Founded as a bicycle maker in 1868, Humber later became associated with Harry Lawson's British Motor Syndicate, from which it purchased the rights to various unlikely automobile designs dreamt up by American E J Pennington. Freeing itself from Lawson, the reconstituted company commenced motor car production in 1900 with the unconventional (front-wheel drive, rear-wheel steered) M D Voiturette. A more conventional range of De Dion-powered light cars soon followed, which was notable for its use of shaft drive in an era when chain was the norm for such vehicles. Four-cylinder 12hp and 20hp models, designed by Louis Coatalen, had been added by 1903, but that year's most significant introduction was the Humberette. The latter was powered by a 5hp single-cylinder engine and featured two-speeds-plus-reverse transmission and, of course, shaft drive. It was the first Humber motor car to be produced in significant numbers and it is a tribute to the design's fundamental soundness that so many survive today.
1923 was a significant year for Humber, marking as it did the adoption across the range of new inlet-over-exhaust engines (replacing the earlier sidevalve units) and the introduction of a new luxury small car, the 985cc 8hp (later called the 8/18hp). Very much a 'big car in miniature' and generously equipped by the standards of the day, the latter developed through the 1,056cc 9/20hp to the improved 9/28hp introduced for 1929, by which time full-pressure lubrication, coil ignition and four-wheel brakes were standard equipment.
This Humber 9/20hp tourer was acquired by the current vendor in 2001. Since acquisition the car has been MoT'd on four occasions (2001, 2002, 2006 and 2011), the certificates recording an increase in the recorded mileage from 62,684 to 65,422, a distance of 2,738 miles in ten years. (It should be noted that the first and last certificates are in error, the actual odometer readings being 52,684 and 55,422 respectively). The current odometer reading is 55,630. We are advised that the car is in running order with exception of the electrical system, which is not charging. Accompanying documentation consists of the aforementioned MoT certificates, an old-style logbook and a V5C registration document. A substantial quantity of spares is included in the sale (inspection recommended).