Having remarked on how interesting old motor documents from the past can be, Terence Barnes has sent as some pages of old ledgers containing some interesting details of transactions which took place in the Stourbridge area. For instance, in 1910, there are such contrasting sales as TA 25 hp Daimler with dual ignition and special Michelin tyres to Lady Grey of Enville Hall for just less than £500 and a new Ford tourer to a doctor for £196. In 1911 more Fords were disposed of, one to a former Oldsmobile user, for around £155 each, one Goodrich-shod and this trend was evident during 1912, including two to doctors, whereas by 1913 the emphasis was on the 15/20 hp Studebaker, with a 20/25 hp Studebaker for Lady Grey. These cost not very much more than the Model-Ts and in 1914 two Studebaker Fours were sold, one being in part-exchange for a Flanders, another for a Ford, the respective allowances being £80 and £70.
Although the war was now in full operation, in 1916 / 1917 a Studebaker Six Iandaulette was disposed of, the body costing £140, as was a Studebaker Four van, which first needed a new axle shaft. Reverting to pre-war times, good business was done in Daimlers, of the 20 hp TE and TL type, two in part-exchange for Crossley and Humber cars, half-a-dozen of these Daimlers being sold in 1913, car cabriolet with all-electric lighting to Lady Grey, while in 1914 a TM 20 hp chassis cost the Castle Motor Co of Kidderminster £442, although they got an 113/0/0 discount. In 1916 a Brierley Hill ironmonger took an 18/22 Maxwell van for £190. Long before this an 11.9 hp Arrol-Johnston had been taken in exchange for a 15 hp Humber and back in 1907 there had been quite a brisk trade in 15 hp Coventry-Humbers, one exchanged for a 7 hp Star, and Sir H. F. Grey bought a 30 hp Beeston-Humber, with landaulette springs so that the body from his old Maudsley could be put on it, £20 then being allowed for this chassis, which eventually went to someone in Malvern for a £10 profit. A 30 hp dual-ignition Beeston-Humber was retained by the garage for its own use, until a 10/15 Humber was offered in exchange, and a gentleman in Hagley part-exchanged his White steam car for a Beeston-Humber, specifying steel-studded rear tyres, hood and screen, and an extra seat. Indeed, sales of Coventry-Humbers were good and many spares were ordered for them. Also in 1907, a 9 hp Star was taken on a doctor’s new 7.8 hp Singer two-seater and re-sold without profit and a deal was done on one of these two-cylinder Swifts for another 7.8 hp Singer. Another was sold, along with a gent’s coat, and the doctor’s car required a back-axle overhaul. Lots of Swifts were sold, including at least seven Swift cyclecars into the war years.
Wading through these old ledgers shows many such deals, for 10/12 and 18/24 hp Swifts, a Smethwick doctor insisting on Biscon tyres on one in 1910 and getting £40 for his old Adams, and between March and August 1910 four twin-cylinder Swifts were sold, one in special colours for an extra 30/-. This trend continued into 1911, doctors again among the customers. Petrol, by the way, was 1/1d a gallon . . . In 1908 there had been some business in fuel and oil, etc with S. F. Edge, before Shelsley Walsh, but mostly it was from then on in numerous Humbers, an interesting entry being that of a 1910 racing 12 hp Humber. From a 1911 28 hp Humber, the 1913 demand was for Hurnberettes, at £125 each. Petrol now cost 1/8d a gallon. Two buyers exchanged motorcycles for them, a new Rudge and a used Premier sidecar outfit, one an old 8 hp Rover car. At least 33 Humbers seem to have been sold by this Stourbridge garage up to the war, one to a lady. Reading between the lines, those with imagination should be able to bring alive something of the way of motoring life in those days. — W.B.