By way of background Georgano’s invaluable Encyclopaedia of Motor cars tells us that Thomas Humber started making bicycles in 1868 and by the turn of the century the company was making motorised tricycles and quadricycles before graduating to four wheelers in 1901. By 1908 they were making a range of cars with different engine sizes in two factories but about this time they ran into financial problems and closed one of their plants to bring all manufacturing under one roof in Coventry.
After the Great War they concentrated on the higher end of the family car market making good quality machines like this very rare 15.9 hp which I understand is one of only five such cars known to the Humber register. There is no doubt that it would have been as well regarded in its day as Humber Super Snipes were in the 1960s, in short it would be considered to be very suitable transport for well-off private individuals, professional people and proprietors of successful businesses!
This Humber was imported to New Zealand’s North Island by Tourist Motors of Hastings then bodied by Johnson & Smith of Christchurch and it still carries its original coachwork as well as its dealer and coachbuilders plates . It was commissioned by Maori Princess Maud Perry of Taradale as a wedding gift for her daughter Mori after whom the car is affectionately named. The Perrys were very wealthy which is just as well as the car cost them £1,350 which was a very large sum of money at that time!
There is much more history about this car and lots of information on 15.9 hp Humbers in general in its comprehensive file which also documents significant amounts of work carried out by its current owner - there is so much that I will not attempt to summarise it here but you can read it for yourself if you come to see it.
As well as looking very good and obviously being in really sound structural and mechanical condition the car is a pleasure to drive. It starts readily with its 3 litre four cylinder engine settling down to a steady tickover, the clutch is smooth and the four speed gearbox is easy to use though once you are out on the road the engine has so much low down torque that you do not have to change gear that often. The steering is precise, the brakes are good and the car rides well so you get the impression that you could happily go on touring rallies in the car and being very rare it will certainly attract attention at any event you take it to.
Early vintage cars of this quality and rarity do not come on the market very often so if you think might like to own a splendid piece of motoring history may I suggest you come and have a look at it but please be prepared to find yourself wanting to buy it!