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Lot 346: Aster 21/60 Tourer Project

The Beaulieu Sale, Bonhams (7 September 2013)

The British-built Aster originated in 1922 when what had been the Begbie Manufacturing Company of Wembley, North London began making cars under that name, having been licensed to make Aster engines since the mid-1900s. Originally known as 'Aster-Wembley', the British based enterprise became the Aster Engineering Company in 1913 and during The Great War produced aero engines. With the war over, its proprietor Sydney D Begbie Begbie, like many other engineering entrepreneurs on both sides of the Channel, was forced to diversify in the face of a sudden decline in demand for his wartime products. Like Andé Citroën in France he turned to motor manufacturing, introducing the first British-built Aster motor car in 1922. Aster's first offering was the luxurious 18/50hp model, which was powered by a 2.6-litre overhead-valve six-cylinder engine coupled to a four-speed gearbox. Priced at £605, the Aster was a very exclusive purchase. The Duke of York, later King George VI, was the most high-profile among a growing list of discerning clients. In 1924 the Aster engine was enlarged to 2,890cc for the 20/55 model, and then to 3,042cc in 1926 for the 21/60, which was offered alongside the sleeve valve-engined 24/70. In 1927 Aster merged with Arrol-Johnston. Production moved to the latter's factory at Dumfries and the marque name changed to Arrol-Aster. This reorganisation was not enough to save the firm and in 1929 the receivers were called in, though production did not finally end for another 18 months. It is estimated that prior to the move to Scotland only some 170-or-so Aster motor cars had been built. One of only two Asters known to survive, this open tourer was bought from respected dealer Jeremy Wade of Shropshire in May 1995 having previously been in the USA. The rationale was that as the present owner already had the Coupé, they might as well buy the Tourer and restore it - bearing in mind no other Asters appear to exist. Some work was undertaken, notably to the chassis, engine, running gear and body while the suspension, paint and interior still require attention. All brightwork with the Aster has already been re-plated. The car is offered with a ring-bound folder containing USA-related history, MoTs from early the 1990s, copies of manufacturer's brochures, a list of models and technical specifications, Swansea V5C document and copy of Mr Wade's purchase invoice.

Lot Details
Auction The Beaulieu Sale
Bonhams, Hampshire, UK
TypeCar
Lot Number346
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£15000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£17250
Year1927
Condition rating5
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis numberG261S263
Engine number5927WS381
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors