- Offered from the Richard L. Burdick Collection
- Rare and prestigious British marque
- Ideal for vintage touring or relaxing Sunday picnics
Montague Stanley Napier entered the automobile business in 1898. His first product was a vertical-twin engine with coil ignition, built for his friend Selwyn Francis Edge. At Edge’s urging, Napier began manufacturing cars in 1900. Edge won a Gold Medal in that year’s Thousand Mile Trial and formed the Motor Power Company for distribution of said automobiles. For more than a decade he was Napier’s sole distributor and promoter.
In 1901, Napier and Edge decided to go racing, and built a 17.1-liter, two-ton competition car, but their more successful line was in passenger cars. One of their best customers, telephone magnate Charles Jasper Glidden of Massachusetts, carried the Napier name on a series of long-distance tours, one of which became the series carrying his name.
Napier achieved the distinction of producing the world’s first commercially viable six-cylinder engine, in 1904. A five-liter car with mechanical overhead intake valves, it soon spawned a 15-liter racing version. Napier, however, aimed squarely at the luxury market with the 60-hp, 7.7-liter six becoming the best-known model. In 1908 came a five-liter L-head six with three-speed gearbox and shaft drive. “Colonial” models with a raised chassis had greater ground clearance for use in less-developed Commonwealth countries.
According to historian G.N. Georgano, “the years 1906 to 1911 saw Napier’s reputation at its peak,” with aristocrats, clergy, and military officers among its clientele. Napiers were particularly popular with colonial rulers in India. The 2.7-liter, 15-hp four-cylinder model, like this one, was favored in far-flung colonies, in both “Colonial” and “Extra Strong Colonial” form.
This 15-hp Napier has been rebodied as a “garden car,” with an exotic wicker victoria body, well suited for social events and pleasure use. The wicker was re-done in the 1960s by the Royal Institute for the Blind in Nottingham, England; the teak-veneer fenders are original. The car crossed Australia from Perth to Sydney in a 1970 international rally and also completed a VMCCA Trans-International Reliability Tour from Montréal to Tijuana in 1972.
Today, this delightful Napier Victoria it is being offered from the Richard L. Burdick collection and would be an ideal candidate for vintage touring as well as relaxing Sunday picnics.