1915 Napier Touring

D. Napier & Son Ltd. was one of England's foremost engineering firms in the nineteenth century producing all manner of mechanical contrivances from printing machinery (the Bank of England printed pound notes on Napier presses) and weighing machines (used by the Royal Mint to weigh gold) to bullet-making machines. The "Son" in the company name, J.M. Napier, proved to be less than skilled at customer relations and management and by the time the founder's grandson Montague Napier acquired the business in 1895 it was moribund. Montague restored its vibrancy, ingenuity and commercial success, and then entered automobile manufacture with Selwyn Francis Edge as his London sales agent. In the year before the First World War Napier’s were the standard of excellence by which British automobiles were judged but the war turned the company's attention to aero engines, particularly the Napier "Lion," famed in automotive circles for powering a succession of land speed record setters. This history makes plain that this 1915 3-litre four-cylinder 16/22hp "Colonial" model Tourer is one of the last Napier automobiles built, a paragon of quality in design, materials and construction. Finished in cream with red wire wheels, red leather upholstery and a tan top, it is of course right-hand drive and displays the abundant ground clearance typical of British cars with the colonial designation. It has been carefully restored to like new condition, has been dated by the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain as a 1915 vintage and is abundantly equipped with brass fittings, brass IMI electrified headlights, battery box, tool boxes, a fuel can and rear-mounted trunk. Under the hood are many Napier built components including the carburetor. Even the gauges are Napier-badged. It shows little use since its restoration over a decade ago and is in exceptionally well maintained condition. It was owned by a German collector from 1978-99 and was restored for him in Britain in 1992 then came to a California collection in 2000. Its British registration is KN 6034, chassis number 16756 and engine number E984, comes with a British logbook showing owners since the early 50's, the VCC dating certificate and its original manual. It will be a valuable addition to any collection of veteran and Edwardian automobiles where its rarity, quality and distinctive appearance will make it an unusual counterpoint to better-known marques and a fine example of the quality of British engineering in the early twentieth century.

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