Hampshire Cultural Trust

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1903 Thornycroft 10hp car

These illustrated pages are about the 1903 10hp Thornycroft car restored by the Hampshire Museums and Archives Service, and displayed at the Milestones Living History Museum.

The car's history is recorded since new, including owners and other details. The car's restoration at the Chilcomb House base is recounted, a detailed specification is provided and impressions of those who have driven the car and ridden in it as passengers are recorded

The car's history
The Thornycroft 10hp car was built in Basingstoke in 1903. Chassis and engine numbers are 203 and AZ 11, respectively.

The car's first owner was the Reverend H A Acheson-Gray, vicar of Stoughton, Sussex, who took delivery on 29 February 1904, no doubt encouraged by its manufacture's slogan proclaiming the Thornycroft as the car that "Needs no pushing"!

The Reverend-Acheson Gray, incidentally, was born in King's Worthy, Hampshire, c1868, he was ordained c1889, and became vicar of several parishes. He died in Porlock in 1935.

The Thornycroft's second owner, Major Henry Robert Sequier-Brown of Southsea, bought the car at a Southsea auction in 1908, and he re-registered it in March that year, in Lerwick, as PS-58. After being used by Major Sequier-Brown, the car was put into storage in Bursledon, Hampshire, and during WW2 it was kept at Levers Garage in the neighbouring village of Lower Swanwick.

Thomas Hutton-Stott of Newbury, Berkshire acquired the car c1943, and then, in 1948 it was passed to his son, F Hutton-Stott of Portsmouth Road, Camberley, Surrey. Still with its 1908 registration PS 58, the car was acquired by W Vaux, of Ilchester, Somerset, in 1960. Mr Vaux sold the car in 1974, and it then spent several years overseas with owners in Ireland (1975/76), Hawaii and France. The car was returned to England and sold at a Sotheby's auction in 1990. There followed two further changes of owner that year.

The car was offered for sale at a Sotherby's auction in May 1993, but after failing to reach its reserve price, it was bought by the HMAS after negotiation.

As received by the HMAS, the car was in poor condition. The body was not the original tonneau type, and the HMAS restoration team at Chilcomb, Hampshire, built a completely new tonneau body, referring to contemporary sketches and photographs, and using traditional materials and techniques.

The engine, chassis and all components were completely overhauled; also, the 1908 registration number PS 58 was replaced with ACH 917A. The car, pristine after its restoration, took part in the 1994 Brighton run (right) and has since been displayed in rallies and events throughout its home county of Hampshire.


Acknowledgments for providing information about the 1903 Thornycroft 10hp car are due to the HMAS restoration team at Chilcomb, Hampshire, and Mr Gary Wragg, Curator, Milestones Living History Museum, Basingstoke, Hampshire. Research by Nick Corrie.

Above - The restored 1903 10hp car

Before restoration

Finishing London to Brighton run