1909 Little Briton  Chassis no. HH 47

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Lot 420
1909 Little Briton
Coachwork by Briton Registration no. IT 442 Chassis no. HH 47

£ 16,000 - 20,000
US$ 20,000 - 25,000
1909 Little Briton
Coachwork by Briton

Registration no. IT 442
Chassis no. HH 47
Oldest of five remaining twin-cylinder Britons
Delivered new to Ireland
Barn stored for 40 years
Sympathetically re-commissioned


This ultra-rare Edwardian reappeared in 2015 for the first time in 40 years. It was manufactured by The Briton Motor Company, which had taken over Star's smaller and cheaper models in 1909. In receivership in 1922, Briton was purchased by Charles A Weight, proprietor of a company called Tractor Spares Ltd, but ceased trading in 1928.
Dated by the Veteran Car Club as built in 1909, chassis number 'HH 47' is the oldest of the five remaining twin-cylinder Britons. The car was delivered new to Ireland where it was actively rallied by one T R Hinds throughout the 1950s. In the 1960s the car was sold to Charles Weight Junior, son of the Tractor Spares founder, and used in promotional films. By the early 1970s, the Briton had passed to Andrew Wills; it was displayed in his Wessex Machinery Museum at Barton Stacey, Winchester and occasionally trailered to shows. When the museum's contents were auctioned in May 1976, the Briton was among the handful of cars not included; it would remain in barn storage until its acquisition by the current vendor in 2015.
Found to be virtually complete and very original, the Briton has been treated to a comprehensive re-commissioning, which deliberately avoided over restoration in the interests of preserving the car's patina of age. Works carried out include removing the body from the chassis and repainting both; overhauling the magneto; repairing the fuel tank; flushing the radiator; feeding the leather upholstery; repairing and re-plating the headlights; and having a new mohair hood made. The engine, gearbox, and differential were all dismantled, checked, re-assembled and refilled with oil, there being little wear evident. Remarkably, the wheels were found to be in perfect condition, there being no woodworm in them or in the body's ash frame. Accompanying paperwork consists of a copy of the VCC dating certificate and a V5 registration document.
A full account of this Briton's history and restoration, written by motoring historian Michael Ware, is scheduled for publication in a forthcoming edition of The Automobile.
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1909 Little Briton  Chassis no. HH 47
1909 Little Briton  Chassis no. HH 47
1909 Little Briton  Chassis no. HH 47
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