London to Brighton Veteran Car Run 2018

We are very proud to have carried out a complete restoration on a 1904 9hp MMC in preparation for the 2018 London to Brighton Run.  Alongside five other cars that we prepared for the event, including an electric car, a Delaugère et Clayette, a Raynaud Vis-a-Vis, a De Dion Bouton and a Mors 15HP, the MMC received a great deal of appreciation.  It was the first time the car had been on the road for 106 years and we were delighted when it crossed the finish line in Brighton in the hands of Stewart Parkes, one of our mechanics.

As with many cars, this car has a great tale to tell as accounted by ‘Classic Car Magazine’ in the following article:

“This 9HP veteran produced by the short-lived Motor Manufacturing Company of Coventry was not only making its Run debut – it was also turning a wheel for the first time in 106 years. ‘It’s a 1904 model but my great-grandfather Arthur Archer bought it in 1905 as bankrupt stock,’ says Jon Archer. ‘For several years it was operated by my grandfather, second-generation Arthur Archer, as first taxi in the town of Dunmow, Essex, and then laid up in a shed at the family motor car and bicycle business in 1912. My father eventually took over the business, choosing to diversify into vintage and veteran car restoration during the late Sixties – he always planned to fix up the MMC but never got round to it, so there it stayed. Taking inspiration from a visit to a 1960’s London-Brighton Run he made contact with the Veteran Car Club to register it and apply for a dating of the vehicle, then, approaching its 100th birthday he did some work on the wheels. Ultimately it became his retirement project, but sadly he passed away shortly after the closure of his business.’

Continues Jon Archer, ‘He had many other small restoration projects waiting in the wings; but this was the major one. When he died last year we decided that it needed to be restored in his memory, so we asked Jonathan Wood to help find a buyer who could fund the work it needed.’

With a buyer found in the form of Bernard Holmes, a veteran enthusiast with no fewer than eight cars in this year’s Run, we started work on the car in earnest. Says Stewart Parkes, ‘Despite not moving for over a century the rolling chassis was complete and in remarkably good condition, although some parts such as the fuel, oil and water tanks had been requisitioned for the War effort. The body was missing, but we still have the original registration document that states it was blue with a white coachline. We started the preparation work in July 2017, then started the bodywork in January 2018. We were able to retain the original chassis and mechanical parts, along with interior parts such as the steering wheel, the gauges and the drip-feed oiler. We also rebuilt the original single-cylinder engine.’

Says Jon Archer, ‘It’s been quite an emotional moment to see the car finally running, especially with its original Essex registration number. Even though my family no longer owns it, there are still some nice connections – Jonathan Wood cut his teeth apprenticing for my family’s restoration business, and the car still lives in Essex in its new ownership’.”

As always, the London to Brighton Run itself was a fabulous event but the Regent Street Motor Show held on the Saturday is an important part of the weekend’s spectacle.  We would like to congratulate Harold Pritchard for winning the Concours d’Elegance Overall Winner award with his 1903 De Dion Bouton, Car Number: 241.  This car thoroughly deserved the award and we are very proud to have worked on it.

All round, this year’s London to Brighton was a truly memorable Run.


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