Lot 389 - 1925 Bean 12hp Open Tourer
|Odometer reading||9,499 miles|
|Estimate||£10,000 - £14,000|
Launched at the London Motor Show of 1919, the Bean 11.9 was the car that was supposed to revolutionise the UK motor industry. The brainchild of ambitious Brummie industrialist, John 'Jack' Harper Bean, it was essentially a modernised version of the Perry 11.9, about 400 of which were made in Tyseley, Birmingham, between 1914 and 1917. Bean bought out Perry in 1919 and transferred chassis production to his factory in Tipton which was kitted out, at vast expense, with all the latest production line technology from America. The bodies were made at his factory in nearby Dudley and were offered in coupé or open tourer style with either two or four seats. Advised by mass production experts poached from the US motor industry, Bean's goal was to become Britain's answer to Henry Ford, turning out 10,000 cars a year. Relatively light and nimble and capable of 50mph from its four cylinder sidevalve engine, the 1795cc Bean sold well and by July 1920 over 500 cars a month were rolling off the production lines. Spurred on by this early success, Bean embarked on an even more ambitious plan, raising six million pounds to acquire over a dozen more automotive firms with the new aim of producing 100,000 cars and lorries a year; 50,000 of which would be Beans.
Unfortunately, the economy suddenly collapsed at the end of 1920; Bean was left hopelessly over-exposed and his fledgling empire came crashing down around his ears. By 1922 the worst of the recession was over and Bean managed to raise sufficient capital to re-start production, albeit at a much reduced scale. Over the next two-and-a-half years the Bean 11.9 remained a popular car and some 7,500 were sold before production ceased in mid-1924 to make way for two newer and bigger models, the 14 and the 12. The Bean 12, a smaller version of the Bean 14 was launched in May 1924. Four models were available, ranging from a two seater plus dickey, a coupé, a four seater tourer and a brougham. Today less than 100 Bean cars are known to survive worldwide - the majority of them in Australia where a Bean 14 won everlasting fame by becoming, in 1924, the first motor car to drive across the continent and back; an epic 14,000 mile journey across the trackless, still largely unexplored outback.
Presented as a birthday present by his grandfather at the tender age of four in 1969, this enchanting example is in largely original condition with just ongoing maintenance taking place. The family business, Adams Bristow Ltd, had its own workshops and so, aged seven, it was painted in the company colours of maroon over black. New front seats were a present at the age of 21 and all weather gear sometime after that. Often seen at the local Daffodil Rally in Berkshire and a participant of the Brooklands Test Hill, this largely original example currently has its cylinder head off for servicing but is aiming to be on again by auction day. Supplied with a file of bills and invoices, old MoT test certificates and the buff log book detailing the four previous owners as well as the highly collectable touring cap/temperature guage.
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.