The Luxury car collection.

     Some of the worlds greatest names have come from the luxury car market and a few became bywords for quality.  

    Here we present our collection of Luxury cars, although many other examples can be discovered in other museum halls.   

1895 Panhard-Levassor coupe

1/32nd scale Europe kit.

   In the early years of car production an enclosed cabin was the height of luxury. But then any horseless carriage cost  more than most folk could dream of earning so all cars were, essentially, luxury cars.  In that vein an 1891 Panhard-Levassor sits behind the Roi de Belges.

1900 Packard model 'B'
1/32nd scale Highway pioneers kit released by Dapol. 
   Legend has it James Packard, being a mechanical engineer, was disappointed with his purchase and went to Alexander Winton with a list of suggestions for improving the Winton car, and, in a conversation (nee Argument) repeated later between Lamborghini and Ferrari, Winton told Packard if he could do better then, “build a better car”.

   Packard, like Lamborghini, did so; and to great effect. The Packard Motor Car Company would go on to manufacture elegant, reliable, high-quality automobiles with exceptional attention to detail and innovative features. They were so good that the firm’s sales slogan for years was simply: 

"Ask the man who owns one".

1904 Royce 2cyl.

1/24th scale scratch built model.

   Sir Henry Royce was fascinated by all things mechanical. His company made electrical equipment and cranes but he became increasingly focused on motor cars and began considering the motor car as a potential new product for the company.

   Royce bought a small De Dion first, in 1901, followed by a 1901 model two cylinder Decauville around 1902/3 a. This car did not meet his high standards and so he first improved it and then decided to manufacture a car of his own, which he did in a corner of his Manchester workshop in 1904. Our model replicates that car.

Two more cars were made and one was sold to one of the Royce Co'. directors, Henry Edmunds. Edmunds was a friend of Charles Rolls who had a car showroom in London selling imported models and showed him his car and arranged the historic meeting between Rolls and Royce at the Midland Hotel, Manchester, on 4 May 1904.

1905 Panhard and Levassor Tonneau Roi de Belges.

1/32nd scale EMK kit.

   This style of 18/24hp Panhard was named after a car built especially for the King of Belgium in 1904.

   The main feature of the car is the tulip shaping of the semi enclosed rear body work. The rear glass is also shaped but not toughened!

    All the luggage and wicker baskets on the car were scratch built by Rod. 

Renault town car 1906.

1/32nd scale Pyro kit.  

    Louis Renault built a single cylinder De Dion engine powered prototype with shaft transmission as opposed to the more fashionable chain drive.   

    Intended for his own pleasure it aroused much interest among his friends, who ordered replicas. 

    Renault Freres was set up in March 1899. The car when displayed at the Paris Automobile Salon in June brought in 60 orders. Renault then set up a factory and 179 cars were made in 1900, the first full year of production. 

1908 Cadillac town car. 

1/32nd scale kit. 

    Henry M. Leland, founded the Cadillac company naming it after Antoine Cadillac, the founder of Detroit. Leland set about making cars of great excellence, a matter that had been the root of his disagreements with Henry Ford. While Ford believed in manufacture in bulk and selling volume at a low price with a small profit margin, Leland took the opposite view. Leland believed in engineering excellence and that car buyers would recognise and pay for it. As it happened, both were right.  

   Cadillac pioneered many accessories in automobiles, including full electrical systems, the syncromesh manual transmission and the steel roof.   

1907  Rolls-Royce  40/50

1/32nd scale Airfix kit conversion

   Henry Royce was an engineer making electric cranes in Manchester. In 1904 he purchased a French 2-cyl. Decauville car, although not the worst of cars of the day, Royce was not satisfied with its mechanical crudity, so set to work to build himself a 2-cyl car of modest power, but great refinement, which soon went into production.

   Charles Rolls was also a perfectionist. In the early days of motor racing he was a consistent competitor on Panhard and Mors cars. He also had a business for the sale of Panhard and other foreign cars. Rolls was delighted with the watch like precision of the little Royce car and the world famous partnership ensued. Rolls was killed in 1910 when his Wright aircraft crashed from only 6 feet off the ground. He had already lost interest in the Company that was saved only by the third partner, Claude Johnson, who gave it stability and direction.    

THE SILVER GHOST Serial No 60551  

   The model replicates the original Silver Ghost  that was actually car No.13 in the 40/50 series. Its name came from its silver paint finish and silver fittings and was soon adopted for all 40/50s.  

   The model is a conversion of two Airfix kits. The photographs show red parts that come from the 19ll Rolls-Royce kit and green parts from the 1905 Rolls-Royce kit. White parts are all scratch-built.

1909  Lozier Briarcliff.  

1/32nd scale Pyro kit. 

   In 1903 John Perrin of the Lozier Motor Company of Plattsburgh, New York was assigned to build a car to equal or surpass the best American or European car available. 

  The 1904 Lozier prototype was very much like a Mercedes, in fact so much alike that many of the parts were interchangeable! But within a few years it lost many of its Mercedes characteristics and became rather better than its German inspiration.  

1911 Steven’s Duryea tourer     

1/32 scale Pyro kit.

   One of the earliest American car manufacturers, the Duryea company was started by two brothers, Charles and J. Frank Duryea. Charles began building his first motorised horse-buggy in 1891, but needed Franks mechanical skills to complete it. This led to a long-running argument over whose invention it was! The car was driven in 1893 and is considered the first successful gas-engined vehicle built in the U.S.

   The 2nd prototype (Frank’s design) appeared in 1895, in 1897 the Duryea Motor Wagon Co. was formed. By 1898 the brothers had split, Frank went to the Automobile Company of America and then to Stevens Arms in 1901, which was to produce the Stevens-Duryea. 

1912 Packard 6cyl' Type 18

1/32nd scale SMER kit, originally by Hudson Miniatures.

   Packard was founded by James Ward Packard, his brother William Doud Packard and their partner, George Lewis Weiss, in Warren, Ohio where 400 Packard automobiles were built from 1899 to 1903. Being a mechanical engineer, James Ward Packard believed they could build a better car than the Winton car owned by Weiss, an important Winton stockholder. In September, 1900, the Ohio Automobile Company was founded to produce "Packard" autos.

   From the very beginning, Packard featured innovations, including the modern steering wheel and, years later, the first production 12-cylinder engine and air-conditioning in a passenger car. Packard quickly gained an excellent reputation and the name was changed in 1902 to the Packard Motor Car Company.

1920  Isotta Fraschini   Model 8a coupe de ville.     

1/43 RIO Italian  (Multi media kit)   

    Isotta were the most prestigious company in Italy in 1920’s-30’s it was founded in 1900 by Cesare Isotta and the 3 Fraschini brothers. They began by importing Renault-De Dion cars, but in 1902 began to build own chassis with De Dion and Aster 1 & 2 cyl. Engines. The type 8 had remarkable technical features. Originally  with  5898cc,  90 hp engine increased to 7370cc in 1924 eventually to reach 140 hp by 1931. The company went out of production in 1932.   

 1925 Lanchester ‘Forty’.

‘Forty’ 7-seat Limousine.

1/24th scale scratch built model.

    Lanchester's name had been in motoring since his first brilliant prototype car was built in 1895. Thoug had little business success himself his commitment to quality and innovation ment his name remained and his brother George was able to salvage the company and keep it going.

   This model replicates a car supplied to HRH the Duke of York (Later King George VI) and in which Queen Elizabeth II made her first public appearance at the age of six weeks. 

   Motor historians described the ‘Forty’ as a splendid old fashioned car; this misses the point as the only really old fashioned feature was its quality. There were few Edwardian engines of only 6¼ litres capable of propelling 2½ tons of lordly carriage at 78 mph.   

1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom high speed tourer.

1/86th scale Alt-Berlin / EKO kit

   W.O. Bentley's young firm was proving itself in endurance racing at Brooklands and le Mans, setting many records along the way. With their high quality and elegant sporty looks Bentley cars were eating into Rolls-Royce's sales; and worrying Henry Royce.

   The response was to commission a series of experimental cars, based on the new Phantom chassis, to push the top speed of a Rolls-Royce car to over 100mph. The results were elegant, stylish tourers that set records and, more importantly, turned heads.

1926 Bugatti Type 41   'la Royale'

1/24th  scale Lindberg kit.

   Bugatti had dreamed of making the ultimate car to beat the world as far back as 1913. His dream came true with the type 41 Royale in 1926. They called it a whim, but for a whim it was pretty substantial:     

   With a 15-litre engine and claimed 300bhp (twice as big as a Rolls-Royce) , 180 ins. Of wheelbase  (longer than a long chassis ‘Phantom’ and the same as a London bus), and a bonnet of such length that a mini could be parked on it. It was a sensational car in its day.   


1927 3-litre Bentley

1/87th scale R&L 'Jet Promo' kit.

   Today, many people still think of the 3-litre Bentley as quintessential British. A real ‘Sports’ car at a time long before racing cars took to the road rather than the other way around. Despite only being in production for just six years it put the Bentley Motor Company firmly on the map. Thanks largely to W.O.s insistence on an attitude of “relentless pursuit of both luxury and performance”, assisted greatly by patronage from the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, and the then Duke of York, later King George VI, actresses Gertrude Lawrence and Beatrice Lillie (Lady Peel), as well as the invaluable early support of John Francis Duff, adventurer, soldier, stunt man, record breaker and Le Mans winning ‘Bentley Boy’.   

1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom I

1/32nd scale Matchbox kit.

   The legendary Silver Ghost was followed in 1925 by the various Phantoms (I, II, III.). Although the Ghost was still available to special order.

  This is a Model of the Phantom I supplied to Diamond Magnette Otto Oppenheimer on 1st May 1928. the headlamps were by Stephen Grebel with Barker patented dipping mechanisms. All interior and exterior fittings were silver plated with ivory fixtures to some. 

  Known as ‘The Black Diamond’ the car had a secret compartment for the safe transportation of Diamonds.

1930  Packard Victoria 734

   Three Packard Victorias showing the different body styles available.

    Also demonstrating the differences in scale between 1/43rd, 1/32nd and 1/24th. 

   There is a certain similarity between Henry Royce and the Packard brothers. James and William Packard were also electrical equipment manufacturers. They also bought a car which they thought could be immeasurably improved upon.  

  In 1898 they called upon Mr.Winton, who had built their car, and made in the friendliest way, helpful and constructive suggestions. Winton was not impressed and told them if they could ‘build a better car, they could try’ Within a year , on the 19th November 1898, their first car under the name ‘Ohio’ was driven up to Mr.Winton's workshop. It was infinitely better than anything he had ever built.  The name was changed to the Packard Motor Car Co in 1915 and Packard went on to be one of the greatest names in the American Automobile industry.  

1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom MKII.    

1/24th scale  Italeri Kit.

   The Phantom II had the 7668 cc pushrod OHV straight-6 engine as the preceding model and was the last large six-cylinder Rolls. The engine was mated to a 4-speed manual ‘box. This car replaced the New Phantom in 1930. Some of the most famous coachbuilders produced bodies for Rolls-Royce cars including Thrupp & Maberly, Mulliner and Hooper.

   The museum  has several cars from the Phantom range. A Phantom II was featured in the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.                        

1931   Cadillac Towne Car.        

   Cadillac’s reputation for excellence was well established by1911 as it was Leland who was first to standardise car components to the point that they were interchangeable. It was Lelands pursuit of quality which contributed to Cadillac being awarded the Dewar Trophy in 1911. This prestigious award was made after two cars had been reduced to their component parts and those parts thoroughly ‘scrambled’. Two cars were then successfully rebuilt from the box of  parts, proving that the parts were indeed interchangeable - not something that could be said of other vehicles at the time.

1/32nd scale Pyro kit.      

1932  Chrysler  Imperial. 

1/24 scale Airfix Kit.

   In November 1921 Walter P Chrysler took control of the Maxwell Motor Corporation. Becoming President of the firm he continued producing Maxwell-badged cars for the next four years.  In 1925 the Maxwell name disappeared and the Chrysler Corporation was formed with capital of 400 million U.S. Dollars and seven plants in three different states, and Canada.

   The 1926 range of four models included the first Imperial, the name to be used for luxury Chryslers and  destined to become a separate marque from 1954. The separation was to create a more prestigious image for Imperials along the lines of  Cadillac’s De Ville series and Ford's Lincoln range. 

 1933 Delage D8. 

1/24th scale Heller Kit. 

   Louis Delage gained his experience in a long period working for Peugeot . In 1905 he produced his first car - with a De Dion single-cylinder engine - with the assistance of Augustine Legros. In 1908, Delage won his first race, in the Dieppe Grand Prix for voiturettes. Thereafter for as long as his company was involved in  racing, it won some remarkable victories, including  1st in 1914 Indianapolis. It almost totally dominated the racing scene in  its final season, 1927.     

   The D8 came out in 1929 with an  8-cylinder engine; depending on whether the version had one (D8), two (D8S and D8SS) or four carburettors (D8SS 100), it could develop from 80 to 100 hp.   Delage got into financial difficulties after bringing out the  D6 in 1933, and was taken over by Delahaye. Production continued, but without the necessary technical development, and both companies went out of operation in 1953.

1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Sedanca Drophead coupe.

1/32nd scale PYRO kit.

   The short chassis Phantom II “Continental” chassis having lighter 4-passenger coachwork with the rear-seated passengers sitting well ahead of the rear axle line. Rolls-Royce produced 281 Phantom II Continentals. Of the original 200 Derby-Springfield contracted cars, 116 were sold in North America and six more in Europe.

The kit depicts a US spec' Phantom II drop head Sedanca de Ville. Larger bumpers dual side mounted spare wheels and additional lighting. Today these “Americanized” chassis' are highly sought after and most desirable to collectors.

1934 Hispano-Suiza K-6.

1/24 scale Heller kit.

   Founded in Barcelona, Spain in 1904 and directed by a Swiss, Markt Birkigt - hence Hispano-Suiza.    

   In 1911 the French branch opened. During the war Birkigt designed a series of V8 and V12 Aero engines for French Air Force fighters gaining experience which he later used in the H6 series.  

  The K-6 series was introduced at the1933 Motor Show. Despite several defects the K-6 had a number of true qualities - mainly solidarity! Over 1000 built between 1934-39.    

1934  Duesenberg  SJ Weyman Torpedo      

1/25th scale Monogram kit.

   Fred and August Duesenberg emigrated from Germany to the United States as small boys.  Like many other car builders they started by manufacturing and racing bicycles. By 1903 they were building a car, the Mason. This venture lasted until 1910, when Mason was bought out by Maytag.

    When the Duesenbergs started building cars, they built only racing cars and they put their own name on them. Piloted by famous drivers they were eminently successful. During World War I the Duesenberg brothers built engines for the military but immediately afterward straight-8 Duesenbergs started cleaning up at Indianapolis again. In 1921, a Duesenberg driven by Jimmy Murphy shook Europe by winning the French Grand Prix.    

    After Duesenberg was taken over by Cord, who already controlled Auburn, the J series appeared in 1928 and ran till 1937. It had a huge straight-8 6.7 litre engine and a chrome nickel crankshaft incorporating a unique vibration damper that consisted of a pair of cartridges not quite filled with mercury. The inertia of the mercury shaking about in the containers and out of phase with the shaft eliminated vibration. Duesenbergs never broke their crankshaft. 

1959 Cadillac  Eldorado                            

1/24th scale Monogram kit.

   The Eldorado had tail fins large enough to grant in-flight stability to anything so far launched from Cape Canaveral, soaring from a rear deck which was itself of impressive proportions. 

   Cadillac said the 1959 Eldorado was the most ostentatious car they had ever made, and while that may be true it is not completely accurate;  the 1959 Eldorado was the most ostentatious car anybody ever made.

    Although hindsight has lent elegance and grace which was not evident at the time, the Biarritz is the stuff of movies and Television, the sort of car screen moguls gave to starlets and screen goddesses.

1966 HongQi

1/24th scale Trumpeter kit.

   Chairman Mao set First Automobile Works (FAW) of Changchun to work on making such a vehicle in 1950, as part of “the Five year Plan”. He wanted something totally Chinese but as good as anything the West could produce.

   1958 saw the launch of the original Red Banner (HongQi) which looked somewhat akin to the Chrysler Imperial. Powered by a 5.7Ltr V8 engine, and sporting a 2-speed automatic gearbox the 2.5 ton car needed rather more than the 220hp if it was going to be in any way as good as the West’s Luxury Limo’s.

    In 1966 this car was largely updated and became known as the HongQi CA770 which is the subject shown in the museum.