On the 2nd November a 1904 Wilson-Pilcher 4 seater is to be auctioned by Bonhams in London before the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. It was built by the inventor of the first tank and is expected to realise between £180,000 to £220,000.
Walter Wilson was born in Ireland in 1874 and had an interest in aviation that spread out to anything to do with automotives. He initially worked on developing an aero engine until his friend and work colleague Percy Pilcher died in a flying accident. He then set up a business making Wilson-Pilcher cars initially operating from London but later moving to Newcastle upon Tyne that was where the above car was manufactured.
The Armed Forces started to investigate armoured vehicles for fighting in the First World War and Wilson was transferred to the experiments. Together with William Tritton, the first British tank known as Little Willie was created and went into use in September 1915.
After the war he used his knowledge about gears that were used in various armoured vehicles, marine launches and buses in Coventry. He died in 1957.
The 1904 Wilson-Pilcher, coming up for auction, is in dark blue and has black leather seats. It was used originally as a fire tender but was then renovated in the later part of the 1940’s to early 1950’s by apprentices at the company. It had a 12/16 hp engine. At a later date Wilson’s son received it as a present since which time it has been passed through the family.
Over the years it has been on display at the likes of the Tank Museum that is located in Dorset.
It has taken part in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run on a number of occasions over the years since first going out in 1952. In 1961 it featured on the rear cover of the event programme.
There will be several other classic cars coming up for auction at the event such as a 1904 Wolseley 12 hp Twin-cylinder Tonneau with an estimated price of between £100,000 to £150,000.