2009 Shannons Classic Vehicle Auction at MotorEx
1909 Wolseley-Siddeley 14hp 'Roi des Belges' Tourer
|Engine||In-line 4-cylinder, 2654cc|
|Colour||Blue & Black|
This lot is no longer available
The earliest chapter of Wolseley's history has a strong Australian connection, with Frederick York Wolseley arriving in Melbourne in 1854 to seek his fortune, eventually developing the first commercially successful mechanical sheep shearing machine that transformed the wool industry both here and abroad. Initially based in Sydney, Wolseley transferred operations to England in 1889, where employee Herbert Austin subsequently took over the role of General Manager. It was under Austin's leadership that Wolseley began building automobiles in 1896, having designed and experimented with them in secret - the directors of the company were apparently suspicious of these new fangled machines. After joining Wolseley as Sales Manager in 1905, John Siddeley became General Manager after Austin's abrupt departure and his Siddeley Autocar Company of Parkside, Coventry merged with Wolseley, selling cars badged as Wolseley-Siddeleys until 1910. The cars they built in this brief period are highly regarded today and one is believed to have belonged to Queen Alexandra. Very few Wolseley-Siddeleys have survived (according to Bill Smith's recently published tome 'Armstrong Siddeley Motors' just 17 are presently accounted for) - a few examples remain on display in museums around the world and an equally small number are hidden away in private collections.