World’s Oldest Surviving Rolls-Royce Previews at Bonhams

Rolls-Royce is synonymous with luxury motorized travel. It is a brand name recognized the world over with a 103-year-old history and star-studded client list to match.

Built in 1904 – the year Rolls-Royce was founded – this car is the only Rolls-Royce qualifying on the basis of its pre-1905 date eligible to take part in the prestigious London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. This is the first time the car has ever been offered on the open market since 1904 and has been in the same UK private ownership for the past 30 years.

Car no. 20154 was first exhibited at The Paris Salon in the late Autumn of 1904. Rolls-Royce records confirm delivery from the Manchester Works in November that year. The car was displayed at the Olympia Show in London in February 1905. During the same year it is recorded that a Dr Briggs briefly owned the car – perhaps on trial – and it then passed to Kenneth Gillies of Tain in Scotland. Car no. 20154 was later acquired by Percy Binns of Harrogate, Yorkshire, and in 1950 was discovered in Yorkshire in a forlorn state with modified coachwork. Enthusiast Oliver Langton – a speedway rider of some repute – restored the car meticulously to running condition.

Appropriately, no. 20154 returns to Olympia, London, after some 102 years, to head the line-up of highly important collectors motor cars and automobilia to be sold by Bonhams on 3 December 2007.

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