Ultra-rare Sunderland-built car up for auction - how much could it be worth?

The 1951 Invicta Black Prince Shooting Brake with a body built by Sunderland's  Associated Coach Builders.
The 1951 Invicta Black Prince Shooting Brake with a body built by Sunderland's Associated Coach Builders.
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An exceptionally rare 1951 car with an eye-catching Sunderland-made body is set to fetch more than £20,000 when it goes under the hammer next week.

The 1951 Invicta Black Prince Shooting Brake was bought new for £3,820 by Durham motorist Jeffrey Dixon, who commissioned the car’s body from Sunderland firm Associated Coach Builders.

The car's interior

The car's interior

Now it is expected to sell for between £22,000 and £26,000 when it is auctioned by Bonhams at the National Motor Museum, in Beaulieu, Hampshire, next Saturday, September 2.

The car, registration number MPT 899, is exceptionally rare as only 16 Invicta Black Princes were built and just 12 are thought to have survived.

The £3,820 paid for the car by Mr Dixon might not sound a lot of money now, but in 1951 would have been more than enough to buy a smart house in Sunderland, as the average British house cost £2,115.

The figure was a hefty sum to pay for a car in 1951, but the Black Prince was a luxury vehicle, with a leather and polished wood interior ‘topped by a truly extravagant mascot of the Black Prince himself’.

This ultra rare car comes with a wealth of documentation, including drawings of the engine, correspondence,the original log book,Black Prince manual,numerous invoices and technical data sheets.

Bonhams

Since it was built in 1951,the Sunderland Black Prince has had five careful owners, including Jeffrey Dixon, who owned the car for eight years until he sold it in 1959 to Thomas Downey – who in turn sold it to Wilfred Meldrum a year later.

Associated Coach Builders, which made the car’s body, started off in Back Hylton Road before moving to Hartley Buildings, in North Hylton Road, Southwick, then the nearby Thirlwell Road.

Auctioneers Bonhams say: “This ultra rare car comes with a wealth of documentation, including drawings of the engine, correspondence,the original log book,Black Prince manual,numerous invoices and technical data sheets.”

The Black Prince mascot

The Black Prince mascot