The Club’s Simms 1900 was built by the Royal Automobile Club’s founder Frederick Simms and it is the oldest veteran car in the collection. In recent years it has completed, four times, the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.
This car is believed to be a prototype built by Frederick Simms. Although no documentary evidence exists to confirm its precise age, construction suggests that it is of pre-1900 manufacture. The vehicle is primitive and probably did not run much when new. It was cosmetically restored by the Simms Company in 1960.
The tiller steering and solid tyres are a challenge for the driver ‒ but the passenger has the short straw, needing to dismount for steeper hills, or to assist with manoeuvres since the car lacks a reverse gear.
With the original engine long since discarded, the car has been mated with a later Simms stationary engine, of 1902 construction. Capable of about 15mph on the open road, it has a capacity of 780cc and is rated at a nominal 6hp. Transmission is an axle-hung, two-speed, constant-mesh gearbox or final drive unit, which is chain-driven from a countershaft.
The car carries a nominal 1900 dating certificate provided by the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain. It was first registered in October 1996 ahead of its maiden attempt in November at the centenary of the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.