The oldest functioning British motorcar – an 1894 Santler 3½ HP Dogcart – will be on offer at the Bonhams London to Brighton Run Sale 2017.
The 123-year-old 1894 Santler 3½ HP Dogcart on offer at the Bonhams London to Brighton Run Sale in November 2017 is considered the oldest still fully functional British made car in the world. The car was originally steam powered but currently runs on a 3 ½ HP Benz water-cooled engine. The Santler is eligible to participate in the 2017 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run the weekend after the sale, an event it last participated in in 1986.
Bonhams London to Brighton Sale 2017
The annual Bonhams London to Brighton Sale will be held on 3 November 2017 at Bonhams flagship saleroom on New Bond Street, London, UK. This annual sale traditionally takes place just before the famous London to Brighton Veteran Car Run held on the first weekend of November.
The Bonhams London to Brighton Run Sale of Veteran Cars and Related Automobilia is an ideal venue to pick up a car that may participate in the famous race. Only cars built before 1905 are eligible and some cars on offer in the sale are ready to race the following weekend.
1894 Santler 3½ HP Dogcart
The 1894 Santler 3½ Dogcart, estimate £200,000 to £250,000, is not the most-expensive, the most-practical or indeed the most-desirable car on offer at the Bonhams London to Brighton Run Sale 2017 but it considered the oldest still fully functional British-made car.
The 1894 Santler 3½ Dogcart dates back an astonishing 123 years, making it the oldest British car still in full working condition in the world. The veteran machine was built by Charles and Walter Santler, a pair of brothers living and working in Malvern, Worcestershire. They initially made bicycles, steam engines and water wheels before mounting a small wheeled frame to a vertical boiler and creating a steam-powered vehicle in 1887.
The brothers ran the vehicle on the road, but the car’s wooden chassis could only support two out of the three crew members legally required by the ‘Red Flag Act’ of 1865 and their project was abandoned.
In the early 1890s, the chassis was retrieved and fitted with a gas engine, but this too failed as the low power output and limited range proved impractical for travelling even short distances. Finally, a petrol engine was installed before the car was laid up for several years.
The vehicle was re-discovered in the 1930s by a Mr John Mills, who interviewed Charles Santler and noted down the history of the car. Sadly, much of the documentation was lost during the war, but the car itself miraculously survived undamaged. In the 1950s, the car was painstakingly and immaculately restored, and was fitted with a 3½ Benz engine.
Surviving 19th century British motorcars are extraordinarily rare, and one that still runs is rarer still. The Santler comes with arranged entry to the London to Brighton Run, meaning that it could be purchased on Friday and driven all the way to the coast by the weekend.