Arrol-Johnston Dogcart

1902 Arrol-Johnston 10/12HP Dogcart

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | October 30, 2020

Photo – Bonhams

This is London-to-Brighton royalty. Arrol-Johnston produced the first car in Britain, and the company was named after George Johnston and William Arrol. They were based in Scotland, and many of their early vehicles were “dogcarts” (which is a type of carriage). They looked like this, and by 1902, they were pretty old-school (they continued to sell this 1895 design until 1906!).

More modern cars followed, and the company limped along into the 1920s before merging with the French Aster to form Arrol-Aster. They then concentrated on sleeve-valved engines until going out of business for good in 1931.

The wood-bodied car is powered by a flat-twin that made 10 horsepower. This very car has completed 10 London-to-Brighton runs and is a very distinctive car on the run. It is expected to sell for between $100,000-$160,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $126,798.

The Oldest British Car

1894 Santler 3½HP Dogcart

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 3, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

And now on to the most interesting sale of the year, Bonhams’ London-to-Brighton sale. It never disappoints, this year especially. What you’re looking at here is believed to be the oldest surviving car built in Britain. The Santler brothers, Charles and Walter, were building bicycles in the 1880s in Worcestershire. They completed their first vehicle, a steam car, in 1889.

Unfortunately there were some weird laws on the books in 1889 and two-seat self-propelled cars were illegal. So they parked their experimental vehicle and only came back to it a few years later when they took the chassis (this one) and installed a two-cylinder gasoline engine. It was used briefly and wasn’t rescued until the 1930s. A fan of old cars bought it in the 1950s and restored it, using a period-correct 3.5 horsepower single-cylinder Benz engine, which it still carries today.

The Santlers built a few one-off cars up through 1922 which included a brief run of cars they actually offered for sale. This may be the only surviving example from Santler and with its chassis dating to 1889, it’s one of the oldest cars in the world. It has been prepped and is ready to take part in this year’s London-to-Brighton run. As a piece of history, it should bring between $260,000-$330,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.