LONDON.- When Malcolm Barber, CEO of Bonhams first caught site of what was to be his 1903 Peerless, Model F, 16HP, twin cylinder, rear entrance tonneau just over twenty years ago, he thought he had found something unusual. He found the car in Hawaii in a collection and discovered it had previously been part of the Denver Colorado Transport Museum collection, but as to who had originally owned the car and the story of its past remained a mystery.
Nearly twenty years later Malcolm received a call out of the blue from the Silver Times newspaper in Lake City, Colorado in collaboration with the Horseless Carriage Club of America who told him that his 1903 Peerless had been the Hinsdale countys first motorcar and invited him to attend a summer tour organised by the Club. The aim being to reunite the Peerless with the family who bought it originally.
The car was shipped from London to New Jersey by container, couriered from New Jersey to Denver and then driven by Malcolm from Gunnison (west of Denver) to Lake City, a mining town 9,000ft high in the Rockies. So 108 years after its first drive, the car still made it up the steep, precarious roads to the town. Waiting for the car to arrive was the 102yr old granddaughter of the original owner, the mining engineer at the Lucky Strike mine, who had not seen the car since 1952, when the family sold it. She said she always remembered the car was astonished to see it again.
As the Peerless was a local celebrity at the time, numerous postcards taken in 1903 were sold in the local shop. Thomas Beam bought the Peerless for a pricey $2,300, they were considered one the three 'P's of American manufacturing: the Peerless, Packard and Pierce Arrow, the US's best early motorcar manufacturers.
Still going strong, the Peerless, now back in the UK, will be making its 20th run from London to Brighton on November 7th. Malcolm comments: "When you have had a lifelong love affairs with cars, to own one of the great originals like this is an enormous privilege. You realise you are driving automotive history and that the car is never going to be yours, you are merely its keeper for a time. Taking it back to the scenes in which it first saw the road in the breathtaking settings of Colorado, that has to be one of the highlights of my life."