1927 Star Vela 20/60hp Tourer to 24/70hp Specification Registration no. UX 842 Chassis no. B724
One of Britain's top six motor manufacturers prior to WWI, the Wolverhampton-based Star Motor Company produced its first automobile in 1898. A close neighbour of Sunbeam, the company had been founded by Edward Lisle Sr, proprietor of the Star Cycle Company that would later build its own Starling cars under the guidance of his son, Edward Jr. Progressing from that first single-cylinder Benz-based design, the firm added twin- and four-cylinder cars to a diverse and expanding range, and built its first six in 1907. Although technically un-adventurous in its early years, Star built up a deserved reputation for building luxuriously appointed and well constructed cars, aided by the fact that it made most of its parts, chassis frames excepted, in house.
Four-wheel brakes - on the bigger sixes - and overhead valves - on the four-cylinder 12/40 - made their appearance in the early 1920s, and then in 1927 came the first overhead-valve six - the 20/50hp PL2. The latter was soon superseded by the 20/60hp PL3 - a fine performer capable of 70mph.
This unique car's first owner was Herbert Mellor Jameson, who specified that it should be able to carry himself and his family on adventurous journeys, pursuing his love of motoring over difficult and mountainous terrain. Indeed, its very first outing in 1927 was to the Balkans. Early in his ownership, Jameson had the capacity of the overhead-valve six increased from 3,180cc to 3.6 litres, the rated/actual horsepower figures changing to 24/70. It is believed that five Star Velas still exist, the other four being in Australasia. This unique car is the only 24/70 ever built.
In 1990, the Star was subject to a full 'body off' restoration, a photographic record of which is in the history file, and since completion the paintwork and brightwork have aged delightfully, resulting in a lovely patina. The interior leather, carpets, dashboard, instruments, and door cards are all still in beautiful condition, while the full weather equipment is likewise in very good order. Comparable in size, power, and performance to the contemporary Bentley, this is a most imposing Vintage-era sporting car and much rarer than its Cricklewood-built rival.
The accompanying history is most substantial, consisting of three separate files containing manuals and instruction books; Autocar magazines from 1929; sundry invoices; paperwork from the 1920s; detailed letters and history from the 1950s; and a quantity of magazine and newspaper articles. Included in the sale is a complete 3.4-litre engine, gearbox, axle, and sundry other smaller spares. A rare car that would enhance any private collection.