1912 MORS MODEL NX 12/15HP TWO SEATER AND DICKEY
COACHWORK BY SINCLAIR & CO.
Registration No. LE 8956
Chassis no. 120502
Engine no. 120502
Blue and black with scarlet coachlining
Engine: Four-cylinder monobloc side-valve (L-head) 75mm x 120mm bore & stroke (2120cc), water-cooled with pump, ignition by magneto, Zenith carburettor; Gearbox: Mors patent contracting clutch, 3-speed & reverse, shaft drive to bevel back axle; Suspension: semi-elliptic front springs and ¾-elliptic rear; Brakes: external expanding on rear wheels from right-hand lever, by foot pedal on transmission. Right-hand drive.
The Société de l'Electricité et des Automobiles Mors began making motorcars in 1896 and by the turn of the century has become established as one of the great marques, with a string of racing successes culminating in first place in the heroic Paris-Madrid race of 1903 that was terminated at Bordeaux. Cars were made in limited numbers where they were amongst the most expensive on the market, and generous dividends were paid to shareholders. But complacency in design and management set in and by the end of 1907 the firm was bordering on liquidation. It was saved by selling company assets to Louis Mors and by the introduction of André Citroën to the board, of which he soon became managing director. By a process of restructuring the company, introducing new production methods, improving labour relations, and bringing to the market a range of cars at realistic prices, Citroën saved Automobiles Mors.
For 1912, six four-cylinder models were available from 2.1 to 7.2-litres, with emphasis being placed on the smaller cars. The 12/15hp was described by The Motor in December 1911 as being 'a capital little car' with 'two comfortable seats in front, and, if needed a disappearing seat behind'. It went on: 'the chassis much on the lines of this year's 10/12hp model. The gear ratios have been slightly altered, a torque bar added, the setting of the frame members altered and a few other little details modified so as to make an even better model than the few other little details modified so as to make an even better model than the well-proved 10/12hp type'. The 12/15 cost £280 in chassis form and £345 when bodied, so the model was in the medium price range for its type. Mors were sold in Britain by the firm's London branch from premises in Long Acre which The Motor described as 'magnificent'.
This example apparently found its way to Australia although the London registration, 'LE', that was current from June 1911 through to December 1912 indicates that it was originally used in the capital. It was re-imported in the early 1950s in complete but neglected condition and was restored by Bill Bradley of Stourport-on-Severn. In 1959, the Mors was acquired by the Austin family of Burley in Hampshire who last taxed it in 1964.
Such is the specification of the car's body, exactly as described by The Motor, that one suspects that the builders: Sinclair & Co, of 45 Horseferry Road, Westminster; were the makers of Mors (England) Ltd of standard bodies on the 12/15 chassis for although Mors had a repair establishment in North-West London largely staffed by French Personnel, they did not include coachbuilding in their activities. Sinclair had a substantial business, and although not recorded in recent publications were successful enough to still be working as coachbuilders in 1928 at premises in Clapham.
The car appears to be essentially complete, including rarely surviving items such as undertrays, but the maker's plate, that was in the front face of the dashboard, and the lamps are no longer present. The specification accords with that published in contemporary journals and listings, including the Zenith carburettor (and SU was standardised for 1913), and the Sankey detachable wheels. Restoration, for the second time in the car's life looks to be fairly straightforward, bearing in mind of course the fact that it has not been used on the road for almost forty years.