To be offered at:
Bonhams LONDON TO BRIGHTON RUN SALE, VETERAN MOTOR CARS AND RELATED AUTOMOBILIA
London, New Bond Street
The ex-George Milligen Collection, 2017 LBVCR entered
1896 Salvesen Steam Cart
Registration no. SX 1898
Chassis no. SA1
* Unique vehicle
* Built by a (Christian) Salvesen family member
* Formerly part of the Sword Collection
* Valid boiler certificate
* Early LBVCR starter
Estimate:£150,000 - 200,000
€170,000 - 220,000
After his death in 1960 at the age of 67, Sword's collection at East Balgray in Ayrshire was auctioned off in two landmark sales, several of the cars being acquired by George Milligen. These included this unique Salvesen steamer, designed and assembled by a member of the Salvesen family and used by him on his estate at Polmont 'as a sort of Land Rover of its day'.
The Salvesen family came to Scotland from Norway in the mid-19th Century, when Christian Salvesen founded the well-known shipping and trading company that bears his name in the port of Leith, on the River Forth near Edinburgh. The Polmont estate was near Grangemouth, the second port on the Forth adopted by the Christian Salvesen company.
Built on a substantial channel steel chassis, this remarkable Victorian steamer has an under-floor horizontal double-acting twin-cylinder power unit and a rear-mounted vertical coal-fired boiler; final drive is by side chains. The axles, springs, and iron-tyred wheels bear a similarity to those of Daimler's Coventry factory, and were perhaps supplied to Salvesen by John Stirling's Hamilton Carriage, Motor Car & Cycle Works. The latter was an long-established Scottish coachbuilder that bought Coventry Daimler chassis and fitted them with its own coachwork, finishing the first such car (fitted with a Panhard-Levassor engine) as early as January 1897, several weeks before the first Coventry Daimler car was sold.
Its wooden-sided body has two rows of bench seats facing one another, with the driver sitting at the front of the offside bench, controlling the carriage with a horizontal wheel incorporating a vertical handgrip. A substantial lever applies brake shoes to the iron tyres of the rear wheels. It is believed that George Milligen had the car running in the 1960s and drove it a short distance at his Norfolk home.
The custodians of this magnificent Salvesen purchased it from Bonhams' sale of the Milligen Collection at the Goodwood Revival Meeting in September 2004 (Lot 148). Since then the steamer has participated in every annual London-Brighton Veteran Car Run, only failing to complete the course on one occasion due to a front rubber tyre delaminating. We are advised that boiler certification checks have been carried out every 14 months and is currently certified, and that the Salvesen has an entry for the 2017 LBVCR. Much work has been carried out over the years to the Salvesen by the vendor and veteran car specialist restorers - the result is a remarkably reliable motor vehicle. The vendor will accompany the purchaser on the Run to instruct them on how the steamer works, essential driving tips, water hydrant filling locations and all the other foibles of running such a vehicle. It is worthwhile noting that, in the interest of safety, disc brakes have been discreetly fitted to the rear axle.
Surely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire this unique steamer, which would certainly be a star of any Veteran car gathering and is an early starter on the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. The Salvesen will be 'steamed up' on Friday afternoon ahead of the auction in the Haunch of Venison yard, to the rear of the salesrooms - not to be missed.
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