Wed, 26th May 2021 13:00

Imperial War Museum Duxford

Lot 109

1939 Mercury Eight Series 99A Estate Car
Commissioned by Sir Malcolm Campbell and later owned by George Formby

Sold for £29,812

(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: GVM 926
Chassis No: 99AF98810
MOT: Exempt

  • Supplied new to Sir Malcolm Campbell who commissioned Windovers to create its unique Estate Car body complete with rear seats that fold into the floor to provide a sleeping platform
  • Sold by Campbell to the legendary George Formby who used it during an ENSA tour with the Eighth Army (August - October 1943)
  • Thereafter the property of Earl Peel, Bill Logan (president of the George Formby Society), hotelier Mr Deakin, Bobby McIntyre's Sorn Castle Collection, Keith Schellenberg and Graham Greenwell prior to entering the current family ownership in 2008
  • Incredibly rich history and worthy of a place in a museum or major collection

An upmarket derivative of the Ford V8 Deluxe, the Mercury Eight was targeted by Ford at Oldsmobile, Dodge and Hudson owners. Launched in 1939, the first series was replaced in 1941 with the second series Mercury Eight. Three series of Mercury Eight in total were offered until the model’s replacement with the Monterey in 1952.

A ‘hands on’ director of Lincoln Cars Ltd, Sir Malcolm Campbell MBE kept Blue Bird K4 (his World Water Speed Record achieving boat) at the company’s Brentford premises on London’s Great West Road. Well known to the senior Ford hierarchy on both sides of the Atlantic, he was able to secure a brand new, ‘overseas market’ example of the Mercury Eight Series 99A upon its 1939 launch (Lincoln and Mercury were both Ford subsidiaries). Intending it to serve as a Crew Bus for his Blue Bird escapades, Campbell despatched the Mercury to Windovers of The Hyde, Hendon. As well as fitting a voluminous Estate Car body, the famous coachbuilder ensured the rear seats folded into the floor to provide a sleeping area. That way, Campbell’s mechanics could take it in turns to get some rest while burning the midnight oil during one of his record-breaking adventures. Ever one to pursue an advantage, Campbell also had the Mercury Eight’s front suspension modified by Leslie Ballamy. Unfortunately, World War Two intervened before Campbell could use his bespoke Series 99A as intended.

A ferry pilot for the Royal Flying Corps in World War One, Campbell was deemed too old for frontline service when global hostilities resumed during September 1939. He nevertheless remained committed to the Armed Forces serving with both the Military Police and General Service Corps. Introduced to George Formby, then the UK’s best paid star, and learning of his promised trip to North Africa with the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA), Campbell soon convinced him of the Mercury’s merits. Entrusted to REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers), the Estate Car was modified for desert work with a new livery, larger wheels / tyres and partially painted-out windows to lessen the sun’s glare. Formby took pains to familiarise himself with the Series 99A and was seen driving around Singleton for weeks before embarking upon a massive 53-day ENSA tour in August 1943 that encompassed Italy, Sicily, Malta, Gibraltar, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon and Palestine.

As well as providing accommodation for Formby and his wife Beryl, the Mercury was equipped with a ‘lean to’ tent for his pianist and valet or the occasional show girl to shelter in. By the time the ukulele-strumming star returned to England in October, he had entertained 750,000 troops, traversed a minefield, dined with Field Marshall Bernard Law Montgomery (‘Monty’) and been named the Eighth Army’s mascot.

A serial Rolls-Royce and Bentley owner, Formby sold the Estate Car to Earl Peel of Hyning Hall, Lancaster in 1946 who promptly had it road registered as ‘GVM 926’. A fixture on the Peel Estate up until the Earl’s death twenty-three years later, the Series 99A primarily served as transport for grouse shooting parties. Briefly belonging to William Logan – the first president of the George Formby Society – the Mercury then spent much of the 1970s ferrying guests around for Mr Deakin, a Lake District hotelier. Joining the burgeoning Sorn Castle collection in 1977 - which housed everything from a Sherman Tank to a De Tomaso Pantera Gp4 racer via Aston Martins, Bentleys, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Lancias and some wild American Muscle Cars – the Estate Car underwent a degree of restoration such as the fitment of a correct-type replacement 3.9 litre V8 engine.

Participating in a variety of historic military vehicle events including a sortie to Holland during 1986, the Series 99A was offered for sale by Sotheby’s two years later when the premature death of Bobby McIntyre, Lord Sorn’s son, prompted the collection’s dispersal. The Mercury’s next owner was British businessman Keith Schellenberg who was variously known to the public for participating in the 1956 and 1964 Winter Olympics, rolling a Vintage Bentley on the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon and his contentious ownership of the Scottish Isle of Eigg. After five years of polite refusal, collector Graham Greenwell finally convinced Schellenberg to part with the Estate Car during 1995. The subject of a two-page article in Classic Car Weekly the following year, ‘GVM 926’ was enthusiastically used and improved by Mr Greenwell until 2008 when it was sold to the vendors’ late father, Mike Ebeling, for £30,000.

Renowned in historic military vehicle circles for the quality and accuracy of his restoration work, the late Mr Ebeling decided that the Series 99A was not to his exacting standards. Dry stored awaiting a ground-up refurbishment that never happened, he had got as far as stripping ancillaries and minor parts off the Mercury before ill health intervened. There can be few cars with such a rich back story. Unique in so many ways, not the least of which is its bespoke Windovers coachwork, this historic Mercury is surely worthy of a return to its former glory and a place in a museum or major collection. Offered for sale with history file including copy correspondence between Sir Malcolm Campbell and Leslie Ballamy, a wealth of George Formby related literature and Sotheby’s Sorn Castle catalogue etc.

For more information, please contact:
Damian Jones
07855 493737


All successful bids must be paid in full by midday the day after the auction at the latest.

You can collect your new pride and joy from our venue until 1pm the day following the sale or our partners are on hand to help arrange safe transportation:


Auction: Imperial War Museum Duxford, Wed, 26th May 2021

Imperial War Museum
CB22 4QR

About Imperial War Museum    


Tuesday 25th May from 12pm to 6pm
Wednesday 26th May 2021 from 9am

12.5% (plus VAT @ 20%)

Click here to view the Catalogue

View all lots in this sale

Do you have an item to sell?

If so, contact one of our friendly specialists for your free valuation by completing the form below and someone will get back to you as quickly as possible.

If you prefer to speak to humans, don't hesitate to call our office on +44 (0)1925 210035

Contact Us Today!



Drag and drop .jpg images here to upload, or click here to select images.

A Car That Has Stayed In Production For 86 Years And Is Still Selling. A 1989 Citroen 2CV6 Dolly
Love Affairs With Bentley's Last Decades - Two Much Loved Bentleys Go On Sale
Stunning Classic Cars Achieved A £2.2 Million Record Sale
National Motorcycle Museum - Auction Highlights Video
Vincents Dominate At H&H Classic Bike And Scooter Auction At The National Motorcycle Museum
Pavilion Gardens, Buxton. An Auction Of Classic And Collector Cars, July 27th
An Auction of Classic & Collector Motorcars - Wednesday 27th July 2022 from 1pm
Over 230 Classic Motorcycles and 50 Vintage Scooters Heading To Auction
The Best Suzuki Katana On The Market
Exquisitely Restored Rare WW2 Military Bike Complete With Gasmask
And Now For Something Completely Different. A Homage To The Morgans Of The 1930's
Three Bikes With Stories To Tell
Dozens Of Stunning Classic Cars Are Heading To Auction At 'No Reserve'
Don't Trash That Triumph!
Top Picks For The H&H Classic Bike Sale
Classic 1976 Jaguar XJ-C Sold For £40,000 To Aid The Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal At IWM Auction
H&H June 22nd IWM Duxford Auction Grosses 2.4 Million With Catalogue Cover Ferrari Making £400,000
Imperial War Museum, An auction of classic cars. June 22nd. Watch our preview video here!
The Oldest Surviving Jaguar In The UK Is For Sale With H&H Classics
One Man's Vision Of His Dream Ferrari. 1969 Ferrari 365 GT Rebodied In The Style Of 'Pontoon Fender'
A Century Of Classic & Collector Cars. Catalogue Now Live!
'A True Family Retainer' 1912 Darracq Spent Over A Century With Four Generations Of The Same Family
Take a Closer Look At This Selection Of Classic Motorcars On Our YouTube Channel
Some Like It Hot! 1965 Excalibur SS Series 1 Built For Actor Tony Curtis
A Very Rare RHD Mid-Engined Supercar 1973 Maserati Bora 4.7
Fire Breathing Scooter 1967 World Record Holder 151,936 KM/H Quarter Mile In 0-100 KM/H 7.6 Seconds
The Jewel Of The Next H&H Motorcylce Sale Is This 1976 Kawasaki KH 500 "KH Five" Allen Millard Build
Seeking A Princely Saviour: 1958 Mercedes-Benz 190 Sl-eeping Princess Project
H&H Joining The Classic and Performance Car Spectacular
The Culmination Of Five Le Mans Wins This 1960 Beauty Did 0-60mph In 7.6 Seconds & 140mph Top Speed
It's Genius! A Prince Marries a Guiness and Packs Up the Rolls -Royce for a Life in Africa
Our stunning auction venues, perfect locations for sellers and buyers alike
Collector donates his classic 1976 Jaguar XJ-C 4.2 to aid the Ukrainian war effort
H&H Classics Auction At The Pavilion Gardens, Buxton On April 27th
Open for viewing - Buxton Pavilion Gardens Auction Wednesday 27th April
On The Menu At Buxton – Haute Cuisine Autos With H&H Classics Auction April 27TH 2022
An Auction of Classic & Collector Motorcars - Wednesday 27th April 2022 from 1pm
Looking for a challenge? Rare 1961 Mercedes-Benz Barn Find project
World Boxing Champ Wheels For Sale
Celebrity Scooter Sales at NMM Auction
Vintage, Rare & Unusual Bikes Achieve 80% Sell Rate
'How Vintage Scooters Got the Market In A Buzz'
Volvo P1800 for sale at H&H Pavilion Gardens Auction April 27th
Two-wheeled Maserati for sale at National Motorcycle Museum auction
Over 200 classic motorcycles and scooters available to view, bid on and buy
IWM Duxford Auction Grossed £3.5m In A Sale Dominated By British Marques
An Auction Of Over 100 Classic Motorcars - Wednesday 16th March at 1pm