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100-years-old, top speed 35mph. Price: £50,000!

PUBLISHED: 16:06 01 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:53 25 August 2010

VINTAGE: The rare IK 135 Wolseley, one of only 12 left.

VINTAGE: The rare IK 135 Wolseley, one of only 12 left.

IT cost only £200 new, but this rare trail-blazing car, built more than one hundred years ago, is expected to fetch up to £50,000 at auction

IT cost only £200 new, but this rare trail-blazing car, built more than one hundred years ago, is expected to fetch up to £50,000 at auction

The Wolseley six horse power two-seater, registration: IK 135, was built at Wolseley's Crayford factory in 1904.

And £200 might not sound a lot now, but in 1904 that sum was the equivalent of several months' wages for the average Crayford worker.

IK 135 is now so rare that it is one of only 12 of this type of Wolseley known to have survived. It would be particularly suitable for anyone worried about speed cameras, for although IK 135 is capable of speeds of up to 35mph, it runs more comfortably at 25mph.

Stewart Skilbeck, veteran cars expert at auctioneers Bonhams said: "It was one of the more popular British-built light cars of the Edwardian era."

After leaving Crayford the car spent most of its life in Ireland. Its first recorded owner was Justin McCarthy, of Glen of the Downs, County Wicklow. Then it was acquired by Gerald Pepper, of Bray. In the 1950s it was bought in Sligo by Irish enthusiast, G.W.M.Roycroft and in 1963, by Knollys Stokes, of Cork.

In the late 1970s, it was in the care of Denis Lucey, who ran a motor museum in Kilarney, before it was bought in 1981 by English enthusiast Alan Curry. Following his death the car was bought by chartered accountant John Stuttard (later Sir John Stuttard), who was Lord Mayor of London in 2006-2007. Sir John had the car mechanically restored, repainted and re-upholstered.

Auctioneers Bonhams say: "This notably quick veteran light car is presented in blue livery, with varnished wooden wheels and is upholstered in black leather. It is equipped with Lucas 'King Of The Road' oil side lamps and a pair of rear lamps from the same manufacturer. It also has a brass rear view mirror and bulb horn."

When still fairly new this Crayford car was inexpensive to run. It does about 25 miles to the gallon. But in 1912 - when Shell's petrol price records begin - a gallon of petrol (yes, a gallon not a litre) cost one shilling and sevenpence (about 8p in modern money).

IK 135 is due to be auctioned at Bonhams at Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, on July 18.

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