Thu, 24th Apr 2014 15:10

Imperial War Museum Duxford

  Lot 14

c.1901 Belle 6/8hp Tonneau

Sold for £21,375

(including buyers premium)

Lot details
Registration No: Un-Reg
Chassis No: N/A
Mot Expiry: Exempt

Rarely do such historically significant discoveries come to market as what is believed to be the sole surviving example of E J Coles' Belle Tonneau. Catalogued in Georgano's Complete Encyclopaedia of Motor Cars as being in production between 1901 and 1903, their manufacture, according to The Automotor Journal of February 14th 1903, took place in Switzerland. Power was provided by a single-cylinder engine with final drive by double chains. Research indicates that both a 6hp and an 8hp model were available although the original model rating of this car is not known.

To left-hand drive specification, it has formed part of the Sharpe Family Collection since the early 1960s and has never been offered for sale during their custodianship. Unfortunately the engine is not present with the car which, following its long period of storage, is now ripe for restoration. At the time of going to press further research is ongoing but we have been advised by the vendor, whose father purchased the car, that it has always been referred to as a Belle car in the family. With traces of blue and yellow paint to the body and black leather interior, it is offered for sale strictly as viewed without engine or documentation.

This fascinating 'barnfind' survivor from the dawn of motoring is accompanied by a photocopy of an original Belle Car sales brochure together with assorted copy period magazine articles.

PLEASE NOTE: This vehicle has no engine or gearbox and is offered strictly as viewed. Although always believed by the vendor's family to be a Belle, we have been unable to find any maker's plate or stampings to confirm its exact origin.

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