Rolls-Royce is synonymous with luxury motorised travel. It is a brand name recognised the world over with a 103-year-old history and star-studded client list to match. Bonhams is, therefore, particularly delighted to announce the London sale on 3 December 2007 of the world’s oldest known surviving Rolls-Royce, built in 1904 – the year Rolls-Royce was founded.

Rolls-Royce Car no. 20154, a diminutive 10hp two seater, is a true motoring icon, and this is reflected in its pre-sale estimate. Bidding in excess of £1-million is expected when it goes under the hammer at Bonhams’ annual Olympia Motoring Sale in London.

Stewart Skilbeck, Bonhams’ Motoring Specialist says: “This is the first time this car has ever been offered on the open market since 1904 and we expect strong interest from major collectors worldwide.”

Rolls-Royce gets star treatment at Quail Lodge, USA

Car no. 20154, which has been in the same UK private ownership for the past 30 years, will be previewed during Bonhams’ annual Sports, Competition and Collectors’ Motor Cars, Automobilia, Fine Jewellery and Watches Sale at Quail Lodge, California on 17 August.

Car no. 20154 was first exhibited at The Paris Salon in the late Autumn of 1904. Rolls-Royce records confirm delivery from the Manchester Works in November that year. The car was displayed at the Olympia Show in London in February 1905. During the same year it is recorded that a Dr Briggs briefly owned the car – perhaps on trial – and it then passed to Kenneth Gillies of Tain in Scotland. Car no. 20154 was later acquired by Percy Binns of Harrogate, Yorkshire, and in 1950 was discovered in Yorkshire in a forlorn state with modified coachwork. Enthusiast Oliver Langton – a speedway rider of some repute – restored the car meticulously to running condition.

“This car is the only Rolls-Royce qualifying on the basis of its pre-1905 date eligible to take part in the prestigious London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, which makes it extra special,” adds Stewart Skilbeck.

Appropriately, no. 20154 returns to Olympia, London, after some 102 years, to head the line-up of highly important collectors motor cars and automobilia to be sold by Bonhams on 3 December 2007.