1913 STRAKER-SQUIRE 15HP (1 of only 2 pre-WW1 cars in Australia)
Offered from the important automotive collection of the late Dr. David Watson Snr.
Chassis No. 3125
Engine No. 3242
The highly respected English manufacturer, Straker-Squire, commenced motor vehicle manufacture as early as 1901, building steam wagons and later, petrol-engined buses. The company was headed by Sidney Straker and L.R.L. Squire, trading as S. Straker & Squire Ltd. of Fishponds, Bristol from 1906-1918, moving to London in 1918 and continuing in business there until 1926. Their first motor cars were built under licence from French-based Cornilleau St Beuve in 1906, however by 1907 they were building cars to their own designs. 1910 was a landmark year for the company with the introduction of the 15hp model, powered by a four-cylinder, side-valve engine with a capacity of 2,853cc, designed by A.H.R. Fedden who had been recruited from the Bristol Motor Co.
Fedden remained interested in engine development and in 1913, converted a side valve motor to 2” overhead inlets and made the two side valves exhaust. For 1914, he produced an overhead cam 16 valve 3-3 litre engine for the racing, however the car driven by Witchell and Frank Clement (later famous for his Bentley connections) in the 1914 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy finishing fourth. The War halted any further car development, and Straker commenced making aero engines under licence from Rolls Royce.
Of the mere handful of pre-WW1 15hp cars found in Australia many have left the county;
- (504) restored as a roadster, known to be in the USA
- (519) restored and is now in the Netherlands.
- (556) known to be in the UK
- (3168) known to be in the UK
- (504) known to be in America.
- (3024) being partly restored by George Brooks being now in the custodianship of South Australian Terry Parker, the leading authority on Straker-Squire.
- (3125) partly restored roadster, Watson family, Victoria
Note – the number stamped on the front passenger side of the crankcase identifies the car number.
Importantly accompanying the rolling chassis of car “3125”, which now has a South African acquired motor 3242 resting in it, is a handsome period replica body fitted and an assemblage of parts to possibly make a second car including all major components; three engine blocks and two crankcases (car 45, car 3125 and a small component of crankcase 1055), front and rear axles and gearbox sans chassis (but some sections of a chassis are included), that may form the basis of a nice Edwardian runabout or for the more ambitious, the foundation for a Tourist Trophy replica. Also included is an original radiator, two crankshafts, two camshafts, two sumps, cam followers, tappets. The second rear axle housing has the drums and brake internals intact. There is an additional crown wheel and pinion, differential parts, tail shaft parts and universal, spare gears and steering components.
Terry Parker based in South Australia is the World authority on the make having taken this mantle and his two cars from George Brooks who was considered the authority worldwide. Terry identifies the rolling chassis having come from originally from John Ham who in turn had acquired it from a Mr McMillian.
David Watson Snr. started collecting the numerous Straker-Squire parts in 1982. David didn't finally acquire the rolling chassis until the early 2000's when it was advertised. The South African motor was also finally acquired in the early 2000’s.
Correspondence accompanies the car dating back to the early 1980’s that identified both the rolling chassis and the South African motor and it was only persistence and perseverance that bought the collection together as it is now. The South African engine was reportedly running in the 1980’s. Terry Parker concludes the crankcase 45 and most likely one of the cylinder blocks possibly dates from 1911 whilst the South African motor is from a 1914 vehicle; the majority of parts are circa 1912/13 including the rolling chassis 3125.
John Ham had sandblasted the chassis and repaired it, restored the diff and pinion, and gearbox with new bearings. The block of engine 3125 has been bored and valves seated. The wheels although sporting the patina of 30 years of storage, have rebuilt Riley type hubs with new rims and spokes John also constructed the roadster body to original drawings (a letter dated 1982 from John exists describing the work). There are some other “treasures” like a period Zenith Carburettor (there is an original 1914 manual for this too) and a Sims magneto together with a nice set of period electric Starlyte headlights are with the car too as well as a set of new oversize pistons made at the time Terry Parker restored his motor. Much of the bright work has been restored and one radiator is well through a restoration with the shell largely complete, including two new radiator cores (one damaged in storage sadly). Other jewellery includes two spirit lit Lucas King of the Road sidelights, a nicely restored taillight, and a nice period bulb horn.
As outlined and photographed this car comes with a multitude of parts. Presented here is a wonderful opportunity to acquire an extremely rare veteran car that is ready to have new life breathe back through its Zenith Carburettor.