Motor Museum Part 2

1 : Introduction
2 : Motor Museum
3 : SOE Exhibit
4 : Gardens
5 : Beaulieu Abbey
6 : Palace House
7 : James Bond Exhibit


The following edited history with acknowledgement to www.motorbase.com .

The Daimler Company was formed on 14 January 1896 and a factory was opened at the Motor Mills in Coventry. The company held the British licence rights to the German Daimler patents, and was therefore allowed to use the name as well. Early cars were imported from Germany or France, but production of British-built Daimlers was underway by 1897.

This car is the oldest surviving Coventry built Daimler car, and it is also one of two of the earliest surviving British built cars. It has only had four owners from new. Originally bought by a Doctor in Shropshire who reputedly used it for tours of Belgium and France.

By 1906 it had passed to the second owner who kept it until 1954. The third owner was Ted Woolley who restored the car and had it registered under the appropriate mark AD 1897. His exploits with the car were legendary, and included a crossing of the Col du Cenis 7000ft up in the Alps, on a tour from Britain to Munich and Turin.

After Ted Woolley's death in 1984, the car was bought by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust.
Further restoration was carried out in 1993-94, at which time the car was returned to its original blue colour.

This Daimler is powered by a two cylinder four horsepower engine, and ignition is by a hot tube system. The top speed is 24mph (40 km/h), and it cost £375 when new. It was initially fitted with tiller steering, but this was converted to wheel steering by Daimler in 1899 (a patch on the bonnet covers the hole for the original column). The hood is made of elephant hide.

The car is maintained in full running order, and regularly competes in the annual London to Brighton Run which is held on the first Sunday in November.

Year : 1897
Country : Britain
Price new : £375
Cylinders : 2
Maximum speed : 24mph (40kms/hr)

In 1865 Britain introduced the 'Locomotives on Highways Act' better known as the 'Red Flag Act'.

The act stipulated that all mechanically powered road vehicles must :

1)   Have three drivers.
2)   Not exceed 4 mph (6.4 kph) on the open road and 2 mph (3.2 kph) in towns.
3)   Be preceded by a man on foot waving a red flag to warn the public.

The London to Brighton Run each November commemorates a new act which came into force in November 1896 which made it possible to use motor cars on British roads by abolishing the need for an attendant to walk in front of the car.

The act also increased the speed limit from 4 to 12mph (6 to 19km/h).


By 1886, Karl Benz had completed the construction of a tricycle powered by a petrol engine.

He drove the car on the streets of Mannheim at the same time as Gottlieb Daimler was testing an internal combustion engined motorcycle.

These two pioneers are generally accepted as being the fathers of the motorcar.

This working replica of the first Benz was made in 1989 by John Bentley of Batley.

Year : 1886
Country : Germany
Capacity : 954cc
Cylinders : 1
Maximum speed : 9mph (14.48kms/hr)
Price new : Not marketed
Manufacturer : Benz and Co. (Originally)


As mentioned above, Karl Benz was a father of the motorcar. In 1885 he built the first successful petrol engine car, and Benz cars were produced for public sale from 1888.

For more than ten years Benz led the world in car production and in 1896 their output exceeded the combined efforts of all car makers in Britain and the United States of America.

This 1898 example is in very original condition.

Year : 1898
Country : Germany
Capacity : 1,045cc
Cylinders : 1
Maximum speed : 18mph (28.97kms/hr)
Price new : £165
Manufacturer : Benz et Cie


This is a very typical example of the 'Horseless Carriage'. One almost looks for the shafts and the quadruped on this ponderous brougham!

Even though it has wheel steering, the Daimler chassis is pure horse carriage, as are the brakes. The engine is stowed away at the rear.

An almost identical version took part in the famous 'Emancipation Run' to Brighton in November 1896.

Year : 1898
Country : Germany
Capacity : 1,525cc
Cylinders : 2
Maximum speed : 16mph (25.75kms/hr)
Price new : £340
Manufacturer : Daimler Gesellshaft

RENAULT 1.75 HP 1899

This Type A production model is believed to be one of the oldest Renaults in existence.

Renault were amongst the pioneers of the front engine, rear-wheel drive layout with propeller shaft and rear differential that would dominate car design for much of the 20th Century. The patented three speed gearbox has reverse gear, an unusual feature at the time.

Louis Renault built his first car in a shed in the garden of the family home in 1898. It was based around a De Dion-Bouton tricycle.

A number of friends requested that he build replicas for them and in the following year the Renault Company was founded with his brothers, Marcel and Fernand.

Like many others, at first Renault used engines made by De Dion-Bouton going on to produce their own designs in 1902.The Renault company remained family owned until 1945.

Year : 1899
Country : French
Capacity : 273cc
Cylinders : 1
Output : 1.75hp at 1,500rpm
Maximum speed : 22mph (35.41kms/hr)
Price new : £160
Manufacturer : Renault Frères


Colonel Albert Pope, former Civil War Officer, began his large manufacturing empire making pistols and went on to become America's leading cycle producer.

He formed a new company called 'Columbia' to make electric cars. He also founded four companies to make a wide range of petrol cars and this Pope-Tribune was the smallest and least expensive.

This is an early model with a single cylinder and shaft drive.

Year : 1904
Country : America
Capacity : 798 cc
Cylinders : 1
Maximum speed : 25mph (40.23kms/hr)
Price new : £131
Manufacturer : Pope Manufacturing Company


From 1906 onwards the Unic, first in twin cylinder and later in four-cylinder form, appeared in increasing numbers on the taxi ranks of London.

The last of a long line of this make were still in evidence as late as 1952. It has a turning circle of only 31ft.

In 1950 this example was discovered in buildings alongside a Dorset watercress farm and it was later restored by Jack Sparshatt.

Year : 1908
Country : France
Capacity : 1,944cc
Cylinders : 4
Maximum speed : 30mph (48.28kms/hr)
Price new(chassis only) : £350
Manufacturer : SA des Automobiles Unic

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