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Lot 611: 1900 Benz Ideal 3 1/2hp Dos-�-Dos Spindle-back Four-seater

Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles, Bonhams (3 December 2007)

The first internal combustion-engined car which performed with any degree of success is generally attributed to German engineer Carl Benz and was a spindly three-wheeler with massive horizontally-mounted engine. Following Carl Benz�s first faltering run in that car in the Autumn of 1885 the German Press wrote, �this engine � v�locipede will make a strong appeal to a large circle, as it should prove itself quite practical and useful to doctors, travellers and lovers of sport.� This first effort developed not less than 0.9hp giving a top speed approaching 8mph. By 1892 Benz cars had four wheels and the V�locipede (V�lo) introduced in 1894 had a single-cylinder engine developing 1.5hp. The V�lo was the best selling car of its day and engine refinements resulted in 3 1/2hp being developed by 1895 or so. This highly successful 3 1/2hp engine was to remain the backbone of production for Benz cars through to 1900. Benz had many imitators and their products were built under licence by other European manufacturers such as Hurtu, Star and Marshall. The basic Benz design was to influence motor car production from 1885 to 1900 and only the arrival of the new �Syst�me Panhard� and also De Dion Bouton�s fast-revving vertical engines was to sound its deathknell. This Ideal model, a refinement on the V�lo theme, features the then highly fashionable Dos-�-Dos body styling, borrowing much from horsedrawn carriage design with smaller front wheels and large rear wheels. The Dos-�-Dos design comfortably accommodated four passengers and the vertical tiller steering was surprisingly precise and light, although the driver of such a vehicle needs more than the normal complement of hands to manipulate the car to perfection. The Ideal of 1900 also featured an intermediary mechanical gearbox in the belt and chain final drive system. Solid tyres were still the order of the day in 1900 but suspension was good with full elliptic front and rear springing and also a full elliptic transverse front spring. Ignition was by trembler coil and lighting by candle lamps, in this case by Aquilas Ferrara, Fratelli Santini.

This particularly attractive Victorian motor car is presented in dark green livery with old gold coachlining. It has been known to the Veteran Car Club for many years and a dashboard plaque records renovation by pioneer veteran car restorer H F Welham of Surbiton in 1954 � one of many cars to pass through the hands of that noted enthusiast and restorer. Later restoration has been carried out in more recent years while in overseas ownership in a major collection. The car returned to these shores two or three years ago and is U.K. registered. It participated in the 2006 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run and prospective buyers should note that this car has the valuable advantage of being an early starter on the London to Brighton Run, almost certainly qualifying to leave in the first batch of 50 cars, thus facilitating a more easy run through the London traffic and timely arrival at Madeira Drive. The car is MoT tested to March 2008 and licenced to February next year and comes with certification of authenticity from the Society of Automotive Historians in Britain and the Science Museum in London. It is also officially dated by the V.C.C. (Certificate no.413).

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles
Bonhams, Olympia, London,
Lot Number611
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£120000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£133500
Condition rating0
Registration numberBS 8428
Chassis number2267A
Engine number2595
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors