A tribute to British DIY engineering skills comes to auction in the shape of a French 1905 Gardner-Serpollet steam car

Filed under: Auctions,Classic News |
French 1905 Gardner-Serpollet steam carThe classic car community is one of the few remaining bastions of motoring DIY, but a vehicle consigned to Historics at Brooklands’ forthcoming sale on March 9, offered at no reserve, puts even the most industrious of modern-day DIY-ers in the shade. Starting with just a set of instruments from a French-built Gardner-Serpollet 15hp four-seater steam car of 1905, an enterprising British gentleman named Anthony Henry Marchetti Bever B.Sc then exercised his extraordinary engineering skills to build a complete car from the ground up. Having tracked down the rudimentary remains of an original 1905 Gardner-Serpollet in France, Anthony researched and built the car that is on sale at Historics, following the original designs to the letter. Impressively, he crafted most of the components of the car himself, with little outside assistance or guidance. He made patterns and machined items where necessary, including the engine and axle. The plywood coachwork is shaped around an ash frame with separate wings covering the wheels. Inside, leather seats tempt the occupants with elegance and comfort, although the Gardner-Serpollet is not for the faint-hearted, offering little weather protection for the driver and three passengers aside from the windscreen. Sadly, prior to the final completion of works, Anthony passed away, leaving this extremely rare and remarkable legacy of the pioneering steam car era, supreme DIY engineering skills and sheer British determination. Accompanying the Serpollet is a fabulous set of brass Ducellier, Nirona and Willoco Bottin acetylene lamps, which themselves are rare and valuable items. An impressive history file is also offered with the vehicle, including drawings, the Serpollet System manual, a large sales brochure (which alludes to the fact that a example of the car was made for His Majesty King Edward VII), and various technical manuals and photographs. Importantly, there is also a reprint, in English, of the Driver's Manual for Serpollet Cars describing the components and how to look after them, the oiling, the driving and potential maladies. A letter of authenticity from the Steam Car of Great Britain is within the file, stating that the car conforms to all appropriate modern-day regulations. With only seven Gardner-Serpollet steam cars believed to exist, this is a very rare opportunity to acquire an important piece of automobile history, and a celebration of one man’s determination and supreme skills. Enthusiastic bidding is anticipated with the car being offered at no reserve.Tags: