1912 Lanchester

1912 Lanchester Model 25 Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 3, 2023

Photo – Bonhams

Lanchesters, especially early cars, bore some unconventional designs. Like someone smashed the front end in and pushed it back a couple of feet. The Lanchester 25 was produced between 1912 and 1914 and is one of those designs. Where is the engine at!?

Well, it’s in the cockpit, that’s where, stationed between the driver and passenger seat. It’s a front-mid-engined design, like a first-gen Ford Econoline. The engine is a 3.1-liter inline-four. It’s water cooled, with the radiator out front… but behind the front axle.

This is the only known example of this model that still exists. Restored in the 1980s and ’90s, the car has been in the same family for the last 40+ years. It’s a old car rally veteran and has an estimate of $175,000-$195,000. Click here for more info.

Lanchester LE27

1945 Lanchester LE27 All-Weather Tourer by Vanden Plas

Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Broadway, U.K. | August 4, 2023

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

The Lanchester brothers were some of the earliest Britons to start working on cars. They took a big swing in 1928 on a new luxury car, but it would be their undoing, and the company was acquired by Daimler in 1931.

Daimler pretty quickly started selling badge-engineered Lanchesters that were just Daimlers with Lanchester badges on them. There was a Maharaja in India who was a big Lanchester fan, and at the end of World War II, he wanted to get his hands on some new cars after a few dry years.

In 1946, Daimler introduced their DE27, and for the Maharaja, four Lanchester versions were commissioned and dubbed LE27. These were powered by a 4.0-liter inline-six. Two of the four were bodied by Vanden Plas in all-weather tourer form, including this car here, which returned to the U.K. around the 1980s. It was restored in the 2000s/2010s in its original colors.

This one has an estimate of $50,000-$65,000. More info can be found here.

Lanchester Straight Eight

1929 Lanchester 30HP Straight Eight Landaulette

Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Broadway, U.K. | August 4, 2023

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

After World War One, Lanchester decided to focus on building one great model at a time. Their cars were expensive and cross-shopped against the likes of Rolls-Royce. In 1928 they introduced the 30HP Straight Eight, the last car designed by company co-founder George Lanchester.

It was powered by a 4.4-liter inline-eight rated at 30 horsepower. This car is bodied as a landaulette, with a rear convertible portion for the passengers. The timing of this grand car was not great, and the economic downturn spoiled the party. Just 126 were produced before Lanchester was sold to Daimler in 1930.

Restored years ago, this car represents an opportunity to acquire a car that is rarely seen. And it’s already ready to use. The estimate is $36,000-$44,000. Click here for more info.

A Long, Low Lanchester

1915 Lanchester Sporting Forty Torpedo Tourer

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 4, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

The Lanchester Motor Company was founded by Frederick, George, and Frank Lanchester, a trio of brothers who built their first car in 1895. The company was acquired by BSA in 1930, and it wound up as part of Daimler, which came under the control of Jaguar in 1960. But by that time, the Lanchester marque had been discontinued for five years.

This car is very striking. Early Lanchesters were kind of funky looking, with the driver more or less sitting over the engine, no front hood, and an upright radiator directly in front of the passenger compartment, which was still rearward of the front axle. It was… awkward.

The Sporting Forty was introduced near the end of 1913. It had a more conventional layout, with the engine moved forward in the chassis. Imagine a company bragging about that today. It’s powered by a 5.5-liter inline-six. Just six were built before WWI broke out. In 1919, the “40” was re-introduced, but it was a somewhat different car.

This example was Lanchester’s demonstrator and is the only remaining Sporting Forty. A restoration was completed around 2004. Bonhams has an estimate of $200,000-$245,000 on it. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $256,286.

Lanchester Straight Eight

1932 Lanchester 30HP Straight Eight

Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot, U.K. | May 15, 2021

Photo – Historics Auctioneers

The Lanchester Motor Company was founded in 1899 by the three Lanchester brothers: George, Frederick, and Frank. They sold their first cars in 1901, and the company was acquired by BSA in 1931. The last cars were produced in 1955, and the brand name was acquired by Jaguar in 1960 and has remained with the Jag through its various acquisitions.

The 30HP Straight Eight was designed by George Lanchester and was sold between 1929 and 1932. Power is from a 4.4-liter SOHC inline-eight rated at 30 taxable horsepower. As we all know, 1929 was a poor year to launch a high-end new car (see Duesenberg; also see Lanchester’s subsequent 1931 takeover by BSA).

Only 126 examples of the Straight Eight were built. This one was re-bodied in the 1960s in its current style and is one of the final examples produced. The pre-sale estimate is $97,000-$111,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Update: Sold, Bonhams Beaulieu 2022, $68,761.

Bonhams Mercedes-Benz World Highlights

Bonhams recently held sale at Mercedes-Benz World in Weybridge, Surrey (on the 1st of December, 2011), featured a few interesting sales. Foremost among them was the 1953 Austin-Healey 100S Prototype that was involved in the infamous wreck at the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans. The car was being driven by Lance Macklin who swerved to avoid a Mike Hawthorn’s Jaguar D-Type that was entering the pits. Pierre Levegh in a Mercedes-Benz 300SLR struck the rear of this Healey and was launched into the crowd, killing 83, including Levegh. The car’s infamy definitely played a part in it reaching a hammer price of $1.3 million – especially as it was sold in “barn find” condition seen here:

Other highlights include the red Maserati Quattroporte we featured a few weeks ago, selling for $80,000, falling right in the middle of the pre-sale estimate. Also sold was this super unusual 1912 Lanchester 38hp Detachable Open Drive Limousine for just over $130,000.

The car was owned by a Maharajah – as it seems more and more early British motorcars are – especially those with outlandish or highly unusual bodywork. The fixed roof over the rear passengers is completely removable on this car. The wheelbase is ridiculous and the whole front of the car looks like it was smashed backwards by about five feet. Unusual indeed.

I’ve decided that we’re going to give special mention to the final lot in every sale, as that lot usually tends to not be the most valuable or unusual car sold. It’s kind of overlooked. Like Mr. Irrelevant (the last pick in the annual NFL draft). For this sale it was a 2001 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante very similar (but not exact) to the one below.

As far as I’m concerned, this is one of the most beautiful cars of all time. It’s an extraordinarily pretty car and this one was dark blue with tan interior and had 63,000 miles on the odometer. It sold for almost $47,000 with buyer’s premium.

For complete results, check Bonhams’ website here.