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Lot 689: 1936 Lanchester Type E 18hp Wingham Cabriolet
Coachwork by Martin Walter Ltd. of Folkstone

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

Affectionately known as ‘The Holy Trinity’, the Lanchester brothers, Fred, George and Frank were pioneers in the development of the motor car in England, each adding a different brand of genius to the triumvirate. No-one can accuse the Lanchester brothers of following convention, their cars being at once quirky and individual. Early models featured wick carburettors – (and one wonders why!) – tiller steering was to continue long after the wheel became the norm for others, and cantilever suspension gave Lanchester cars a ride unequalled in the industry. Epicyclic transmission was preferred. Their cars were rarely sold in chassis form, from the outset Lanchester setting the pace in manufacturing the complete car, including coachwork, in house. They commanded unswerving loyalty from their customers and found a particular niche market with Indian Maharajahs.

By the 1930s Lanchester had succumbed to the ravages of recession and had become part of the giant B.S.A. empire, Lanchester models being produced alongside similar Daimler models in what was little more than a badge-engineering exercise. Nevertheless the marque retained its loyal devotees, among these King George himself. The Type E 18hp of 1936 was a fine six-cylinder car featuring both pre-selector gearbox and B.S.A.’s fluid flywheel. Perhaps like Armstrong-Siddeley, Lanchester was to cling too long to vintage traditions, targeting the difficult middle market while others forged ahead in the economy and super-luxury markets.

This rare 18hp survivor of a model produced in small numbers carries elegant Wingham Cabriolet coachwork by Martin Walter Ltd. of Folkstone. Martin Walter were to build similar coachwork on Daimler and Vauxhall models. The roomy four-door coachwork is attractively liveried in blue, retaining original blue leather upholstery to the interior. Although little used in the present long term private ownership, and perhaps therefore rewarding careful re-commissioning, the car will be offered with a recently issued MOT certificate and comes with a Swansea registration document and old style log book.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles
Bonhams, Olympia, London,
Lot Number689
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£10000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£11500
Condition rating
Registration numberDGN 253
Chassis number
Engine number74815
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors