Checkout the first British tank for a car
1904 Wilson-Pilcher car built by the inventor of the first British tank is expected to fetch $352,450. Rare veteran car built by the inventor of the tank to be sold at Bonhams. The 1904 Wilson-Pilcher – thought to be the sole surviving example of its type – has been owned by its creator’s family since it was built more than a century ago.
On 2nd November sale of veteran cars, ahead of this year’s London to Brighton Run, which takes place two days later is all set on gaze. The 1904 Wilson-Pilcher four-seater (estimate £180,000 – £220,000) is one of a number of important entries in the Bonhams auction of Veteran Motor Cars and Related Automobilia ahead of this year’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, which is sponsored by Bonhams. Irish-born Walter Wilson (1874 – 1957), who built the car, was an engineer and inventor with an early interest in aviation that later gave way to all things automotive. The King’s College Cambridge graduate initially focused his creative energy on attempting to develop an aero engine, until the tragic death of his friend and associate Percy Pilcher in a flying accident. After the accident Wilson started a business in London manufacturing Wilson-Pilcher cars, before moving to Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1904, where this car was built. When the Admiralty began investigating armoured fighting vehicles during the First World War, Wilson – then serving with the navy – was assigned to the experiments. His work with agricultural engineer William Tritton resulted in the creation of the first British tank, called “Little Willie”, which ran for the first time in September 1915. Wilson’s personal contributions (the all-round track and epicyclic gearing) allowed later versions to be operated by a single driver rather than four, as had previously been the case.
Displayed in various important museums, this rare vehicle has been described as one of the earliest successes Britain’s most significant engineer and inventor. Besides, some of the other noted, rare, old motor cars like the world’s oldest four-cylinder American car, the world’s oldest Ford ‘Model A’, and the world’s oldest Mini which is expected to fetch $24k even when unrestored, were also offered for sale.
Wilson was a King’s College Cambridge graduate who initially worked on the development of aero engines, but was later credited with designing the all-round track and epicyclic gearing of the world’s first tank, ‘Little Willie’.