When it comes to racing cars, the 1914 Peugeot L45 is the daddy. Poppy McKenzie Smith explores the Bothwell Collection

In early November, Bonhams will offer the astonishing collection of the late Lindley Bothwell, pioneering collector of veteran and vintage motor cars. At one time, Bothwell had the largest private collection of motor cars, trams and horse-drawn carriages in America, all of which he kept on his sprawling California ranch. Loath to let any of his acquisitions fall into disrepair, he would encourage his friends
to borrow cars and race against him. It was not unusual for starting grids to be made up entirely of Bothwell vehicles.

The star of his collection is the great- grandfather of all racing cars, the 4.5-liter 1914 Peugeot L45. Unlike the Ford Model T, which was considered outmoded a mere 20 years after its conception, the L45's dual overhead camshaft engine was a revelation that spawned
a lineage still in existence today. Its successors are now seen in everything from Formula 1 cars tearing up Eau Rouge to economy hybrids placidly cruising the motorway.

Poppy McKenzie Smith is Press Officer at Bonhams

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