George Edward Milligen Collection: Hard Top Cars
This page provides information and photos of the hard top cars including saloon cars and limousines that are known to have been in George Milligen's collection.
Armstrong Whitworth Laundaulette 1910
This is an Armstrong Whitworth 18/22hp three-quarter landaulette with coachwork by Maythorn of Biggleswade. Sir W G Armstrong Whitworth & Co Ltd was a major British manufacturing company of the early years of the 20th century. With headquarters in Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne, Armstrong Whitworth built armaments, ships, locomotives, automobiles and aircraft. The company started making cars in 1904 after demand reduced in artillery following the end of the Boer War and made cars until 1919 when the company merged with Siddeley-Deasy and to form Armstrong Siddeley. The engine was a straight four cylinder of unknown capacity but this was increased when the engine was rebuilt in 1986 due to damage to the cylinders.
George purchased the car, which had at one time been part of the collection of John Cuthill Sword, for £1,280 in 1985 and had it restored. It has a most unusual red and black striped livery. The car was reputed to have only done 30-40 miles since rebuilding - something that potential purchasers would have needed to take into account.
The estimated sale price in the 2004 Bonhams auction catalogue was £35,000-£45,000 and reflected the fact that major repairs and recommissioning would be required. It sold for £36,700 including premium.
Delage 'Vita' Saloon 1937
This is a Delage D6-70 'Vita' sports saloon with coachwork by Coachcraft of Coventry and was made after the merger of Delage with Delehaye after its financial collapse in 1935. Delage produced the D6 in bare chassis form and purchasers arranged bodywork from a bodywork company. The D6-70 variant was produced between 1937 and 1938. It had a straight-six 2729cc with a maximum output listed as 78 hp and a very innovative electric gear change that could change gear without the driver having to use the clutch. George purchased the car in the early 1970s for £270 and had a great deal of work done on it including changing the colour to his favourite RAF blue.
The estimated sale price in the 2004 Bonhams auction catalogue was £18,000-£22,000. It sold for £16,100 including premium.
Facel Vega Coupé 1964
This is a Facel Vega Facel II Coupé with coachwork by Facel Metallon. French subcontracting company for military aeronautics Bronzavia created a subsidiary called Facel (Forges et Ateliers de Constructions d'Eure-et-Loir) in December 1939. After the war, in 1945, by merging with Métallon, Facel began to make short-run special bodies, coupés or cabriolets for Simca, Ford, Panhard and Delahaye. Approximately 2,900 cars of all models were hand-built in Facel's short life. The Facel Vega 'Facel II' was a French grand touring car produced by Facel Vega between the years 1962 and 1964. This version would have had a Chrysler 6.7 liter V8 engine and was advertised as The Fastest 4-seater Coupé in the World'.
Owners of this model included Pablo Picasso, Lionel Bart, Lord Brabourne, The Chrysler Corporation (and Mrs Carr, Walter Chrysler's daughter), Joan Collins, Tony Curtis, Christian Dior, Stanley Donen, Charlie Drake, Max Factor Jr, Joan Fontaine, Ava Gardner (who bought three), The Marchioness of Huntly (whose car had full-harness seat-belts), Herbert von Karajan, Danny Kaye, Louis Malle, The President of Mexico, Princess Grace of Monaco, Yves Montand, Hassan II King of Morocco, Baroness Sally Oppenheim-Barnes, William S. Paley, Prince Poniatowski, Anthony Quinn, Debbie Reynolds, Frank Sinatra, Ringo Starr, The Marchioness of Tavistock, François Truffaut, Count Giovanni Volpi di Misurata, Robert Wagner, Sir Mortimer Wheeler, The Shah of Persia and Sihanouk (King-Father of Cambodia). Plus racing drivers Sir Stirling Moss, Maurice Trintignant, Tony Vandervell and Rob Walker.
George purchased it in 1968 for an unknown price.
The estimated sale price in the 2004 Bonhams auction catalogue was £2,000-£6,000 and reflected the fact that major repairs and recommissioning would be required. It sold for £13,800 including premium.
Ford Model T Sedan 1920
This is a Ford Model T centre door sedan with coachwork by Fisher. The term 'sedan' was introduced as the name for a car body style in 1912 and such a car has separate compartments for the engine, the passengers and their luggage. It is the US equivalent to what we call a 'saloon car' in the UK. This example was built in the UK at Ford's factory at Trafford Park near Manchester. It is a centre door variant with the bodywork made in the US by Fisher Bodies of Detroit and shipped to the UK factory. George puchased it in 1973 for £500.
The estimated sale price in the 2004 Bonhams auction catalogue was £8,000-£22,000. It sold for £8,050 including premium.
Hispano-Suiza J12 1934
This is a Hispano-Suiza Type 68 J12 pillarless saloon with coachwork by Vanvooren of Paris. Hispano-Suiza is a Spanish automotive–engineering company and, after WW1, a French aviation engine and components manufacturer. It was founded in 1904 by Marc Birkigt and Spanish investors and is best known for its pre-WW2 luxury cars and aviation engines. In 1923, its French subsidiary became a semi-autonomous partnership with the Spanish parent company. Through the 1920s and into the 1930s, Hispano-Suiza built a series of luxury cars with overhead camshaft engines of increasing performance.
The J12 had a powerful V-12 220 hp engine and was capable of 93 mph. In 1939 the car had been owned by the French Ambassador to the UK after which it had many owners - some in the US. George was put off by the price when it came up for auction in 1966 but regretted this and purchased it at an auction in 1988 for an unknown price but had to sell other cars to finance the deal. He then had it fully restored.
The estimated sale price in the 2004 Bonhams auction catalogue was £150,000-£200,000. It sold for £188,500 including premium.
Renault CE 1912
This is a Renault 20/30hp type CE Limousine with coachwork by Kellner et ses Fils of Paris. It was originally owned by Lady Lucy Markham the wife of a colliery owner from Shorncliffe in Kent. This car is reputed to have included The Prince of Wales (later briefly King Edward VIII) and David Lloyd George. It has a four cylinder 5026cc engine and was purchased by George from another collector in 1984 for an unknown price.
The estimated sale price in the 2004 Bonhams auction catalogue was £35,000-£45,000. It sold for £56,500 including premium.
Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith 1950
This is a Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith touring limousine with coachwork by H.J. Mulliner. This is I think the only car George owned that he purchased new which he did, apparently on impulse, on seeing it in 1950. It was black in the showroom and he had Mulliners change the colour to blue. The Silver Wraith was the company's first post-war car and 1,883 of them were built between 1946 and 1958. The cars were powered by a straight six-cylinder engine with overhead valve gear and this example from 1950 would have been 4.3 litre. George apparently paid £5,900 for it including tax.
The estimated sale price in the 2004 Bonhams auction catalogue was £15,000-£18,000. It sold for £14,950 including premium.
Sunbeam Weymann 1929
This is a Sunbeam Weymann 3 litre six-light saloon with coachwork by Sunbeam of Wolverhampton. The Sunbeam company had started making bicycles and they started work on a prototype car in 1899. The company ended up becoming one of Wolverhampton's largest employers until their decline in the mid 1930s. George purchased the car for £145 in 1956.
The estimated sale price in the 2004 Bonhams auction catalogue was £25,000-£35,000 despite the fact that it had been out of use for a long time and needed a lot of work done on it. It sold for £43,300 including premium.