1906 HUMBER 10-12 HP TOURER
Registration No. CH 43
Chassis No. C2471
Cream and black, with black leather interior
Engine: four individual cylinders, 3½ x 3¾ ins., 2,365cc, T-head, water-cooled, dual ignition; Gearbox: three speed and reverse, cone clutch, shaft drive to bevel-gear back axle; Suspension: front and rear, semi-elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: rear-wheel and transmission brakes. Right hand drive.
Humber enjoyed considerable success with its single-cylinder Humberette that had been introduced in 1903, with production at both its Coventry and Beeston factories. A small four-cylinder car, the 8-10 hp, made only at the Coventry works was produced for the 1905 season. It was designed by Louis Coatalen, a Humber employee since 1901, who later was to attain his apotheosis as Sunbeam designer and director. For 1906 the 8-10 received a half-litre increase in engine size and was generally enlarged to become the 10-12 hp.
In December 1905 and January 1906 the Lincoln Humber agent R M Wright undertook a 5,000 mile reliability trial with one of these cars 'to show the people of Lincolnshire what could be done with a British-built car of moderate power' as The Automotor Journal put it. The magazine further reported that after the trial the car was dismantled for inspection and 'so far as could be seen everything was in excellent condition. There were signs of there having been, at some time or other, a lack of oil on one of the big ends, and of second speed having been injudiciously engaged occasionally, but otherwise no signs of undue wear could be seen on any of the parts.' It is also reported that such was the demand for the 10-12 that they had to stand out in the street during the assembly process in a partially completed state because of lack of factory space.
This car has for many years had a 1905 date attributed to it, but for that to be the case it would have had to have been one of the first produced. The fact that it was not registered until the 23rd March 1907 suggests that this is not so. The first owner was G.B. Fletcher of Nottingham Road, Derby, who transferred to it the very early 1904 Derby Borough registration from his 8hp De Dion Bouton. The Humber remained with Mr Fletcher until 1949 when it was acquired by a Burton-on-Trent owner, before passing to A.T. Seaton of Loughborough in 1953, who is remembered in veteran car circles for running what become known as the 'English De Dion Bouton works'.
The car appears to be sound and complete, although in a somewhat degraded condition. The body is of standard Humber pattern, probably built by the firm's own coachbuilding department, although the front doors on such cars are normally only half-height and these may have been extended to dashboard level early in the car's life. The engine and associated elements look to be all present and correct, although damp has not done any favours to the overall aspect of under-bonnet area.
Humber rarely produced innovative or exciting cars, but the reputation for quality that had been established in its days of cycle manufacturing continued with the motorcars, and the result was no shortage of customers. This car has the potential to provide practical and reliable motoring, as it would have done in the halcyon days of the Edwardian era.