Previously a manufacturer of proprietary engines, Crossley Brothers Limited of Manchester built their first motor car in 1904. The first Crossley to make any impact was the A W Reeves-designed 20hp, introduced in 1910. The model was taken up by the military in World War I, seeing service as a staff car, ambulance and light truck. In the post-war years the company continued to concentrate its efforts on transportation for the middle classes, a policy helped considerably by the marque's popularity with British royalty.
Unlike many rival manufacturers of up-market cars, Crossley continued to favour four-cylinder sidevalve power units for all its models until the advent of the 18/50 in 1925. The 18/50 featured a 2.6-litre, six-cylinder, overhead-valve engine, which was stretched to 3.2 litres in 1928 for the broadly similar 20.9hp model. At the same time the firm introduced a smaller and lighter 15.7hp six, also marketed as the '2-Litre' and 'Silver' in the 1930s, which offered similar performance but with superior fuel economy. Four-wheel Perrot brakes and a right-hand change, four-speed gearbox were chassis features. Available in a variety of body styles, many built by Crossley themselves, the model lasted until 1934. It is estimated that some 20-or-so survive, many of the saloons having been re-bodied as tourers.
Originally a saloon, this ultra-rare 15.7hp Crossley was restored in the 1970s and re-bodied as an open tourer 'special'. Since 2010 it has formed part of a small private collection in Ireland and has taken part in many of the Gordon Bennett rallies. We are advised by the vendor that the car is in generally good cosmetic condition and good running order, while the engine is said to pull well, endowing the car with a decent turn of speed thanks in part to the lightweight open body. There are brakes on both axles, which work well, and the centre-change gearbox is also in good working order. The car has a well-fitting soft-top and a full-length tonneau, but no side screens.
'HT 1180' comes with a good history file detailing the restoration work carried out: notes, diagrams, and photographs together with bills for maintenance carried out by the previous owner. The car also comes with an old-style buff logbook (issued 1953), an original owner's handbook, and a current V5 document. A Vintage-era open touring car with a lively performance, presented in clean, working order and with scope for improvement.