1901 Lanchester 10/12 HP Tonneau FRW 766

This is the third oldest Lanchester known to exist and is a regular participant in the London to Brighton veteran car run, held each November.

The three Lanchester brothers, Frederick, Frank and George, built their first car in Birmingham in 1896. This first Lanchester was sadly lost in a bombing raid on the factory during the war. By 1899, they had built a second car which ran successfully in the 1,000-mile trial of 1900. This car is now found in the Science Museum in London.

At the end of 1899, the brothers found financial backing to set up the Lanchester Engine Company Limited, which began production in Armourer Mills, Birmingham, in 1901.

These early Lanchester cars were of unusual and unique design. Dr Fred Lanchester approached car design from first principles, and incorporated a number of unorthodox features. The engine was a flat-twin with two horizontally opposed cylinders, of about 4 litres’ capacity, and was fitted in the centre of the car, driving the rear wheels through a three-speed epicyclic gearbox and worm final drive. On the early 10 hp model the engine was air-cooled, this slightly later 10/12 hp car had water cooling.

The driving position and controls were carefully thought out, with a side-mounted tiller for the steering. The suspension was by very long semi-elliptic cantilever springs. Lanchester always built its own bodywork, this in fact was an early example of semi-unitary construction.

Registration Mark: FRW 766

Chassis Number: 91

Inventory Number: 4/L.01