Monday, June 13, 2011

The Percy Markham Collection

After Shelly and I visited Whiteman Park Motor Museum and saw the remnants of the Percy Markham Collection on display back in April 2010 (http://heinkelscooter.blogspot.com/2010/04/whiteman-park-motor-museum.html), I set out trying to find out what happened to the rest of the collection. That search led me to the Nazarro (http://heinkelscooter.blogspot.com/2010/05/felice-nazzaro.html) and Percy's son, John Markham.


John kindly provided me a list of all the cars in the Percy Markham Collection and some details about them and I had the grand idea to create a little virtual online museum. It proved a little harder than I thought though as some of the cars are so obscure that I couldn't find a single photo of them online. I remembered with some regret that when my brother Craig and I were in our early teens we'd bought a set of postcards from the West Australian Museum showing the collection. Although I am inveterate hoarder, my parents are not, and those postcards disappeared long gone.

You can imagine my surprise however, when I recently pulled an old shoebox out from under one of spare beds and there at the bottom were the postcards from the WA Museum. What a shock! I had saved them after all, along with sets of black and white photos I'd taken at the York Flying 50 races in 1980. My dad was something of an amateur photographer back then we used to develop and print our own photos at home.

So, thanks to a freakish accident of preservation I present a 'virtual museum' of the Percy Markham Collection. Where appropriate I've attached the text of the postcard and credits and also some of John's comments and memories. I still don't have photos or details of all the cars so please don't hesitate to contact me with any info, details or photos that may help flesh out the presentation.

Thanks to Paul Blank for sharing a copy of the original auction catalogue  http://heinkelscooter.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/percy-markham-collection-auction.html

1898 Star 3 1/2 hp 'vis-a-vis' (Britain)

Early motor cars clearly show the influence of horse drawn vehicle design; this car is obviously a 'horselesss carriage'. The car, built in 1898, was one of the first ten built by the Star Motor Co., an offshoot of the Star Cycle Co.
John didn't confirm if this was part of the collection, but the write up at the Whiteman Park motor museum, where this vehicle still resides, explicitly states it came from the Percy Markham Collection. It was picked up in Scotland from a deceased estate sale called the Sword Collection. It is the oldest motor vehicle in Western Australia.

1902 Oldsmobile 10 h.p. Curved-dash Runabout (USA)

"This was one of the first cars to reach Western Australia;it was owned originally by Mr Claude Deane. This car, like the "Star"shows clearly the influence of the horse-drawn carriage. Note the steering tiller, which is mounted on springing that acts both as a shock absorber and as a stabiliser."
This car is on display at the Whiteman Park motor museum.

1905 De Dion-Boulton 8 h.p. Two Seater (France)


"Count de Dion, a Parisian aristocrat, employed Messrs Boulton and Trepardoux in 1882 to build light carriages. After producing a bewildering variety of steamers, de Dion switched to the petrol engine. By 1895 the first 1/2 h.p engines were in production, followed soon after by more powerful types."
This car is on display at the Whiteman Park motor museum.

1904 Rover 8 h.p. Two-seater (Britain)

1904 Rover 8 h.p. Two-seater (Britain)
"Built only five years after the Star, this car shows the early development of conventional car layout, and little influence of the horse-drawn carriage."
This car is on display at the Whiteman Park motor museum.

1906 Germain (Belgium)

http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/wiki/British_Germain_Motor_CoThis car was sold.

1908 Star (British)
http://www.brighton-early.com/Star.html
This is not the actual car but a photo from the Internet. This car was sold.

1909 Renault 15/22 kw Limousine (France)

"An original example of a classic car made by one of the oldest established car manufacturers. It is fitted with a compressed air starter." Photographed by Brian Stevenson. Printed by Crusader Press.
This car was sold.

1909/10 Minerva 22 kw Tourer (Belgium)

"Minerva was one of the best known Belgian makes, renowned for quality. This model was a sensation when first shown in 1908, as it incorporated a double sleeve-valve engine designed by C.Y. Knight." Photographed by Brian Stevenson. Printed by Crusader Press.
This car was sold.

1909 Sizaire Naudin 9 kw Two-seater (France)

"A rare vehicle of the pioneering firm of the brothers Sizaire. M Sizaire has certified this care as a Type F Series 09 No. 153" Photographed by Brian Stevenson. Printed by Crusader Press.
This car was sold.

1910 Hupmobile (USA)

http://users.esc.net.au/~ppub/hupmobile.htmThis is not the actual car but a photo from the Internet. This car was sold.

1910 BSA (Britain)
This car is on display at the Whiteman Park motor museum.
http://www.bsafwdc.co.uk

1910 Model T Ford (USA)

I believe this car may have been sold.

1911 Peugeot 22 kw Type 135 Tourer (France)

"Peugeot is one of the oldest French car manufacturers. This original car was purchased in Switzerland in 1966." Photographed by Brian Stevenson. Printed by Crusader Press.
I believe this car was sold.

1911 Rolls Royce 30/37 kw Landaulet "Silver Ghost" (Britain)

"The first six-cylinder Rolls Royce of 1906 was nickle plated and has silver and grey bodywork, leading to the popular name 'Silver Ghost'. This model - one of the great classic cars - continued in production with minor modifications until 1925." Photographed by Brian Stevenson. Printed by Crusader Press.
This Rolls was once owned by an Indian Maharaja. I believe this was sold.

1913 Delage 15 kw HB Series 7 Tourer (France)

"Delage cars had a reputation for reliability, ease of handling and for being light on tyres. This car was purchased in Switzerland in 1966." Photographed by Brian Stevenson. Printed by Crusader Press.
I believe this was sold.

1913 Nazarro (Italy)

One of only three surviving examples in the world and now owned by John Markham. http://heinkelscooter.blogspot.com/2010/05/felice-nazzaro.html

1914 Detroit Electic Brougham (USA)

"The present-day widespread alarm about pollution of the environment has re-awakened interest in electric cars. It is interesting therefore to recall that from 1900 to 1915 at least twenty-five well known electric car companies advertised vehicles powered by batteries."
Ironically, this was written in 1980 - 31 years ago!!
This car was owned by a little old lady in Perth who drove it from new until she died. It is on display at the Whiteman Park motor museum.

1914 Locomobile

This car was originally restored by Jack Jeffries of Sydney. This car was sold.

1914 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost
no photo

1916 Hudson


1916 Dodge & 1917 Dodge

Plenty of old American vintage cars like Dodges, Fords and Hudsons were still on the roads in the late 1950s, early 1960s. They could be picked up for a dime a dozen.

1920 Studebaker


1921 Stanley Steamer 20/60 h.p/ Tourer (USA)

"The present-day widespread alarm about pollution of the environment has re-awakened interest in steam as well as in electric cars. Steam is produed in steam cars by heating the boiler with an oil-burner. The Stanley Steamer had the longest production run of any steam car." http://www.stanleysteamers.com/
This car was sold.

1922 Silver Ghost – Rolls Royce

This car was sold but possibly remains in WA as it features on the Rolls Royce Owners Club of WA website. Percy Markham was one of the founders of the RROCWA.
http://www.rrocwa.com/Resources/Gallery.htm

1923 Vauxhall 30/98

The 98 being it’s top speed. The car is on display at the Whiteman Park motor museum.

1923 Itala

A very rare marque. This example came up for sale recently in New Zealand.

1924 Rolls Royce 20hp light 6 ladies chauffeur driver car

This car is still on display at the Whiteman Park motor museum.

1925 Austin Tourer

A couple of Austins at the WA Vintage & Classic Car day in February 2011. One of the Austin's was preserved in the collection and the others sold. I believe one of them is still owned by John Markham.

1926 Chrysler Imperial 80

Once again, the number represents its top speed 80mph. This was restored by Jack Jeffries also.

1926/27 Morris Cowley 'Bull-nose' Two-seater (Britain)

"One of the most popular vehicles of its day which helped William Morris outsell its competitors." Photographed by Brian Stevenson. Printed by Crusader Press.
This was Percy's first vintage vehicle. It is still on display at the Whiteman Park motor museum.

1927 Ford T 16.7 kw Roadster (USA)

"This was one of the last of the various Fort T models which were produced from 1908 to 1927. This vehicle has travelled only about 8000 km and is in original condition." Photographed by Brian Stevenson. Printed by Crusader Press.

1927 Ford A

The first of the A model Fords. This example is on display at the Whiteman Park motor museum.

1927 Austin 7

One of several Austin's Percy owned. This one is still on display at the Whiteman Park motor museum.
1927 Rolls Royce Phantom I

Ex mourning coach from Bendigo or Ballarat. The car was sold.

1927 Aurburn straight 8

A similar example came up for sale in Brisbane 2008 (not the same car).
http://www.shannons.com.au/auctions/lot/?id=S1CF60DTCPX10FYA
The original car was sold.

1927/8 Packard straight 8

Ex mourning coach from Perth. This example is not Percy's car but it is on display at the Whiteman Park motor museum.

1928 Bentley 15 kw Sports Tourer (Britain)

"The Bentley had the reputation of being the best British sports car between World Wars I and II. In their famous 'British racing green' they dominated the Le Mans races in the 1920s." Photographed by Brian Stevenson. Printed by Crusader Press.
This car may be on display at Whiteman Park motor museum.

Here is a comment from Dean B, who worked on the restoration of this car as an apprentice.

Dear Paul,
Something sparked my memory of the Percy Markham collection, and through Google, found your excellent blog. I have a very distant connection with one of the cars from Percy's collection from around 1976 and you might find it faintly interesting. Allow me to explain...

I was an instrument making apprentice with a small business in Subiaco called 'Tisco 74 Pty Ltd' from 1975 to 1980. The owner (and my boss) was Stanley Tough who also had an interest in classic cars. Tisco was for many years one of the few businesses in Perth that could calibrate automotive instruments and became very well known as the place to have your car speedo checked - often as a result of a disputed speeding fine! We also made special parts where possible for just about any mechanical instrument.

In 1976, as a 16 year old apprentice, I remember being asked to make a some special parts for an old Bentley. They were the connector grips fitted to the ends of the spark plug leads and, in order to stay as close to the original parts as possible, we obtained some special black plastic rod which was the same stuff used back when this Bentley was made. Strange as it sounds, this plastic was actually made from sour milk and had been developed during World War One as a substitute for 'Bakelite' which was too brittle for some uses. I think this plastic was known as 'Casein'.

I wondered why I was being trusted to make parts like these for such a valuable car. As I started cutting the first piece of this special plastic in the lathe, the answer came to me. This stuff STANK! It smelled like milk that was very 'off' except many times stronger. Up until then, I had doubted that it really was made from milk - thinking it was one of those stories told to apprentices to see how gullible they are. Anyway, apart from the stench it actually machined quite nicely. I also made some brass inserts which went into these grips and these were like a miniature spear tip with a slot cut into the end to allow it to be slid onto the screw terminal of the old style spark plugs.

Percy Markham came into the workshop to pick them up and was impressed with how close to the originals they looked. I felt really proud that I'd made some parts for a classic car that were "as good as the originals".

Years later, when I heard that the collection had been purchased by the State Government and was to be sold off I felt quite sad that such a valuable collection was being broken up. But I had the satisfaction of knowing that somewhere out there is an old Bentley with some spark plug connectors made by me.

Cheers, Deano.
1929 Austin 7
No photo

1929 Buick Tourer
http://www.buickclub.org.au/
No photo

1933 Rolls Royce 30/37 kw Continental Sports Sedan (Phantom II) (Britain)

"This particular car was manufactured on 3 October 1933 and is authentic in every detail, including the original and elaborate tool kit." Photographed by Brian Stevenson. Printed by Crusader Press.
This car was restored by Jack Jefferies of Sydney.

1935 Rolls Royce Phantom II Sedanca Seville
No photo

1937 Rolls Royce Phantom III

No photo

Leyland Double decker bus ex-London

This is a photo of the bus outside the York town hall. Details about the vehicle are contained in the link below: http://118.127.11.148/~perthbus/report.php?vid=RTL547

Link to the auction catalogue -  http://heinkelscooter.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/percy-markham-collection-auction.html

No comments:

Post a Comment