Bonhams | 04-Nov-2016 | London to Brighton Run Sale, Veteran Motor Cars and Related Automobilia | Venue : London, New Bond Street
Category : Automobilia
Lot No. : 22
£ 8,000 - 10,000 Estimate
The 1,000 Mile Trial lasted from 23 to 12 May, starting and finishing in London and taking in Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Derby, Kendal, Carlisle, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield, and Nottingham en route. There were speed tests and hill-climbs included in the competition. Sixty-five competitors started the race, of whom 35 returned to London. Overall the most successful entrant was C.S. Rolls in his 12-hp Panhard (he also entered a Daimler driven by J.A. Hodder). The Panhard was awarded the gold medal for the best car in any class.

a series of seventeen autographed letters signed (15 pages 8vo, 9 on correspondence cards), a few signed with initials, with four envelopes, all from South Lodge, Rutland Gate, London, November 1899 to October 1901 (thus principally dated 1900), with two signed receipts, five carbon copy letters and three secretarially-signed letters, a small group of photographs and further motoring material. CORRESPONDENCE:- written before Rolls formed his motor company, C.S. Rolls & Co. in 1903, and before he met Henry Royce (on 4 May 1904), is largely concerned with Mercer's purchase of a Peugeot car, Rolls being an enthusiast for the French manufacturer, having imported 3.75-hp Peugeot into England in 1896, becoming one of the first English motorists. The letters show that Rolls was on friendly terms with Mercer, and frequently invited him dinner, he also made much use of him as a photographer, asking for copies of prints, of motor cars and on one occasion of a picture taken at the funeral of Queen Victoria. The purchase of Mercer's Peugeot was quite long drawn out affair, with frequent references to the preferred ignition system (hot tube or electric) and to other technical matters including the deliberate frangibility of a key component designed to fail in some circumstances 'when car going astern'), although Rolls appears to have forgotten Mercer's preferences on the ignition front from time to time. On one occasion he invites Mercer to visit him and adds that 'an inner tube and oil' would await him. Also under discussion were the usual matters of the size and type of tyres to be fitted or prepared for, and the inevitable question of the colour. It is also evident that Rolls was acting as agent for the sale of the car, and there are various references to the financial aspect, and receipts signed by Rolls for various sums. Rolls also tells his friend of his own activities, notably his intention to take part in the Paris-Toulouse race 'on the new Napier', and invites Mercer and a friend to view his stables (horses still being an important part of his life, as was yachting, which also gets a mention); PHOTOGRAPHS:- three of Rolls driving three different cars, mounted on card, two annotated in pencil on reverse by Mercer; two others of Chauffeur (possibly Mercer) driving 'An old Panhard / Property of Hon. C.S. Rolls'; RELATED MATERIAL:- Facsimile letter from Lord & Lady Llangattock, Rolls's parents, thanking Mercer for condolences on the death of their son, 23 July 1910 (he died 12 July, the first Briton to be killed in a powered aircraft); two long letters and two cards from C[harles] R[oberts] D'Esterre (c. 1876-1943) an associated of Rolls, discussing problems with his (Peugeot) car; receipt for a œ1 8s 6d speeding find incurred by Mercer ('exceeding 10 mile limit in Richmond Road'), April 1906. Long TLS with manuscript insertions and corrections to Mercer from C[laude] Johnson, 1-1/2 pages folio, The Automobile Club, 18 April 1900. Giving detailed instruction for marshalling Section 2, Classes A, B and C (private owners) at the start of the 1,000 Mile Trial from Grosvenor Place. Together with a (blank) 'Joint Report of Timekeepers', headed 'Red Flag Control', 6 pages, and two further 'Red Flag' instruction sheets, one giving directions for stopping vehicles and the other (blank) to be completed by the marshal(s).

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