1899 STAR 3½HP SINGLE-CYLINDER VIS-À-VIS
Bonhams | 04-Nov-2016 | London to Brighton Run Sale, Veteran Motor Cars and Related Automobilia | Venue : London, New Bond Street
Category : Classic Cars
Lot No. : 203
Year : 1899
Engine Size : -
Registration No. : Y 204
No longer available - Sold or withdrawn from sale
 
*Rare British make
*A many times London to Brighton Run participant
*Veteran Car Club dated
*Present ownership for 21 years
 

One of Britain's top six motor manufacturers prior to World War One, the Wolverhampton-based Star Motor Company produced its first automobile in 1898. A close neighbour of Sunbeam, the company had been founded by Edward Lisle Sr, proprietor of the Star Cycle Company that would later build its own Starling cars under the guidance of his son, Edward Jr. Star's first automobile was a built-under-license Benz, though it was manufactured entirely in Wolverhampton, which remained in production into 1902.
German engineer Carl Benz is credited with making the first internal combustion engined automobile that performed with any degree of success. By the turn of the 20th century Benz was producing the popular Velo, amongst other models, sales of which outstripped those of its other major European competitors. The Benz engine design, both in single- and twin-cylinder form, was licensed to other manufacturers, including Star. The basic Benz design was to influence car production for some 15 years from 1885 to 1900, until the arrival of the new Système Panhard and also De Dion-Bouton's fast revving vertical engines sounded its death knell.
Progressing from that first single-cylinder 3½hp Benz-based design, Star added twin- and four-cylinder cars to a diverse and expanding range of De Dion, Panhard, and Mercedes types, and built its first six in 1907. For the 1905 Gordon Bennett Cup, the firm built two monstrous 10.2-litre 70hp four-cylinder racers, based on the Mercedes Sixty, though neither was selected to take part.
Although technically un-adventurous in its early years, Star built up a deserved reputation for building luxuriously appointed and well constructed cars, aided by the fact that it made most of its parts, chassis frames excepted, in house.
This particular Star was ordered in 1899 and delivered to its first owner - the Reverend H Carpenter, Vicar of Compton Bishop, near Cheddar - on Mafeking Night, 17th May 1900. Correspondence on file would seem to indicate that 'Y 204' remained with the Carpenter family, in the possession of the Revered Carpenter's son, until circa 1930.
From the early 1930s until 1975, the Star was owned by the late Percy Allen of Desiree, Lympsham, Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, who was a VCC member and regularly used the car on London to Brighton runs. He also took the Star to the 1956 Le Mans 24 Hours Race and completed two parade laps of the circuit (see press cutting on file). Also on file is a copy of an article in Veteran & Vintage magazine (June 1961 edition), in which the Star is pictured ascending the Prescott hill climb course, Gloucestershire.
Following Mr Allen's death, the Star was sold on the instructions of his executors by Palmers Auctioneers of Weston-Super-Mare, who advertised it in the Sunday Times. The car was bought by Peter Griffin of Telford, who was at that time a member of the VCC Midland Committee.
In 1985, 'Y 204' was bought at auction by noted VCC member and collector Robin Loder, from whom it was purchased in 1990 by Derek Light, of Bath. The vendor purchased the Star in 1995 and it formed part of his collection of early veteran motor cars. Regularly campaigned on numerous VCC events, Brighton Runs and more often his chosen steed to visit local hostelries. Presented in delightful condition we are advised it is an easy starter being a pleasure to drive. Accompanying paperwork consists of the aforementioned documentation and a V5C registration Certificate.