1911 Rover 12


  • Year of manufacture 
  • Chassis number 
  • Lot number 
  • Drive 
  • Condition 
  • Number of seats 
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
  • Drivetrain 
  • Fuel type 


1911 Rover 12hp Tourer
Registration no. CC 593
Chassis no. 515

What would eventually become the Rover company began by manufacturing one of the landmark designs in the history of human transportation – the 'Safety Bicycle'. Brainchild of John Kemp Starley, the Rover cycle featured two identical sized wheels and chain drive to the rear, thus rendering the precarious front-drive 'Ordinary', better known as the 'Penny Farthing', obsolete at a stroke. The firm's first venture into powered transportation came in 1888 with an electrically powered tricycle, but it would be another sixteen years, by which time its founder J K Starley had died, before the Rover Cycle Company began experimenting with the internal combustion engine. Designer Edmund Lewis was recruited from Daimler and drew up Rover's first series-production automobile, an 8hp single-cylinder car with aluminium backbone frame, an adventurous design that despite its shortcomings remained in production until 1912. Lewis followed up with a more conventional 6hp model, which earned itself the distinction of being Rover's first entered in any competition, in this case the Bexhill Speed Trials of 1902. Before his departure for Siddeley-Deasy, Lewis bequeathed another significant design, the 16/20hp, winner of the 1907 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy race for Rover. After an undistinguished flirtation with the Knight sleeve-valve engine, Rover hired ex-Wolseley engineer Owen Clegg, who reorganised production and put the company back on track with a conventional poppet-valve engined car, the 12hp. Powered by a 2.3-litre four featuring pumped lubrication, for the first time on a Rover, the 'Clegg Twelve' was the sole model in the range by 1912 and would remain in production into the 1920s.
A 'barn find' discovered in the 1970s, this Rover Twelve is reputed to have belonged to a cavalry officer in France during WWI (writing in French was discovered beneath the dashboard during restoration) and had been laid up since 1919 (possibly because its owner had been killed) when found. Restored by the immediately preceding owner, Mr J Thomas, over a five-year period (during which a sterter motor was also fitted) and completed circa 1980, it has taken part in numerous Veteran Car Club rallies, including the Prince Henry Tour, and been driven to the Spanish Pyrenees and back, performing faultlessly. In September 2006, having owned the Rover for 33 years, Mr Thomas offered the car for sale at Bonhams' Beaulieu auction (Lot 467) where it was purchased by the current vendor.
Finished in blue/black with blue leather interior, this charming Edwardian Rover is offered with VCC Dating Certificate, sundry bills, and a V5C Registration Certificate, as well as two new spare tyres and inner tubes.