1932 Lanchester Type 15/18 Saloon, Rare, Gorgeous!
We are pleased to offer this fully restored Lanchester that has had only a handful of owners since new and has benefited from a absolute no-expense spared restoration by some of the top restorers in the United States. This elegant motorcar arrived in California on September 12, 1969. Shortly thereafter it was bought by it’s present owner, Ron Jones. Over the past 37 years Mr. Jones progressively restored and improved this car to levels seldom seen on examples of this type (and only 2,660 were made over seven years!).
The motorcar is resplendent in a livery of light blue-gray and dark blue two-tone coachwork with a black top and proper wire wheels. The trim is in most elegant in blue leather with beautiful woodwork throughout. This complements the new black tires and nice brightwork (chrome plating). As the photo gallery will confirm, the body was removed and every nut and bolt was re-plated, repainted or otherwise properly cared for during the restoration.
This motorcar bares its original British plates, OJ 5237, which were issued on December 30, 1932. By 1939, this motorcar was owned by a Mr. William Carless on 187 Holyhead Rd in Handsworth, Birmingham. Interestingly the car was bought new and resided entirely within the town of the Lanchester Motor Company, in Birmingham, England until being transported to California in 1969.
Mr. Jones, the present owner, acquired this elegant example nearly four decades ago in about 1973. He slowly and diligently set out to create one of the finest examples in existence. Mr. Jones invested upwards of $100,000 in the restoration of this motorcar.
The list of restoration masters reads like a roster of the Pebble Beach Concours restorers: The mechanical and management of the cosmetic restoration was completed by Fred Buess, Sr., the trim and top were completed by Al Hoffman (a creator of the Carson Top), further sorting was completed by Alan Taylor Company. These are all no-expense, no-excuse operations. This ensures the next owner that the pedigree and provenance of this motorcar will always remain intact.
The Lanchester 18 is powered by the overhead valve 2.5 liter straight six coupled with a four-speed Wilson pre-select (semi-automatic) transmission. This is combined with innovative four wheel hydraulic brakes on a 115 inch chassis. The 15/18 model won the first ever RAC Rally in England, a considerable acheivement for a family saloon!
Lanchester made England’s first automobile in 1895. Lanchester is now an obscure brand lost in time. Yet, like many other makers, it has a fascinating story. It started operations at Armourer Mills, Montgomery Street, Birmingham. There were three Lanchester brothers, Frederick playing the most significant role as an influential engineer, and George and Frank Lanchester. Unlike many other vehicles of this period, the first Lanchester was designed from the ground up an as an automobile, not as a horseless carriage powered by an engine.
Like many other car manufacturers, the Great Depression spelt disaster and by 1931 bankers called in Lanchester’s overdraft of $76,000. This forced a merger with British Daimler, owned by BSA, and George was retained as senior designer and Frank as sales director. In most mergers there is a pecking order and Lanchester was to play second fiddle to Daimler as the cheaper brand. The first vehicle to emerge after the merger was the Lanchester 18, powered by a 2.5 litre, six cylinder over head valve engine and hydraulic brakes.
There were only about 2,660 Lanchester 18’s built between 1932-39. Rarely does one ever see a Lanchester come to market. Rarer still is it to find a superb restoration such as this. This is an important motorcar produced during a fragile period in motorcar history. Further, this is an example that can now be purchased at a small fraction of the cost of the restoration, assuming you were given a car for free to retore!