesium; aluminium cylinder head; bronze valve seats; KE965 valves; and skew gear camshaft drive.

In September 1997, Alta number ‘14’ was purchased by Mr Ian Baxter, and there are invoices on file from Slark Race Engineering indicating that Mr Baxter commenced restoration of the engine. The car was sold to the current (German) owner in May 2003, and its restoration has been completed over the last 2½ years. Still fitted with its original engine and body, and retaining a wonderful patina, the car has been tested at the Nürburgring and is described by the private vendor as in ‘nearly perfect’ condition.
Alta number ‘14’ comes with a wonderful file of history containing copies of articles from Motor Sport, Autocar, Autosport, The Automobile and The Motor, together with a copy of the original production booklet and letters from previous owners. The car is photographed and reported in the book The Ards TT by the Ulster Vintage Car Club and J S Moore, and more recently has featured in the Austrian magazine Austro Classic (April 2004) and the German Motor Klassik (February 2008). It is offered with the aforementioned documentation, sundry restoration photographs, VSCC eligibility papers and (copy) UK Swansea V5 registration documents.

A very rare and important car, this wonderful piece of British motor racing history - now comprehensively restored and mechanically in excellent condition - would be eligible for the most prestigious historic events including the Le Mans Classic, Monaco, Mille Miglia, Goodwood and many more.




L’Alta « n° 14 » est accompagnée d’un magnifique dossier historique contenant les copies des articles publiés par Motor Sport, Autocar, Autosport, The Automobile et The Motor ainsi que la copie du registre de production original et des lettres des précédents propriétaires. La voiture figure dns l’ouvrage The Ards TT de l’Ulster Vintage Car Club et J. S. Moore et elle est apparue plus récemment dans le magazine autrichien Austro Classic (avril 2004) et dans Motor Klassik en Allemagne (février 2008). Elle est offerte avec la documentation décrite ci-dessus, diverse phots de sa restauration, ses papiers d’homologation du VSCC et, en copie, des documents d’immatriculation V5 de Swansea au Royaume-Uni.

Voiture rare et importante, cette pièce de l’histoire sportive britannique – totalement restaurée et en excellent état mécanique – est éligible dans les évènements historiques les plus prestigieux (Le Mans Classic, Monaco, Mille Miglia, Goodwood, etc.)
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
The Le Mans 24 Hours, Ards TT,1932 Alta 1,100cc Two-Seater Sports  Chassis no. 14 Engine no. 14
Auction information

This sale is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future sales, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this sale, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

Like the vast majority of auctioneers Bonhams charge what is known as a Buyer's Premium. Buyer's Premium on all Automobilia lots will adhere to Bonhams group policy:

25% up to £50,000 of hammer price,
20% from £50,001 to £1,000,000 of hammer price,
and 12% on the balance thereafter. This applies to each lot purchased and is subject to VAT.

For Motor Cars and Motorcycles a 15% Buyer's Premium is payable on the first £50,000 of the final Hammer Price of each Lot, and 12% on any amount by which the Hammer Price exceeds £50,000. VAT at the standard rate is payable on the Premium by all Buyers, unless otherwise stated.

Some lots may be subject to VAT on the Hammer Price. These lots will be clearly marked with the relevant symbol printed beside the lot number in the catalog.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

App