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Frederic Bennett Nash in Barons Classic Auction

Fri, 27 Feb 2009

A spectacular 1930 Nash 494 Straight Eight sedan seven-seater limousine with Sedanca de Ville bodywork is to be auctioned by Barons at Sandown Park on March 24th. The car was originally owned by Frederic S Bennett, the Englishman famed for reversing the fortunes of Cadillac 100 years ago by winning the Dewar Trophy in 1908, and for completing the Bennett Run in 1903 and 1953.

Bennett acquired the Nash new in 1930, and owned it for 26 years. Believed to be the only remaining example, it is quite outstanding, having undergone a comprehensive, nut and bolt restoration over many years, including a new, hand-built, American ash frame. This right-hand-drive car won the coveted Best of Show award in the Classic American Auto Club National at Brooklands in September 2008, and has been highly praised by the president and historian of the Nash Club of America.

It has covered less than 100 miles since the completion of the restoration. Estimate £35,000-£45,000.

Other early entries for the sale include a 1978 Aston Marton V8 Volante (£22,000-£26,000), a 1965 Jaguar E-Type S1 4.2 Roadster £30,000-£34,000) and a 1966 Jaguar MKII 3.4 Manual (£11,000-£13,000).

For further information, and regularly updated list of entries, please call 08454 30 60 60, email or visit

Frederic S Bennett and the Dewar Trophy

In 1907 Cadillac sales worldwide were falling dramatically. Frederic S
Bennett, who had imported the first Cadillac into the UK, and gained
early fame when he drove that 1903 car in an eight-day, 1,000 mile
reliability trial, decided to demonstrate the marque’s potential by
entering Cadillac for the Dewar Trophy, the prestigious award for
innovation in motor car manufacture which has been awarded just 38
times in 102 years.

Bennett realised that Cadillac’s strengths lay in the (then) unique
interchangeability of its components. He and two colleagues drove
three Cadillacs to Brooklands, completed a set number of miles and
then returned to the dealership. Once at the dealer, the three cars
were completely stripped, all the parts shuffled and the cars rebuilt.
They all ran perfectly, an achievement for which Cadillac became the
first American manufacturer to win the Dewar Trophy. Cadillac then
boasted that they set the ‘Standard of the World’.

Bennett went on to own and run the Anglo American Car Company of
Piccadilly London, the main dealer selling Nash and Cadillac vehicles.
In 1953, at the age of 79, and with the aid of a young racing driver
called Stirling Moss, he made motoring history, and headlines across
the country, recreating the 1903 time trial, in the original car,
which he had owned for half a century. He covered 1,094 miles in
eight days at an average speed of 21.25mph, much faster than when he
did the trial fifty years previously, when there was a 12mph speed
limit in the towns and 20mph elsewhere.


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