1904 Rover 8HP

Very well known; historically important and outstandingly original; never known to have been offered for public sale; competed in many VCC events, including London - Brighton and other overseas rallies; presented and shown to Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex by our vendor during his 22-year ownership

By 1904, motoring in Britain was gaining traction as a means of practical transportation and this lovely old Rover was part of this very exciting period of history.

Initially known as the Starley Cycle Company, this soon evolved into the Rover Cycle Company, but seeing the opportunity arise for motorised transport, a four wheeled 8hp single-cylinder vehicle was introduced in 1904 - retailed for £200.

This lovely original example is thought to be the oldest surviving Rover in private ownership. The wire and bobbin steering also confirms it to be one of the 1904 models, the later ones having rack and pinion modern gadgetry fitted.

It is quite possible that the reviews of the day relate to this very car –
“Bexhill Meeting 1904 – The 8hp single-cylinder Rover beat all English and Continental Cars in its classes.”
“Sunrise Hill Competition 1904 – The 8hp single-cyclinder Rover made faster time than any other car of its HP or price” “Blackpool Meeting 1904 – Standing mile event. The 8hp single-cylinder Rover made better time than twenty other cars of greater HP ranging from 10hp to 20hp.” -Referred to by Daphne Bampton in ‘Rare and Exciting Cars’ when documenting BVV 2.

The exact whereabouts of this car between 1904 and the early 1920s is not known, but in 1921 it was acquired by garage proprietor, Mr.Ben Thorp of Cambridgeshire, we believe as a part-exchange. It was locked away in a shed and slowly made its way further into the shed with the resident chickens, hiding away until after WW2. It was exhumed by Mr William Bleet in 1946, who had taken over the business and needed to clear the decks. By this time, the car was nearly 50yrs old already and an important part of Rover history so who better to purchase it than Mr John Grose of Grose Holdings – the first firm in Britain to become Rover distributors.

The car was largely complete and original but was apparently missing a bonnet and the carburettor. Once the engine was stripped down, the roller bearings were also found to be unuseable. Never fear, we hear Mr Grose mumble, a bonnet was made, the VCC supplied a carburettor and the long standing stores manager at Grose, managed to find some original bearings.

Sooner or later, it was then registered BVV 2, fired up magnificently and took part in London – Brighton a significant number of times under the capable hands of Grose himself and the subsequent managing directors of Rover Cars, (including and not restricted to 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1974, shortly before being shown off at Earls Court on the Rover stand during the same year). Stored and exhibited at the Rover Museum at Solihull, BVV 2 was purchased from the Grose family by our vendor in 2000.

Initially recommissioned and subsequently meticulously maintained, it has recorded countless events including Brighton again in 2002, the Rover Golden Jubilee celebrations at Blenheim Palace and being presented to HRH The Earl of Wessex at Longbridge in 2003. The Brighton run was completed again in 2003, 2004 and 2009 along with many VCC Creepy Crawly rallies and Snail Trails. In 2007, a total mechanical restoration was completed by renowned specialist, Richard Peskett. European trips have also been completed, the most recent being in 2015 for the Royal VCC of Belgium, Circuit de l’Argonne.

This is no doubt an incredibly important part of British motoring history and although one other is known, currently statically displayed at Gaydon, the museum have publicly acknowledged to our vendor that BVV 2 “seems far more original than ours.”

Simply due to the age of the vehicle, it is impossible to list everything that has been done to the car over the years, but rest assured, the folder of paperwork is completely comprehensive and records every detail since 2000 and copious research papers going back to the 1950s.

Also in the office are official Dating Certificates from the VCC from 1950 and 1999, old gaskets, two boxes of valves, springs, trembler coil and associated spares, sidelights, inner tube, a cooling fan, some deep green leather and Masons deep bronze paint. Also included is a copy of ‘Joseph Grose and The Motor Car, A True Pioneer’ by Alan Burman and ‘Rare and Exciting Cars’ by Daphne Bampton.

A significant and rare opportunity to acquire the earliest known running and driving Rover motor car.

For more information  - contact toby.service@brightwells.com

Reg No: BVV2

Sale Section & Buyers Premium (ex VAT): Car 12%, Minimum £150

Estimate: £68,000-72,000

Lot 301

Lot ended

Thursday 23/06/2022

Hammer Price (inc. buyers premium)

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