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LOT 131

1909 Belsize 14/16hp 'Roi des Belges' Tourer Registration no. BT 493 Engine no. G78

Sold for £33,606.67 inc. premium
Lot 131
1909 Belsize 14/16hp 'Roi des Belges' Tourer
Registration no. BT 493 Engine no. G78

1909 Belsize 14/16hp 'Roi des Belges' Tourer
Registration no. BT 493
Engine no. G78


The Belsize Motor & Engineering Company was founded in Manchester in 1902, though the first cars to bear the name had appeared the preceding year, built by Marshall & Company, also of Manchester. Modern in conception, the first Belsize featured shaft drive and a twin-cylinder Buchet engine equipped with mechanical inlet valves at a time when many of its rivals relied on the inefficient 'atmospheric' type. A larger three-cylinder 20hp model was offered at this time and then in 1906 an overhead-valve 'six' was announced. However, it was Belsize's more modest smaller cars that established its reputation. These were powered by conventional four-cylinder sidevalve engines built in unit with the transmission, and had shaft final drive. Larger models continued to be catalogued after WWI and then in 1921 a true light car was added to the range, powered by a 1.1-litre 'oil-cooled' v-twin engine designed by Granville Bradshaw. Despite the lack of success of this first Belsize-Bradshaw, that name came to be applied to models by 1924. Sadly, the marque did not survive the post-war economic downturn and was gone by 1926.

Registered as 'BT 493', this particular Belsize is, as far as known, the oldest four-cylinder model out of the few (approximately 12) cars that have survived. The Belsize was purchased new by a motor engineering company in Driffield, East Yorkshire and used for business purposes until they thought it was too old, at which time it was parked in a corner of their garage. It lay there until 1951 when Mr David Milnes of Kirkella, Humberside, heard about it and purchased the car (see press cuttings on file). He restored the upholstery and paintwork, although the car was in substantially good and original condition. During his ownership the Belsize was entered in various classic car events all over the country, amassing a large collection of awards, and on one occasion entered it in a Veteran and Vintage rally in Dieppe.

The car was owned by Mr Milnes until his death and then sold via a Leeds auction in 1984, being purchased there by Mr Bob Wilson, an antique collector. The next owner, Mr Tim Scott, purchased the car in 1986 from Mr Wilson and used it for approximately 18 months before decided to totally restore it, with special attention being paid to retaining originality. The vendor advises us that it is still roadworthy, benefiting from new tyres and inner tubes fitted less than 50 miles ago.

There is a large history file containing the aforementioned containing press cuttings, Belsize factory history, photographs of the 1986/87 restoration, VCC dating certificate, V5C registration document, copies of The Autocar articles from 1909, copy owner's manual and a quantity of expired MoT certificates.

Saleroom notices

Please note that the correct estimate for this lot is £38,000-45,000, and not what is stated in the printed catalogue.

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  • 4 September 2015, 10:00 - 17:00 BST
  • 5 September 2015, 09:00 - 17:00 BST

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