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Motoring: Opening the bidding on one of first cars to grace Welsh roads.

ONE of the first cars ever registered in Wales is coming up for sale from a museum almost a century after it took to the roads.

The 1910 Austin 18/24 Endcliffe Tourer carries the number plate FF1, first issued in Merioneth in 1904.

This is a typical Edwardian car completely restored in 1997 by mature students from Manchester College of Arts and Technology. It has been stored and exhibited with some of the best British classic cars of the last century.

Now some of these cars - surplus to requirements at the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust at Gaydon - will be auctioned off.

The sale of about 80 cars will be staged by Bonhams on June 29, with viewing the day before.

Estimates for the prices the cars will fetch at auction - at the Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, Warwickshire - range from just pounds 100 to pounds 45,000.

The number plate FF1 might itself fetch more than the car it is on if a buyer wants to transfer it to a modern car.

The sale will include some classic cars from the 1940s through to the '90s.

Another unusual Austin in the auction is a 1928 Austin Seven Top Hat, so called because of its upright shape, allowing room for occupants wearing fashionable toppers. In the late '70s this car underwent extensive restoration work.

Not all the lots are early 20th Century. There are also some virtually new models included in the auction. A 1999 special edition 40th anniversary Mini, direct from the Longbridge factory, has only 52 miles on the clock.

Bonham's auctioneer James Knight said, ``With effectively the entire spectrum of evolution of the British motor car, we will offer vehicles from the Edwardian era to the present day, from restored vehicles to those still requiring attention.''

Admission into the auction will be on presentation of the official auction catalogue, which admits two people and costs pounds 12, available three weeks before the sale from Bonhams, 101 New Bond St, London W1S 1SR.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 18, 2003
Words:335
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