Tank inventor's veteran car could realise $352,500 at Bonhams

A rare veteran car that was built by the inventor of the first tank will sell at Bonhams' Veteran Motor Cars and Related Automobilia auction in London on November 2.

Wilson Pilcher four seater Bonhams
The car has taken part in the Brighton Veteran Car Run several times

Bonhams' auction comes just ahead of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run on November 4, which is the world's longest running motoring celebration. The 60-mile run attracts entrants from all over the world, showcasing 500 of the finest pre-1905 motors.

Bonhams' Tim Schofield commented: "We are expecting around 15 London to Brighton eligible cars for the sale, some of which are offered with entry to this year's Run - so collectors could buy on the Friday and take part in the event on the Sunday."

The Wilson-Pilcher offered at Bonhams was built by Walter Wilson, an Irish-born engineer and inventor. After beginning his career manufacturing his own cars, Wilson was then assigned to experimenting with armoured vehicles during the first world war. It was here that, along with agricultural engineer William Tritton, he created the first British tank, named Little Willie.  

The 1904 four-seater holds one of the highest valuations in the sale at £180,000-220,000 ($288,500-352,500). Boasting 12/16 hp, the magnificent car is offered in dark blue and was once used as a fire tender, before being renovated by Wilson-Pilcher employees in the 1940s. It has since been passed down through Wilson's family to the current owner.

The car has been exhibited at The Tank Museum in Dorset as well as the Coventry Transport Museum. It has also recently been cared for by the Rolls Royce Heritage Trust.

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